The third running of the Gulf Historic GP Revival at the Dubai Autodrome on 6-8 December proved to be the biggest and best to date, drawing in a record crowd of 18,000 spectators, 74 iconic race cars and a wealth of driving talent in a three-day weekend of historic motor sport encompassing classic Le Mans cars and ‘70s Formula 1 legends. Steve Swanson reports…
A grid of Le Mans 80s+ opened the racing program on Saturday morning, with Gérard López leading from pole in an Iconic Racing Porsche 962, pursued by the feisty Spice SE90 driven by father and son Mark and Mattias Devis, while A superb grid of 17 70s+ F1 cars turned out for two races over the weekend.
The Le Mans experience continued with the post millennial thoroughbreds taking to the circuit mid-afternoon for the first of two 45-minute races. Steve Brooks, piloting the turbo diesel Peugeot 90X would eventually celebrate a double victory, Saturday seeing him fending off an initial spirited challenge from Jann Mardenborough, driving a Judd V8 powered Ligier JSP2 in the invitation class.
A new event for 2023 was the three-hour night endurance race for Le Mans cars of the ‘60s. Unsurprisingly it was the five GT40s in the race that qualified first on the 19- car grid. As the grid set off at sunset, lights ablaze, the evocative image of the five GT40s roaring down the back straight in line astern, exhausts spitting fire and front brakes glowing crimson in the darkness, was an experience to savour.
It is said that Frédéric Fatien, creator of the event, wants it to become a Goodwood of the Middle East, and away from the racing, psychedelic roller skaters weaved through the paddock and competitors and their families supported the ‘70s theme, with some spectacular shirts and hats adorning the paddock. A Doppelganger James Hunt, complete with pretty girl and pesky paparazzo, could be found admiring the ‘70s race cars, RM Sotheby’s were present and, recognising the quality of cars and customers the UAE attracts, they showcased some of their wares including a one-off special bodied 1931 Alfa 6C.
Read Steve’s full report in our January/February issue – also available in a digital edition.
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