Bahrain set to stage opening rounds of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East

Sakhir, Bahrain. The Middle East's most exciting and professional race series, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, will proudly return to the world-class Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) for the championship's opening rounds on the 16th and 17th November 2012.

The exclusive series, now entering its fourth season, features leading drivers and most promising home-grown talent from the region, racing over 12 action-packed rounds across six weekends between November 2012 and March 2013, with the BIC confirmed as a host for the opening and closing rounds of the prestigious championship.

Created to inspire a new generation of Arab racing drivers and offer a platform into the world of international GT and sports car racing, the one-make series has already proved vastly popular amongst local drivers and fans alike who regard the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East as the purest form of racing.

Commenting on the launch of the fourth season in Bahrain, BIC Chief Executive Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa said:

"BIC is known globally as 'The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East' for its pioneering vision as the first international circuit built to the highest standards in the region. We were the first to bring major global championships and premiere motorsport here. In hosting the opening rounds of this prestigious Porsche series we are continuing that tradition with a brand that shares our passion for racing.

"Far beyond providing the perfect environment to race, the BIC is committed to growing motorsport and encouraging Arab talent. This category of motorsport has a proven track record and pedigree in producing drivers that truly compete in major international race series."

Based on the highly successful Porsche formula of one-make series racing, all drivers compete in identical cars, the iconic and bestselling sports car in the world, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Since all drivers compete in the same vehicle, featuring identical tires and fuel, material advantages are eliminated. Winning and losing all comes down to skills, resulting in intense on-track action, fierce rivalries and sensational motorsport entertainment from the best in the region.

Speaking ahead of testing and the opening rounds in Bahrain, Walter Lechner, Manager of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, said:

"Thanks to the Bahrain International Circuit motorsport in the Middle East is truly on the world stage. Bahrain is where the region's best drivers want to prove themselves and we're really excited to start and finish our season here. For organizers and teams the facilities are amongst the best in the world while the circuit is a demanding challenge that brings out the best in the drivers. Those who finish on the podium in Bahrain will have certainly earned it.

"Porsche has a proud history of taking motorsport to the next level and that's exactly what the GT3 Cup Challenge is doing in the Middle East. It is creating new heroes and inspiring a new breed of driver that can unleash their true potential with real racing and real rivals battling for individual and team honours. The races on 16th and 17th of November are free to attend so fans should come and witness a new generation of drivers from the Middle East in action for themselves."

Drivers predicted to challenge for the points on the world renowned desert track in Bahrain include Clemens Schmid of Dubai-based Al Nabooda Racing and defending Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East champion Abdulaziz Turki AlFaisal. Schmid a rookie from last season will be hoping to repeat his fine showing when he won the final rounds in Sakhir in April. The current and two-time Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East champion Abdulaziz Turki AlFaisal faces further competition from team-mate Faisal Binladen and veteran driver Karim Al Azhari.

The weekend's events get underway on Friday, 16th November with qualifying runs followed by Round 1 in the afternoon on the BIC's Inner Track (2.5643 km). The format is repeated on Saturday, 17th November for Round 2.

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