Porsche’s two customer teams from the Autobacs Super GT Series, D’Station Racing, and Gulf Racing Japan, will enter the 2018 24 Hours of Dubai – the blue riband event of the 24H Series by Creventic – on January 11-13, 2018 at the Dubai Autodrome.
Both teams will enter the top-level A6 category for FIA GT3 cars, with D’Station Racing bringing the upgraded, 2018-spec Porsche 911 GT3-R on track for the first time in advance of their full-season campaigns in Japan.
In less than a year since the restructuring of D’station Racing, which included the appointment of baseball legend Kazuhiro Sasaki as the team’s General Manager, they have rapidly expanded their programmes to include Super GT, Blancpain GT Asia, and now a one-off entry in the first major 24 hour race of the 2018 calendar year.
D’station Racing founder, owner, and gentleman driver Satoshi Hoshino will be joined by former 24 Hours of Le Mans overall winner Seiji Ara, 12-year GT300 class veteran and perennial championship contender Tomonobu Fujii, and former Porsche Carrera Cup Japan champion Tsubasa Kondo in the number 20 Porsche.
Fujii placed seventh in the GT300 Drivers’ Championship in 2017, matching D’station Racing’s seventh-place finish in the Teams’ Championship, with two podium finishes at the Fuji 500km and at Chang International Circuit in Thailand.
One of Fujii’s co-drivers in the 2017 Super GT Series, rookie Sven Müller, will also be driving in the race in a Porsche 911 GT3-R – but in a different team, driving for German-based Renauer Racing alongside fellow Porsche Motorsport young driver Mathieu Jaminet, and German drivers Otto Klöhs and Lars Kern.
Gulf Racing Japan (entered in Super GT as Gulf Racing with Pacific) also enter the race for the first time, but with an entirely different lineup from their 2017 Super GT efforts.
Kimihiro Yashiro, racing driver and team director of the Super GT operation, will make up a driver lineup also consisting of owner/driver Hisashi Kunie, four-time 24 Hours of Zolder winner Dylan Derdaele, and fellow Belgian & former Superbike racer Nicolas Saelens in the #991 Porsche GT3-R.
Gulf Racing with Pacific enjoyed their best Super GT season to date in 2017, with drivers Jono Lester & Kyosuke Mineo finishing eighth in the GT300 Drivers’ Championship, the team placing eighth in the Teams’ Championship.
Another Super GT alumni in the Dubai entry list (as of 7 December 2017) is former Honda GT500 driver Jean-Karl Vernay, who will drive a Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR for Liqui Moly Engstler Racing.