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Live from the Dubai 24 Hour Part II

  1. We’re right in the thick of it now, TopGear.commers. The sun’s fallen and things are getting challenging

    This is the Saudi Falcons’s BMW Z4 GT3 at the pit petrol station. It’s like a BP garage, only a thousand times more involved. There are four pumps - two on each side - and a blind entry, so the fuellers rush like loons whenever their team’s car hoves into view. Great place to stand. Terrifying place to work.

  2. Despite dwindling light, locals are scattered all over the Dubai Autodrome - many are enduro-racing obsessives. Others are just drawn to fruity exhausts and glowing brakes.

    Our miserable Arabic failed to draw any incisive commentary from these chaps. Though one did ask “how long does it go on for”, which suggests he’s not a die-hard fan. We didn’t know how to say twenty. Or four. Or hours. He may be there a while.

  3. This wondrous Audi R8 GT3 LMS V10’s currently in tenth place after an extended pit stop. It’s still early doors so we wager its driver, Frank Yu, is reigning things in for a charge tomorrow morning.

  4. Tell anyone with a the vaguest hint of petrosexuality that there’s a 24 hour race full of Seat Leons, Lotus Evoras, Lambo Gallardos and bonkers silhouette racers and we reckon that they’d be surprised as us by the lack of spectators in the grandstand.

    Click the thumby uppy thing on Facebook if you’d like to be here. We know we would. But we are, so it doesn’t count.

  5. Don’t panic! Your faculties are intact - there is actually a Suzuki Swift racing in the Dubai 24h.

    The entry’s actually a competition prize from last year’s Suzuki Swift Cup Summer Series, the only one-make-cup series in the UAE. It’s held at the very same Dubai Autodrome we’re typing from.

    The cars are 1.5-litre four-pot screamers that produce 135bhp. Thanks to fibre glass panels, they only weigh 940kg dry - which is why their standard brakes (minus ABS) aren’t quite as terrifying an idea as they sound.

  6. This back belongs to a driver from the all-girl Racing Divas team. They’re piloting car 84 - a metalflake pink Renault Clio RS Cup - and they’re raising money for Plan Nederland, a Dutch charity supporting special projects for women in Nepal.

    We’ll be pestering them for a chat later.

  7. The sound out on the track is utterly superb. Which is hardly a surprise considering the metal - you can see Nissan’s own GT-R GT3, driven here by British helmsmith, Tom Kimber-Smith - chasing down a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S.

    But don’t take out word for it; click on THESE BIG WORDS to see some video footage from this evening.

  8. Welcome to another reason the Dubai 24h is ridiculous. This is a DNRT V8 stock car, which would look far more at home surrounded by whooping Americans on an oval.

    Which could explain why it’s spent most of its race in the pits.

    It was also in the same class as the Nissan GT Academy 370Z (currently 39th). It’s currently out. Oh dear.

  9. Saudi Falcons’ BMW Z4 enjoys the last precious minutes of daylight as it slides through the Autodrome’s 7th corner.

    Unsurprisingly, the team, which is headed up by Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal, is from Saudi Arabia. They’re a handy bunch, too - they won the 24h last year.

    The BMW’s currently in third place, driven by Edward Sandstrom.

  10. On the Autodrome’s main straight you get to see the power difference between the tiny A2 cars and the heavy-hitting A6ers in full measure. A GT3 takes a run on the number 63 Leon Supercopa. It’ll be side-by-side come turn one.

  11. Racing Divas’ 84 Renault. Racing like a diva.

    It’s currently in 55th out of 61. Not bad for a Clio.

  12. JUST IN: Nissan’s GT-R has officially retired after early race contact caused a series of problems, culminating in its departure.

    “In the end we fell victim to the knock on effect of the initial contact,” said JRM’s James Rumsey. “We brought the car in to check the suspension for damage and changed the tyres as a precaution. We then had to pit again as the steering had become offset. When Michael (Krumm) was running he was fast and when Alex (Buncombe) got in for his stint he was quick too. Alex reported a vibration at the end of his run and it turned out the front splitter mounting was damaged and there was also some damage to a radiator. We took our time to fix these issues but ultimately we decided to retire the car when we started to have cooling issues due to the earlier radiator damage.”

  13. The Gulf team manager instructs his drivers on fuel strategy outside the petrol station.

  14. The weird NASCAR DNRT V8 captured in a rare moment of functionality.

    What’s that cool thing behind it, we hear you crow? Why, it’s a GC 10.2 six-cylinder SP2 racer. It’s in the same garage as the utterly mental 1-series-a-like racer with a V8 stuffed up it.

  15. United Sports’ R8 eases past a GT3 cup car.

  16. Incongruously, you won’t find much in the way of glamour behind the scenes in Dubai. Sleep’s rustled as and when it can be. Not every team has such a fabulous range of inflatables, though.

  17. One of the fuellers prepares for his car. There are many things we’d rather do than his job.

  18. Night tickles the Z4 and 911 - time to switch on the lights and settle into a long night.

  19. AF Corse’s 458, just about to be put in the sin bin for speeding in the pit lane - that cost them a two-minute penalty. Tut tut, chaps

  20. Another demonstration of the event’s glorious down-at-heelness. Shipping containers are the nerve centres of choice. Stay tuned and we’ll show you round one…

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