6 Races, 6 Trophies for Brandon Gdovic at 24 Hours at Dubai
Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (January 16, 2017) – NASCAR XFINITY Series and Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Series driver Brandon Gdovic rounded out a three-series racing gauntlet at Dubai Autodrome in the 24 Hours at Dubai. Gdovic and team started out with an eight hour leading run, followed by two mechanical failures, costing the team over fifty minutes in the pits relegating them to a fourth-place finish in the Middle East’s most prestigious road race. Gdovic adds this to his impressive list of achievements this week – as the only driver of 425+ to pull triple-duty, he brings with him back to America an extraordinary amount of hardware from his one win and five podium finishes.
Gdovic’s race week began on Tuesday with the 24h Proto Series in which he competed in three different three-hour races behind the wheel of a Ginetta G57 LMP3 (Le Mans Prototype 3). Having suffered through multiple flight cancellations and delays to get from the snow stricken East Coast of the United States to Dubai, Gdovic missed the first practice and made only two laps in the second free practice. Gdovic was undeterred; in his first time competing in this racecar and first time at the Dubai Autodrome, Gdovic swept the podiums posting two second-place finishes and one third-place finish.
Gdovic spent his three-race tenure in the LMP3 learning the unique characteristics of the Dubai Autodrome, then put these skills to practice behind the wheel of the No. 46 Liqui Moly Team Engstler VW Golf in the TCR Middle East Series. Despite the fact that this was Gdovic’s first time in a front wheel drive race car, he qualified in the third position for the two 30-minute races. In Race 1, a setback on Lap 1 forced him to start from the back of the field. As the race progressed, Gdovic masterfully charged through the field to secure a podium finish. In Race 2, Gdovic was involved in a tight battle for position throughout much of the event. Due to the inversion of the field based on qualifying he started in the sixth position, but after a steady march through the field, he prevailed and secured not only a victory for himself, but a 1-2-3 finish for Volkswagen. Gdovic is only the second American to win a TCR race, worldwide, the only American to win a TCR Middle East race, and is currently leading the driver point’s championship.
In his final and most prestigious race of the weekend, Gdovic transitioned into a right-hand drive Ginetta G55 for the 24 Hours at Dubai. As one of four drivers piloting the No. 178 CWS Engineering Ginetta G55, Gdovic would start the grueling endurance race from the pole position. Brandon first stint was in the difficult dusk to darkness shift. His team dominated the race for the first eight hours until a wheel hub failure caused a 44-minute pit stop. Not to be discouraged after returning to the field in ninth position, they drove back to second place. Unfortunately, with 32 minutes to go in the event, with Brandon driving, a front stub axle failure caused one of the wheels to break off the car. Gdovic, was able to keep the Ginetta on the track and limp back to the garage for a six minute pit stop to replace the wheel assembly. Despite the 15 lost laps and the additional 5 minutes of penalties, they returned to the track in fifth and Brandon drove the final stretch to take the checkered flag fourth in their class.
It was certainly a week of firsts for Brandon – first time in each type of race car, first time at the Dubai Autodrome, and his first international win. With the exception of the first LMP3 practice missed due to flight delays, Brandon drove in every session at Dubai this week rivalling all 425+ competitors present and totaled more than sixteen hours racing with no damage to any of the three race cars he piloted for the first time.
Brandon Gdovic Quotes:
“Overall, this was a great week in Dubai. I didn’t know what to expect going in to the week, but definitely left happy. I had great runs in all three cars and brought home a lot of trophies, including a win and the point’s lead in TCR Middle East. Unfortunately, the car had problems in the 24 Hour race that kept us from winning, but it was one of the best weeks of racing I have had and I gained a ton of experience. I would like to thank all of the Teams that did such a great job providing me with competitive race cars and assistance this week. CWS Engineering and Colin White, and Liqui Moly Team Engstler and Franz Engstler. Everyone was very accommodating and very professional. I look forward to working with them again in the future. I would also like to thank Simpson Motorsport (UK), Volkswagen, and Ginetta Cars.”