Historic Dubai Grand Prix to make roaring return in November

James Hunt's Formula One-winning Hesketh 308B one of 100 classic cars to race in heritage motor festival

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One hundred retro racing cars will line up for the second Historic Dubai Grand Prix Revival in November — marking an event staged just once, back in 1981.

The throwback three-day motoring festival will feature an array of classic cars, including the Hesketh 308B raced by 1976 Formula One world champion James Hunt and a Le Mans-winning 1987 Rothmans Porsche 962.

Drivers will compete across two F1 categories and two longer endurance events in cars registered from 1970 to 2010.

“Enthusiasm for track-based motor racing in the Middle East has been steadily building in recent years,” said Pierre-Brice Mena, managing director of events organisers GP Extreme.

“This historic revival taps into the spirit of the first Dubai Grand Prix, a multi-category sports and touring car race and unofficial F1 demo event which was held in 1981 and was before its time.

“With this second [revival] event, we’re establishing a concept we hope to expand in the coming years.

“We have a desire to be disruptive and break the norms, and with that we’re bringing an entirely fresh view of motorsport to the Middle East.”

Engines will fire up on the first day of racing, scheduled for November 25, and will feature some of the most famous names from Formula One, Le Mans and the Dakar Rally — also including 1964 F1 champion John Surtees’ TS9B car from 1972.

For the 1981 Dubai Grand Prix, 120 cars were shipped over. The one-off event attracted a jamboree of F1 demonstrations, prototype and sports car competitions and a Citroen CX celebrity race in which motorsports stars Stirling Moss, Derek Bell and Dan Gurney competed.

Watch how Red Bull celebrated Verstappen's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix win

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Organisers hope to capture the spirit of that time in November's event, with a retro theme in the paddock and the dress code for spectators.

All the action will take place on the 5.4km Dubai Autodrome racetrack in Motor City.

“It is a dream to resurrect the spirit and fun of the Dubai Grand Prix that was held in 1981 and drew contemporary cars and Formula One stars,” said Faisal Al Sahlawi, General Manager of Dubai Autodrome.

“We are now building on the success of last year’s inaugural Historic Dubai Grand Prix Revival. We’re excited to see this continue as an annual event and to witness grids filled with rare and important racing cars.”

The first Historic Dubai Grand Prix Revival was held last December.

Updated: March 01, 2022, 9:59 AM