Donkervoort wins 24 Hours of Dubai 2011
Valspar Donkervoort Racing drives perfect race with ultra fast pit stops
Dubai, January 14th and 15th 2011 – Valspar Donkervoort Racing has won the 24H of Dubai this weekend. The Donkervoort D8 GT (24h edition), managed to obtain first place in the SP3-GT4 class with drivers Nick de Bruijn (NL), Denis Donkervoort (NL) and Stéphane Wintenberger. The team ended up 13th in the overall field, which consisted of over 85 competitors in total. A fantastic and very promising result, since this was only the second year of participation in the 24H of Dubai for the Donkervoort D8 GT.
The development of the cars in one of Donkervoorts main reasons for participation in 24 hour races. Last years participation emphasized on thoroughly testing the already existing Donkervoort D8 GT which, until then, had only participated in sprint races. This year the emphasis was on the future. Last December the arrival of the D8 GTO (open GT) was officially announced, but the D8 GT that participated in the 24H of Dubai this weekend was already equipped with a few new techniques of the GTO purposed for extensive (durability) testing. The adapted hybrid chassis/body with carbon fibre sandwich panels, combined with the existing tubular frame, for example, is completely new. This chassis will become the standard in the D8 GTO that will be introduced this year and could be extensively tested in Dubai. The new brakes, wheel suspension, etcetera, which Donkervoort has been able to develop thanks to the support of the European Union, could also be put to the test.
24H of Dubai 2011
Valspar Donkervoort Racing was able to start from a satisfactory fourth place in the SP3-GT4 class and a 44th overall position. The entire race went very smoothly from the moment of the start. The D8 GT did not show any defects or problems in the extreme circumstances of heat, sand and the fierce competition at the Dubai Autodrome. Once again, thanks to – among others – the enormous reliability of the Audi engine, the bonnet of the car was not opened once during the race. Besides that, the brake pads did not have to be replaced, fluids did not have to be replenished, the clutch (discs) did not need replacement, etcetera. Pit stops only consisted of driver changes, refuelling and if necessary a change of tyres. Due to the light weight and the perfect balance of the car, a tyre change was needed only every two or three stints. This resulted in another first place: Valspar Donkervoort Racing has spend the least time in the pit area out of all 85 teams in this long distance race. The team also broke the record of the fasted pit stop this year.
Nevertheless, Donkervoort also knew some difficulties this past weekend. During the training sessions on Thursday, a carbon fibre cap short-circuited with a plus cable in the cable loom. This caused a small fire to start, which was luckily extinguished very quickly by the automatic water spray system in the car. Fortunately, the team managed to find the cause of the incident within minutes and could therefore be resolved quickly. The second qualification, however, had to be skipped, which made the initial second qualification time fall back to a fourth starting position.
During the race a cycle wing bracket shook loose. While pit stopping, the entire cycle wing was removed by the mechanics and the race was continued with only limited time loss. Sharp chassis/body work parts that ended up on the track caused by accidents of other participants were to blame for a near crash of the D8 GT due to a flat rear tyre.
In the night it slowly became visible that the competition slowly dropped positions, due to a larger amount of pit stops and/or technical problems. After somewhat 10 hours into the race, Valspar Donkervoort Racing obtained first position and managed to keep this position until the end of the race. Nevertheless, the race stayed incredibly thrilling, for both the Aston Martin V8 Vantage (2nd place) and the Lotus Evora (3rd place) fought for the first position until the bitter end. In the end Valspar Donkervoort Racing finished first place with a lead of resp. 7 laps on the Aston Martin and 21 laps on the Lotus Evora.
A 13th position in the overall field was a great accomplishment as well in a field in which many (semi-) factory GT2/GT3 teams participated this year. Donkervoort finds itself in the top 20 in between among others the BMW Z4 GT3, the Ferrari F430 GT2, the Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, the Porsche 911 GT3 R and the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560 GT3 .
Valspar Donkervoort Racing
Donkervoort was supported by Premium Partner Valspar during the 24H of Dubai 2011. This originally North American manufacturing company of varnish and paint, with subsidiaries all over the world, provided Donkervoort – among others – with the °∆green°« and ultra light body finish of the ultra light Donkervoort D8 GT.
All in all, Donkervoort looks back at this well organized 24H of Dubai with great satisfaction, happiness and enjoyment.