Red Bull athlete and two-time Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East champion Prince Abdulaziz Turki AlFaisal completed the world’s most difficult endurance race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans in its 82nd running, by successfully crossing the finish on the afternoon of Sunday, June 15.
AlFaisal, who first took part in the event with Proton Competition in 2011, drove JMW Motorsport’s Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 alongside American drivers Spencer Pumpelly and Seth Neiman. The trio were up against 17 other cars in the GTE-Am class, and 54 cars overall.
In Thursday’s qualifying session, the team managed 10th on the GTE-Am grid and a humble 45th overall. However, things were to change in the race, as Abdulaziz and his teammates were adamant to finish the race in the best position possible.
The 82nd 24 Hours of Le Mans kicked off on Saturday afternoon, with Formula 1 double world champion Fernando Alonso doing the honors of waving the French flag at the start/finish line to signal the start of a long and exhausting 24-hour race.
Things didn’t go according to plan during the early parts of the race; an unscheduled stop caused by a brake failure proved costly for the team, but after the lengthy repairs, the Ferrari rejoined the race and resumed its 24-hour assault.
When night fell, it was Abdulaziz Turki AlFaisal who shined through by being the fastest man on track in the GTE-Am class and consistently lapping the 13.6-kilometer Circuit de la Sarthe in the high 3min 50secs, while his rivals struggled to dip below the 4-minute mark.
After 16 hours of racing, the team was up to 8th place in the GTE-Am class and 30th overall. However, further impressive stints by AlFaisal and his teammates meant that the Saudi driver, who drove the last stint, ultimately crossed the finish line 7th in class and 27th overall which meant that the team gained 18 positions overall. It was ATF’s second consecutive Le Mans 24 Hours finish and his best result in the race so far.
AlFaisal will now move to a new and equally difficult challenge: the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, this coming weekend. ATF will drive a Black Falcon Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 alongside teammates Yelmer Buurman, Hubert Haupt and Adam Christodoulou. The race starts on Saturday, June 21st, at 16:00 (GMT+2) and ends 24 hours later on Sunday.