We make the drive down to Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi, to take in a good day of motorsport.
It’s been months since we’ve been to any motorsport event, with our last outing to Road America for the SVRA Racing weekend in May.
However, there is something incredibly infectious about the sound of high performance engines and hard downshifts, accompanied by the sight of colorful liveries and dollops of carbonfibre, being piloted at breakneck speeds by very brave human beings. The net result: I was itching for a dose of motorsport. The category did not matter, all I wanted to see was a race.
After hearing wisps of conversation at the Gulf Concours about the upcoming Gulf 12 Hours, I decided to find out more. Somehow, there were very few details available online, but a quick phone call to Yas Marina circuit solved that. Saturday the 16th, I rose early and cruised down to the F1 circuit in Abu Dhabi.
Arriving just after 11, I wandered through the lane that housed all the teams’ hospitality chalets. I felt immediately familiar, having experienced more or less the same setup at the Dubai 24 Hours at the beginning of the year. Familiar faces and teams stood out too, namely GDL Racing and GP Extreme, who had elected to paint one of their Renault Sport racecars in the iconic Gulf Oil livery of blue and orange.
One of the pit garages was dedicated to the “Gulf Historics,” a race that would take place later in the afternoon. A new initiative, it would see iconic Formula One cars of yesteryear take to the track, wearing liveries like Hesketh, Marlboro and Warsteiner on their sleek bodies.
Since I had showed up with no fixed agenda this time, I was content to treat the whole day as entertainment. For only Dhs. 25, I could sit in the grandstands and watch these racecars battle it out while going through my own tub of popcorn. That’s not exactly how things happened, which is why these images were captured.
The Gulf Historics was a great opportunity to see the ex-Formula One cars in action, having been piloted at their prime by motorsport deities like James Hunt and Jacques Villeneuve.
On track action was limited to a couple spinouts during the 12 Hours and an engine failure during the Historics. The safety car ran a few laps, but otherwise all went well.
Without further ado, here are the action-packed images from the day. Enjoy!
A big “Thank You” to a really nice gent, whose assistance proved invaluable at the race. You know who you are.