This summer, up-and-coming Dubai-based race team, GPX Racing, has taken part in three 24-hour races in less than two months and secured podium finishes at each race – seeing the UAE flag flying on the podium and the UAE national anthem ring out around some of the world’s best race tracks.
After battling against 72 cars to finish as outright winners of the world-famous 24 Hours of Spa, and securing second place in Portimao, the squad of world-class drivers finished third in Barcelona in its Porsche 911 GT3 R adorned in the iconic Gulf colours.
Following a successful summer of racing in the 24H Series Championship of the Continents, the young team, managed by Pierre-Brice Mena, announced its aim to compete in the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans.
As the team embarks on the journey to Le Mans – the world’s most iconic endurance race – it will start its search for local partners with the aim to be the trailblazers in the UAE motorsport scene; bringing the thrills and excitement of motor racing to petrol heads in the region.
24-hour races are right up GPX Racing’s street…
In Barcelona, GPX Racing entered Jordan Grogor, Stuart Hall and Benjamin Goethe – the trio that had taken part in the first three rounds of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup – backed up by Jean-Pierre Valentini and ex-Minardi, Jordan and Midland F1 test driver, Nicky Pastorelli.
Speaking at the Barcelona 24 hours the youngest and oldest members of the GPX Racing team – Benji Goethe and Jean-Pierre Valentini – gave two different takes on the team united by one ambition.
Benji Goethe, 16, the youngest member of team GPX Racing, said: “I learned a lot during my first 24-hour race in GT3 starting with driving at night time, judging the braking points and how to find my marks in the darkness. And overall, one of the main difficulties is knowing how to overtake quickly so as not to lose time while making the right decisions when it comes to taking risks. I think that finishing third overall is pretty good for a first attempt!”
Jean-Pierre Valentini, the oldest member of team GPX Racing, said: “As an amateur gentleman driver I very much appreciated being able to count on advice from the Pros, in particular Nicky Pastorelli and Jordan Grogor with whom I am used to working on the data to make progress. I’m very impressed by everything the GPX Racing team has achieved since it got hold of the Porsche 911 GT3 R. It’s a team where it feels good to live and to succeed!”
Team Principal, Pierre-Brice Mena didn’t hide his satisfaction as a successful summer of racing, saying: “What has to be underlined is our consistency and the quality of our preparation. Once again, we didn’t run into any problems with the car. Benji finished his first 24-hour race in GT aged 16 and he didn’t spare his efforts as he drove for five hours. With three good results in 24-hour events including a victory at Spa, GPX Racing can target the capital of endurance, Le Mans, in a serene frame of mind!”
Two years to confirm and target Le Mans…
Looking to the future, GPX Racing will end its tour of Europe in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at Barcelona on 28-29 September, before returning home to the UAE where it will compete in the Gulf 12 Hours (14th December) and the Dubai 24 Hours a month later, in which it will run two cars.
GPX Racing and the Porsche Club UAE – now in its 21st year – have recently teamed up and the official Porsche Club UAE logo will feature on the GT3 race car at the home race meetings. Karim Al Azhari, President of the Porsche Club UAE, said: “We are incredibly excited and proud to collaborate with GPX Racing. After such a remarkable summer of success in European endurance racing we are looking forward to bringing the UAE Porsche community closer to the motorsport scene with the GPX Racing. To have our logo on the new 911 GT3R car as it races in the Gulf 12 Hours and Dubai 24 Hours will be a proud moment for all of us in the Club, and I’m sure there will be more memorable moments to share together in the future.”
The team will return to the 24H Series Championship of the Continents in 2020 alongside an assault on SRO Motorsports’ GT World Challenge Europe. This time the team will have a full programme including the five sprint events and five endurance races with the Spa 24 Hours being the highlight. With so much experience in GT3, the challenge ahead to move to the GTE category means the team’s first outing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2021 can become reality.