Al-Sakhir BIC: Friday’s opening race of Season 8 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at the Bahrain International Circuit will welcome one of the largest grids in the history of the series and an exciting new title, The GCC Porsche Rookie Championship.
In a response to the growing strength of championship and the influx of emerging racing talent from the GCC region making their debut, including Mohammed Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, organisers have introduced a new category to inspire rookie drivers.
The new category will see four young racing prodigies pitted against each other for the title over the 12-race season between November 2016 and April 2017. Newcomer Al Saud will be joined in a quest for silverware by 18-year old Al Faisal Al Zubair of Oman and the teenage Bahraini duo of Isa A. Al Khalifa and Isa S. Al Khalifa.
“I am happy with how the car is feeling and I believe I’m progressing my speed with every lap. Today will be my first race in the championship and I’m really excited, it is all about development for me and learning each weekend,” Speaking ahead of his debut race Mohammed Al Saud, said.
“I think the new category is exactly what myself and the other younger drivers need. We obviously want to do as well as possible in the overall race, but being able to challenge for the Rookie title against the other debutant drivers gives us all a separate goal to aim for. The category focuses on the younger drivers in the series and shows just how good the championship is for drivers like myself in the region to progress in a challenging but realistic environment.”
“From the very start our vision was to build a platform to fuel passions of young and talented regional drivers and for dreams of a racing career to come true. With the introduction of such promising young local drivers we wanted to support those making their debuts. To have all the young drivers compete for this new title will help these drivers learn how to win, how to manage a race and how to manage their emotions. For us it’s an important addition which is bound to spark even more excitement throughout the grid.”
Season 8 is predicted to be one of the most open in the history of the series due to a truly international grid featuring an impressive 17 cars with drivers representing 12 different countries. A fact that underlines the global status and increasing appeal of the most professional motorsport championship in the Middle East.
Almost half of the drivers to line up will be completely new to the grid with many travelling from across Europe for the opportunity to challenge the best racing talent in the region. The diverse grid comprises of professional, amateurs and rookies from Ireland, Norway, Germany, Luxenberg, Sweden and Turkey will face stiff opposition from local drivers representing the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
“This is the type of grid we always wanted. One that is full of promise and a next generation of drivers from this region, racing against quality international drivers. I think we are at the start of a very special journey for motorsport in the Middle East. It has taken years of commitment, effort and support from many people to get this far but it’s worth it when you see the sheer excitement in eyes of our drivers and such a strong line-up,” Lechner, added.