ATCUAE launch 2016-2017 UAE motorsport calendar

Ben Sulayem: New season to provide excellent opportunities for young talent

The new 2016-2017 UAE motorsport season was launched today by the Automobile and Touring Club of UAE (ATCUAE) at its headquarters in Dubai, highlighting many developments that reflect the bright future of the sport in UAE.

The press conference, headed by His Excellency Mohammed ben Sulayem, President of ATCUAE and Emirates Motorsports Federation (EMSF), was attended by many supporting entities including Yas Marina Circuit, Dubai Autodrome, Dubai Kartdrome, Al Ain Raceway, Energy Dubai, Gulfsport, Rasgaira, Dragon Racing, Polaris UAE and RakTrack.
The new season features many karting activities and expansion in the national Baja Rally series, in addition to a long list of circuit racing activities.  

“Motorsport in the UAE has witnessed great development and expansion over the last years. Our government has always provided great support and investment and our responsibility is to maintain what has been achieved so far and ensure this growth is sustainable,” said Mohammed Ben Sulayem
 
“This coming season, our main focus is attracting and developing young local talent in many different areas in the motorsport world” he concluded.

 The Formula 4 UAE championship launched last February, is one of the most important additions on the motorsport calendar for this year. This FIA accredited championship is the first of its kind in the Middle East and Africa. 

The F4 UAE Championship is aimed at young drivers from 15 years old in the FIA MENA region. Based in the UAE, the Championship will feature 18 races held over 5 events at Yas Marina and Dubai Autodrome Circuits, starting in October 2016 until March 2017. 

Young drivers are also accommodated by the 13-round National Karting Championship, run between Al Ain Raceway, Al Forsan, Yas Marina Circuit and again crossing the border to Muscat in Oman. The ATCUAE has issued 122 karting competitor licences, an increase of 10 per cent on last year.

The annual “O” Plate race and Dubai Endurance karting championship held at the Dubai Kartdrome has also gone from strength to strength and has attracted international drivers.

The Hankook 24H Dubai, in January is now a traditional highlight at the Autodrome and reached a capacity entry of 100 cars for the first time in 2016.

The Emirates Desert Championship, the national Baja rally series launched in 2013 for cars, buggies, motorcycles and quads, has quickly become a major attraction, and the first out of five rounds will be staged on 14th October.

The UAE National Rally Championship run by the Emirates Motorsport Club (EMC) will start in October and aims to continue last years’ success, helping to drive the sport forward in the years ahead. 

The F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix guarantees another spectacular November race weekend at Yas Marina Circuit, the main attraction on this occasion being supported by the GP2 and GP3 series.

Other prominent events include the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, alongside other established events like the NGK race series, the UAE Radical Winter Cup, Formula Gulf Academy single seaters, Ferrari Asia Pacific and Lamborghini Trofeo championships and the Gulf 12 Hours at Yas Marina Circuit in December.

Also featured on the calendar are the Dubai International Rally, the UAE’s longest-running international sports fixture, and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the Middle East’s first world championship motor sport event.

Action on two wheels features the Sportsbike Championship at the Dubai Autodrome, with 600 cc and Rookies classes, as well as the popular National Motocross series.