SPS automotive performance lines up with two Mercedes-AMG GT3s and an array of driving talent at the first motorsport highlight of 2022. Eight drivers from seven countries will do battle for victory in the GT3-Pro and GT3 -Am classes at the first 24-hour race of the year.
In recent years, the 24 Hours of Dubai has established itself as the first highlight of the year on the motorsport calendar. More than 80 cars will take to the track at the 5.4-kilometre Dubai Autodrome on 14th January 2022, as they do battle for victory twice round the clock. SPS automotive performance has been a regular guest in Dubai for many years and is looking to challenge for overall victory and in the GT3-Am class with its two Mercedes-AMG GT3s and their top-class driver line-up.
Alternating at the wheel of the #75 Mercedes-AMG GT3 will be Kenny Habul (AUS), Mikaël Grenier (CAN), Maro Engel (GER) and Jules Gounon (FRA). The car with the SunEnergy1 livery lines up in the fiercely-competitive GT3-Pro class. In 2021, Australian Kenny Habul and Mikaël Grenier took the class victory at the Indianapolis 8 Hours and finished runner-up at the 24 Hours of Daytona. In Maro Engel and Jules Gounon, the Australian/Canadian duo will receive back-up from two full-time GT3 professionals. Engel has tasted victory in the Nürburgring 24 Hours and in the Blancpain GT Series, and finished third overall in last year’s 24 Hours of Dubai. Jules Gounon is also known as a proven GT3 specialist. The Frenchman won the ADAC GT Masters in 2017 and triumphed at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in the same year.
Starting in the GT3-Am class is the #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Reema Juffali (KSA), Valentin Pierburg (GER), George Kurtz (USA) and Ian Loggie (GBR). Juffali is the first female racing driver from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and has primarily been racing single-seaters in recent years. This year, the 29-year-old was the official ambassador of the 2021 Formula 1 STC Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – a role that saw her represent her home city of Jeddah, which hosted the first Formula 1 race in Saudi Arabia. Valentin Pierburg, runner-up in the Pro-Am class of GT World Challenge Europe, won the Am-class at the 24 Hours of Dubai with the Willsbach-based team back in 2018. George Kurtz has been competing successfully in GT World Challenge America for a number of years and has twice driven for SPS automotive performance in the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. Britain’s Ian Loggie is the reigning Pro-Am champion in the British GT Championship and has a wealth of experience in GT3 racing. With this driver line-up, the #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 can definitely count itself among the favourites to take the class victory at the 24 Hours of Dubai.
The 24 Hours of Dubai starts at 15:00 local time on 14th January 2022 at Dubai Autodrome.
Stephan Sohn, team principal SPS automotive performance: “We are very excited about the first highlight of the season and are incredibly proud to line up with such strong and well-balanced driver pairings. As it is every year, the opposition will be strong and a lot can happen over the course of the race. However, with a good strategy and a little look, we can be right up there at the front of the field this year.”
Reema Juffali, #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3: “I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be contesting the 24 Hours of Dubai with such an established team like SPS. I’m really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 – it’s an absolute beast of a car and I’ve seen really strong results in testing. I’ve made no secret of my passion for endurance racing so to be kicking off my 2022 racing campaign with my first ever 24-hour race definitely feels like massive progress. To be competing so close to home on a track where I started my racing career is going to make it even more special for me.”