The event, organised and hosted by Dubai Autodrome in collaboration with the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) and supported by the Dubai Sports Council, attracted over 1,000 visitors and more than 50 exhibitors to Motor City.
Keen motorsport enthusiasts discussed entry-level opportunities across the sector and met with teams, key stakeholders and even took to the sun-kissed racing track.
Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of ATCUAE and the Expo’s patron, toured the Autodrome’s busy paddock and believes the initiative can help draw fresh talent into UAE motorsport.
“It’s a great new initiative to bridge the gap between the public and motorsport sectors,” the 14-time former FIA Middle East Rally champion said.
“In order to encourage motorsport in the UAE we need to ensure that future competitors and stakeholders have the knowledge and platform to begin their careers in the industry.”
The Emirates Motorsport Expo brought together all forms motoring, from circuit racing to cross-country rallying featuring cars and bikes.
“What’s special about this Expo is that it’s a platform for people who are thinking and looking to start racing,” Bert Grogor, Sponsorship and Business Development Manager at Dubai Autodrome, told Sport360.
“The event is a source of information for everyone here and answers the question: ‘what does it take to go racing?’ It factors in cost and types of racing whether its bikes, cars, rally or off-road. It’s giving people the education and awareness of what is available.
“Dubai is such a heavy information-rich country and getting the message across is sometimes difficult but with this expo we feel we are targeting the right group of individuals and sending out the right messages about the opportunities available to them.”
Among the top racing teams present were AUH Motorsport (Radicals), Dragon Racing (NGK and F4), Formula Gulf Academy (single seater), GP Extreme (NGK and F1), Saluki Motorsport (off road) and UAE superbikes.
Dubai-based Englishman Ed Jones will hope to overcome the 16-point advantage of leader Santiago ‘Santi’ Urrutia as the Indy Lights series heads to the Watkins Glen International road course in Upstate New York for the penultimate weekend in this year’s hotly-contested series.
Englishman Dean Stoneman, Puerto Rican Felix Serralles, Californian Kyle Kaiser and Ohioan Zach Veach also are within 52 points of Urrutia.
At stake is a scholarship valued at $1 million which will ensure the champion three guaranteed races in next year’s IndyCar Series, including the 101st Indianapolis 500.
Just three races remain – one on Saturday at WGI, followed by two more at the ‘Soul Red Finale’ one week later at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in Monterey. A maximum haul of 99 points is available.
Jones, 21, who recently tested an Indy car at Watkins Glen with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, has won twice this season for the British Carlin team, and held a commanding lead in the points table until experiencing a difficult weekend at Mid-Ohio.
“The championship is the goal, but I have to go very strong in the last three races,” said Jones. “If I can be the best in those races, that’s all I can control.”
Urrutia, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Wednesday, grasped the advantage following a sweep of the two most recent races at the MidOhio Sports Car Course.
“I want to win the Indy Lights championship and, as a team, we are working hard toward that goal. I can’t afford to make any mistakes.”
Khaled Al Qubaisi and Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing are gearing up to tread into unfamiliar territory when they travel to South America for Round 5 of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the 6 Hours of Mexico, taking place this Saturday.
Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing, who are just two points adrift of the second-placed team in their category, will be looking to trim that gap at the top in their quest to be in podium contention at the 4.304km Autodrome Hermanos Rodriguez circuit.
Al Qubaisi will share driving duties with David Heinemeier Hansson of Denmark and Partick Long of the US behind the wheel of the No. 88 Porsche 911 RSR.
The team is expecting a tough race physically, not least because the circuit is new but also because of the timezone and high altitude in Mexico City where the Autodrome Hermanos Rodriguez circuit is located.
And while the challenges will be many, including some tough competition from other teams in the LMGTE Am class, Al Qubaisi and the team will be looking to study the track and find the appropriate setup during the free practice sessions.
Al Qubaisi said: “The circuit is new; and there are not many on board GT footage or simulators available to get to know the track in more detail. We will have two challenges during the practice sessions – getting used to the track and also finding the right setup.
Additionally, we don’t know how the high altitude will affect the performance of the car. So it’s going to be a very unpredictable weekend for us, but we will give it our best.”