The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East has been given a fresh boost with the news that Qatar has joined the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia on the championship circuit for the first time.
Losail International Circuit, home to world class motor bike and motor racing since 2004, will stage Rounds 9 and 10 of the 2011-2012 Porsche one-make series on March 2-3.
It follows an agreement between Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) and Lechner Racing who manage and run the GT3 Cup series on behalf of Porsche Middle East and Africa.
“We’re delighted that we’ll be running for the first time on the beautiful Losail International Circuit,” said Walter Lechner, head of the race organisation. “We’ve already received a very warm welcome at Losail from the Qatar Federation and are looking forward to a new racing experience which will be enjoyed by all the drivers.”
QMMF President Nasser Khalifa Al Attiyah said: “The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East has a reputation as a very exciting series which is run to the highest professional standards, and we are happy to bring this new attraction to Losail International Circuit.”
Qatar joins a 12-round championship which has quickly established itself as a headline race series in the Middle East since being launched in December 2009. The 2011-12 season has reached the half way point following an opening two-round race weekend at Dubai Autodrome and two more at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi in November and December.
Rounds 7-8 take place in Saudi Arabia at Reem International Circuit outside Riyadh on February 15-16, and the championship reaches its climax at Bahrain International Circuit on March 29-30.
Chasing his second Porsche GT3 Cup title in three seasons, Abdulaziz Al Faisal has won two of the first six rounds this season and currently holds an eight-point lead in the championship from fellow-Saudi Bandar Alesayi, one of three other race winners to date.
The first visit by the series to Losail International Circuit means that three Qatar-based drivers can now look forward to Porsche GT3 Cup action on their home track.
Veteran Qatari driver Saddon Al Kuwari has made an impressive start to his first season of Porsche GT3 Cup racing. He has a commanding lead in the Michelin Silver Trophy standings for the intermediate class and holds sixth place overall.
Also contesting the series and looking for success in the bronze class Mobil 1 Trophy are Qatar-based Dutchman Rob Frijns and his Austrian team-mate Manfred Ender.