GT Academy Champions Place 2nd in the SP3 Class of the Dubai 24 Hour Race
The final of the Dubai 24 Hour Race 2013 held in the UAE, took place between January 11 and 12. In this race, the graduating champions from the GT Academy competed in two Nissan 370Z racecars, and car number 127 took 2nd place overall in the SP3 class (21st overall).
The drivers in this year's Dubai 24 Hour Race were four champions who won the 2012 European and American competitions, plus the first GT Academy champion, Lucas Ordoñez. In addition, they were joined by one of the final judges of the GT Academy, Sabine Schmitz, along with racing drivers Roman Rusinov and Alex Buncombe. A total of 8 drivers separated into two teams of 4 that would drive the two Nissan 370Z racecars.
Lucas Ordoñez (First GT Academy Champion)
Wolfgang Reip (2012 European Champion)
Mark Schulzhitskiy (2012 Russia Champion)
Peter Pyzera (2012 German Champion)
Steve Doherty (2012 US Champion)
The fine-tuned 370Z proved to be quick, taking both pole and second place in qualifying in the SP3 class and allowing the team to start from the best possible position.
On January 11 at 2 pm local time, the final race started, with car 147 taking the lead. However the starting driver Sabine was involved in a crash just before changing drivers, and dropped their position. Meanwhile car 127 was steadily marking its laps when at just past 6pm, a tire came off from the BMW driving ahead and struck the front end of the car driven by Wolfgang. This forced the team to take almost an hour in the pit for repairs.
But rebounding from this bad luck, both cars fought hard to regain position. Car 127 had some issues with tires and brakes, but by the early hours of the 12th they had returned to 30th overall where they started at the beginning of the race. They continued driving aggressively thereafter, and attained 2nd in class in the SP3, 21st place overall.
Meanwhile car 147 struggled for some time without being able to raise their pace due to problems with their shocks and the differential, but in the latter half they picked up their pace again and managed to revive their position from 60th overall to 43rd overall by the end of the race.
The overall winner was Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon, with Bernd Schneider, the King of DTM at the wheel of the Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 (A6-PRO class).
Last year, four champions of the GT Academy competed in the race from team GT Academy and achieved 3rd place. This year they enjoyed their victory a step higher on the podium. Four champions who jumped into the real world of motorsports in 2012; their incredible effort and valiant challenge has again brought incredible real life results.