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Sport and Fitness

UAE endurance racing team is still going strong

Words by Nathan Irvine

Outlasting the competition.

After picking up its maiden victory at the 24-hours of Spa endurance race, GPX Racing is growing in reputation. The Dubai-based Porsche team shook off its underdog tag in Belgium but didn’t stop there. Podium finishes in Portimao, Portugal and Barcelona, Spain were quickly added and the UAE flag has become a regular fixture on the endurance scene.

With the curtain about to fall on the season, GPX Racing now believes they have a shot at competing at the legendary Le Mans 24-hour race. Not bad for a team that was relatively unknown until a few months ago.

We spoke to team principle Pierre-Brice Mena about that winning feeling and what lies ahead.

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Supplied GPX Racing (right) on the podium in Barcelona

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Supplied GPX Racing boss Pierre-Brice Mena

What were the teams expectations going into the races?

We are in one of the most competitive sports in the world, so naturally we want to be at the top. The thing is, for this kind of race – a 24-hour endurance race – there are so many elements you simply can’t control so it’s always very difficult to predict how the race will pan out. But we showed up at Spa with a superb car – the Porsche 911 GT3 – and three world champions drivers, we certainly weren’t there to play at the back of the field. What makes our Spa victory even sweeter is that many people considered us the underdogs. Whilst we had a fantastic car and a brilliant squad of drivers, we are a young team on the global motorsport scene, but we certainly proved any doubters wrong and that we were a word-class team!

How difficult was it to take the top spot at Spa?

The 2019 Spa 24-hours was one of the most challenging races in its 71-year history. The weather was so bad at one stage that the race was red flagged. We actually took first place in last hour, and won the race by five seconds, which is just incredible. When you are battling against 72 other cars on the track, you can never rest. The level of talent on the circuit high and it was very close until the chequered flag was waved.

How does it feel knowing that you made history for the UAE?

We are very proud to represent the UAE. To have made the country’s national anthem ring out around the circuit for the first time in history is very special.

What’s next for GPX Racing?

Our main goal is to promote motorsport in UAE. There’s a huge community of petrol-heads in the region and we’d love to see the scene grow. We are proud, but we really hope to encourage more young drivers to start a career in motor racing.

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