As Dubai Autodrome gets ready to host the 18th edition of the prestigious endurance event, seven-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi will make his 24 Hours Series debut at this weekend’s Hankook 24 Hour Dubai race.
The event, which will be held in the GT3, GTX, and TCR categories and be hosted by Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, will feature more than 42 teams, 54 automobiles, and 226 distinct drivers.
Advertisement Team WRT, a two-time Hankook 24H Dubai winner, will have one of the most recognizable faces on the grid thanks to the legendary 43-year-old Rossi, who holds the record for the most victories in premier class.
Following his retirement from MotoGP in 2021, Rossi will compete in the Dubai race as the final GT3 event of his career. He will drive alongside Spa 24 Hours winner and 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner Maxime Martin, World Endurance Championship driver Sean Gelael, and British GT4 European Series competitor Tim White.
Faisal Al Sahlawi, Dubai Autodrome’s general manager, commented on Rossi’s participation: We are thrilled to welcome Valentino Rossi to Dubai Autodrome for the Hankook 24 Hour Dubai race. Rossi has had a truly remarkable racing career that has spanned more than 25 years, making him an icon in the world of Grand Prix motorcycle racing.
“This is an unmissable opportunity for racing fans of all disciplines to see one of the sport’s greatest names in action right here in Dubai as he puts himself through one of the most difficult endurance races in the world. The fact that he is participating reaffirms how highly regarded the Hankook 24H Dubai is, which is growing in popularity.
There will be a mix of Emirati and regional drivers on the track, in addition to some of the best drivers from around the world. Khaled Al Qubaisi of the United Arab Emirates will be a part of Haupt Racing Team, which wants to repeat its 2021 class win and overall podium finish. Al Qubaisi, a Dubai winner three times, will compete on the circuit alongside team manager Sébastian Baud and two-time Spa 24 Hours winner Jules Gounon.
Rabdan Motorsport (922), Dragon Racing (GT4), and Saalocin Racing (GT3/Pro-Am), all based in the UAE, will also compete this weekend. Following their participation last year, Rabdan Motorsport, led by Saif Al Ameri, will have an all-Emirati driver lineup.
Al Faisal Al Zubair of Al Manar by HRT is aiming to raise the flag for Oman. On his team is Axcil Jefferies, who won in 2022 with Team MS7 by WRT and also instructs drivers at Dubai Autodrome when he isn’t racing.
The 18th Hankook 24H Dubai will begin at 15:30 on Saturday, January 14, and will continue until 15:30 on Sunday, January 15.
Dubai students’ formula-style racing car travels to the Netherlands for competition Faisal Al Sahlawi, general manager of Dubai Autodrome, added: “India will host MotoGP for the first time in 2023.” It is wonderful to see such a strong field of drivers and teams competing in this year’s Hankook 24H Dubai, which has become one of the international motorsports calendar’s most anticipated events.
“In what is essentially a marathon of racing, there has been a great deal of drama on the circuit every year, with drivers giving their absolute best, and this truly enhances the excitement of the event.