Up-and-coming Dubai-based race team, GPX Racing, created history at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. The team finished first in the 24 Hours of Spa, becoming the first team from the UAE to secure the podium with a resounding victory.
2019 was witness to the 71st endurance motor race which will forever be remembered a having the most challenging race conditions to date. GPX Racing started as favourites on nobody’s list, yet finished in the top spot, proving all doubters wrong.
The trio of GPX Racing team drivers celebrating a historic win at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
Supported by Porsche and managed by Pierre-Brice Mena, the Dubai-based motorsport team fielded a squad of three of its best drivers who are all world title winners. At the wheel of the 911 GT3 R with only a few months’ experience in the Blancpain GT Series, racing drivers Michael Christensen, kevin Estre, and Richard Lietz fought at the front of the field from start to finish and gave the Porsche its first victory since 2010 at the historic location.
GPX Racing had a strong showing right from the practice session. The #20 Porsche was put into the top 20 cars – out of 72 entries – making its way to the Superpole shootout. Driver Estre clinched the 11th place on the grid and then set the fastest time in night practice, giving the team a huge motivational boost.
As rain began to batter the main race, Estre immediately began to up his pace, making his way to the front of the pack, finishing his first stint in the lead. The #20 Porsche continued to battle it out with the other top teams, but the squad was handed a penalty during a pit stop. Still, the drivers fought back by taking advantage of a neutralisation to carry out the obligatory five-minute technical stop.
Torrential rain brought out the red flag in the early hours of morning. When the race resumed for the last five hours, GPX Racing was part of the pecking order to sprint to the chequered flag without any mistakes. The drivers’ skill, motivation to bring laurels to the UAE, strategic, well-timed decision, and sheer will paid off, and the #20 Porsche sped across the finish line at 16:30, clinching the top spot at the 24 Hours of Spa.
GPX Racing team's #20 Porsche 911 GT3 R was a treat to watch race, despite inclement weather playing spoilsport in the endurance race.
Pierre-Brice Mena, Team Principal for GPX Racing, said, “It hasn’t quite sunk in yet. A month ago we didn’t even know if we would be competing in this race. When we turned up at the 24 Hours of Spa with such a strong driver line-up we knew we could do a good job – but there were so many parameters. We made a great start to the race and then we had a drive-through. Above all, we had to avoid falling a lap behind.
“We fought our way back among the few teams capable of winning in the final hours. When you have such an opportunity to go for victory you have to grasp it with both hands and not be content with second place. We were never able to relax with the traffic and the battle right to the end with the other victory contenders and the incredibly challenging track conditions. But we finished with not one technical issue. A big thanks to Porsche, to the team and to all our partners for this extraordinary moment.”