New season signals bright future for UAE Motor Sport

New season signals bright future for UAE Motor Sport

18.09.2013: Sulayem launches action-packed 2013-14 calendar, with big focus on grass roots development

Sulayem launches action-packed 2013-14 calendar, with big focus on grass roots development and launch of new desert rally championship

photo caption:  The Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) today announced the launch of the 2013-14 UAE motor sport season during a press conference at its Al Mamzar headquarters in Dubai.

The Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) today officially launched a new season of motor sport in the Emirates, placing a major emphasis on grass roots development to ensure the sport’s future growth.

The 2013-14 season getting under way next month, which is highlighted by the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 3 November, is built around the national motor sport authority’s ultimate goal to deliver drivers from entry level karting into Grand Prix racing.

The ATCUAE’s commitment to reinforcing motor sport at entry level is underlined by the continued expansion of the UAE Rotax Max Challenge, which sees the national karting championship grow again to cover five venues, include more double headers, and cross the border into Oman for the first time.

The opportunities for young drivers to progress from karting and develop their skills is highlighted by the volume of single-seater and touring car circuit racing activity fitted into a new season featuring more than 120 competitive events.

“Our priority is to make sure that the dramatic growth we have seen in UAE motor sport in recent years is sustainable,” said ATCUAE President Dr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem, addressing a press conference today at the club’s headquarters in Dubai.

 “It’s our duty to recognise and support the huge investment in motor sport made by the Government, and to work hard to attract and develop more young local drivers, in the process growing the interest of the UAE people, and all stakeholders.

Added Sulayem, the FIA Vice President for Sport: “We’ve developed an infrastructure for UAE motor sport which allows drivers entering karting at the age of eight to develop their skills and progress through single-seater and touring car events towards Grand Prix racing, which is the ultimate goal.”  

 “For the new season, we are taking the option available for a national karting championship to cross a common border by expanding the UAE series into Oman, creating an extra competitive ingredient for young drivers from both countries. We will look to continue to grow grass roots motor sport in this way in the years ahead.”

The new season sees the UAE Rotax Max Challenge also staging rounds on the Grand Prix track at Yas Marina Circuit, Al Ain Raceway, Dubai Kartdrome and Al Forsan in Abu Dhabi, with the  AARKC and Dubai Autodrome Motor City karting series adding more competitive depth.

Senior officials from each of the four UAE venues, as well as the Emirates Motor Sport Federation (EMSF), joined Sulayem today to preview the 2013-14 season which shows how motor sport has evolved over the last two decades from the pioneering days of rallying in the 1970s.

Significantly, the new season sees the launch of a new national rally championship designed to capitalise on the country’s spectacular natural assets for the staging of cross country events.

Safeguarding the future of rallying on a national basis, the UAE Desert Championship will help take the country’s original motor sport discipline to a new level.

It meets a growing demand from the country’s motor sport fraternity for a new series of highly competitive events run in a natural environment, with an emphasis on safety.

Organised by the EMSF with the full support of the ATCUAE, the inaugural series consists of four Baja-style events taking place in October, November, January and February, with categories for cross country cars, cross country buggies, motor cycles and quads.

It joins an exciting UAE motor sport calendar including the UAE Touring Car Championship, the UAE Radical Winter Cup, as well as the ninth edition of the spectacular Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai boasting its largest ever starting grid, and the Gulf 12 Hours at Yas Marina Circuit.

With the well-established Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East adding to the action, the new season also welcomes back the Maserati Trofeo Championship and the Ferrari 458 Challenge Asia Championship.

Headlining the UAE motor sport calendar for a fifth year, the F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix guarantees another pulsating race weekend at Yas Marina Circuit, the main attraction on this occasion being supported by the GP2 series, the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, and the GP3 series for the first time.

No UAE motor sport season would be complete without the Dubai International Rally, the 35th edition of which rounds off the FIA Middle East Championship in November, and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, running for the 24th time next April as part of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, and the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship for bikes.

Motor sport in the UAE is certainly not an exclusive four-wheel domain, and the 2013-14 season brings a new level of competitive bike action. Added to the new four-round UAE Desert Championship with its special category for bikes, and the world championship stage provided by the Desert Challenge, more growth is shown by a biggest ever grid for the Sportsbike Championship, featuring 600 cc and Rookies classes. The competitive picture for bikes is completed by the National and Club Motocross series.

- Tony Lewis, Total Communications Dubai -  also photo


18.09.2013 / MaP

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