Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Dubai 24 Hours 2017

The Creventic 24 hour race at Dubai opens the endurance calendar.  Ideally located in Dubai where it's warm and dry it is a great location for the season opener of the Creventic family of endurance events hosted around the globe.

At The Motorsport Calendar we were lucky enough to see the final practice day and then the whole of the race with Media Access.  Travelling on a Clifton Cameras sponsored event, being led by award winning photographer Nick Dungan we were able to use their prior knowledge of the event and circuit to gain excellent access to all areas.

The first impression the Dubai circuit is that it is more impressive in the flesh than looking at it online and at circuit diagrams and so on.  It is a big circuit and even though it is a fairly newly built circuit it features quite a bit of gradient and challenging turns and sequences of turns to make it a drivers delight.  As always it is better to attend such events to get a decent feel for the drama and on track incidents as they happen.  The circuit is impressive - having been designed to meet full Formula 1 standards it is big and features catch fencing all the way round the entire length of the circuit.  Photographers are always behind catch fencing whilst trackside although there are useful holes dotted around the circuit together with access 'doors' and 'windows' which may be opened to take photographs - but should be closed on leaving the area.

The race itself was punctuated by a number of Code 60 events or Virtual Safety Car moments.  It should be noted that there is a massive difference in the machinery racing round - from super quick GT3 machinery down to small touring cars (there were 6 classes in total).  This causes a large speed difference in terms of outright pace, acceleration and deceleration.  Add to the speed differential of the machinery a difference in terms of driver experience, skill and level and you get quite a mix up!  All in all though the race itself ran smoothly and safely.  Refuelling is carried out by the teams, but away from the pitlane - in effect using a Petrol Station located towards the far end of the pits.  This did mean that cars could be stacked up if attempting to take advantage of a refuelling opportunity as all teams used the same pumps.  This added to the drama.

There was a great atmosphere at the event, helped by the ever present Radio Le Mans team coverage and the reporting team from Dailysportscar.com who cover the major endurance and sportscar events with great skill and interest.  It is definitely an event to be recommended - the crowds were super light and there was a massive amount of racing to see and be close up to.  Friday evening saw a modest firework display launched at around 8pm, whilst the race was in full swing.