24h Series, GT3

Strong opening to the season in the Middle East without racing luck

31. January 2024

Front row at the 24-hour race in Dubai

Leipert Motorsport kicked off the 2024 motorsport season with two races in the 24h Series, which are part of the Middle East Trophy. The team from Wegberg, supported by MOTUL, competed in the Dubai 24h with a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2. Previously, a Lamborghini Super Trofeo EVO2 was used at the 6h of Abu Dhabi. At the events, the team and drivers impressed with strong performances in the test and practice sessions. However, the races did not go as expected.

24h Dubai: Pole Position missed by hundredths of a second, fuel tank defect prevented start

Gabriel Rindone (ITA), Brendon Leitch (NZL), Alban Varutti (FRA) and Lamborghini works driver Marco Mapelli (ITA) drove a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 from Leipert Motorsport at the 24-hour race in Dubai. During the tests and in free practice, the quartet shone with very good times and everything went absolutely smoothly. The subsequent qualifying session then topped the training results. Three drivers had to compete and the average time of the fastest laps formed the basis for the starting grid. The Leipert trio battled for Pole Position in the 55-strong field right from the start. Varutti was the fastest in the first qualifying group, Leitch then set the second-fastest lap time. Mapelli missed out on 6 hundredths of a second in his stint because his fastest lap by far was cancelled by race control for disregarding the track limits. Nevertheless, second place on the grid overall was a top result.

However, the race itself was already over for Leipert Motorsport before the start. After the first lap in the morning warm-up, the team discovered an irreparable defect in the fuel tank. As it was not possible to replace the entire tank within a reasonable time, the team had to withdraw the Lamborghini with a heavy heart. A detailed analysis by the supplier is pending.

6h Abu Dhabi: After a good practice session, a collision through no fault of the driver prevented a top position

Gerhard Watzinger, Gregg Gorski (both USA) and Brendon Leitch (NZL) drove the Lamborghini Super Trofeo EVO2 in the 6-hour race in Abu Dhabi. After strong performances in practice, qualifying also went very well. All three drivers had to line up, and in the end, it was the average lap time that counted. Third place on the grid in the GTX class was a good result for the trio in a starting field totalling over 40 vehicles.

Gorski drove the start. He kept the Leipert Lamborghini at the front of the field and in the leading group of the GTX class with routine and consistency. Watzinger took over the Lamborghini after 2 hours. On lap 78, he was touched by a lapped car, causing both vehicles to crash. The damage to the Lamborghini was so extensive that it was not possible to continue and the car had to be withdrawn from the race.

Managing Directors Marcel Leipert & Marc Poos:

“These were not the race results we had hoped for. Nevertheless, we are extremely satisfied with the performance of the cars and the drivers. In Abu Dhabi, the trio got off to a good start and were on their way to the front when Watzinger crashed through no fault of his own. We had a strong qualifying session in Dubai, where we only just missed out on pole. Starting on the front row of the grid was great. Based on the race results, however, it was a very disappointing start to the season for us. From now on, our full concentration will be on the two final events of this year’s Asia Le Mans Series. We want to round off our Middle East sojourn with good finishes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.”

Leipert Motorsport’s next races will also take place in the United Arab Emirates. At the three final 4h races of the Asian Le Mans Series – Dubai (4 February 2024) and Abu Dhabi (10 and 11 February 2024) – Gabriel Rindone (ITA), Brendon Leitch (NZL) and Lamborghini works driver Marco Mapelli (ITA) will once again drive the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2.