Al-Manar Racing by Getspeed's Al-Zubair & Grenier begin three-race International GT Open in Portugal

Sports Wednesday 24/April/2024 12:53 PM
By: Times News Service
Al-Manar Racing by Getspeed's Al-Zubair & Grenier begin three-race International GT Open in Portugal

MUSCAT: Oman’s Al-Faisal Al-Zubair and new Canadian team-mate Mikaël Grenier are taking part in this weekend’s opening round of the 2024 International GT Open at the Autodromo Internacional Algarve, in Portimão, Portugal.

After Portugal, the eight-round 2024 International GP Open calendar continues in Germany and Belgium next month, Hungary in June, the Paul Ricard circuit in France in July, a pair of races in Austria and Spain in September and the finale at Monza in Italy on October 20th. However, the Al-Manar Racing by Getspeed Mercedes AMG GT3 duo will only compete in Spa and Barcelona after this weekend.

Al-Zubair said: “I am really looking forward to the start of the International GT Open season. I will be participating in three rounds, all with Mick Grenier. Not only is he a very strong driver but he is someone I get along with very well. He will be with me in GT World Challenge Endurance and for these three rounds.

“We are with Getspeed and Al-Manar Racing and we feel our package is extremely strong. We don’t see a reason why we shouldn’t be fighting for the win.”

Al-Zubair teamed up with Fabian Schiller to win the Portuguese race outright last year in their Al-Manar Racing by Getspeed Mercedes AMG GT3. It marked the Omani’s seventh GT Open race success after he finished third overall in the championship in his first full season in 2021.

The Optimum Motorsport duo of Samuel de Haan and Charlie Fagg were their closest challengers in second place in a McLaren 720S GT3. Team Motopark’s Diego Menchaca and Marcos Siebert finished third.

Al-Zubair and Grenier will crew the Mercedes in both the International GT Open and the Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS Endurance Cup this season. Grenier finished second in the International GT Open back in 2019 after winning four races with the Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini.

Earlier this month, the pair teamed up with Austrian Dominik Baumann to finish second in the Gold Cup category at the first round of the Fanatec series at Paul Ricard.

International GT Open competitors are sharing the Portuguese circuit with Euroformula Open, GT Cup Europe, Clio Cup Series and Alpine Elf Europa Cup entrants this weekend.

The circuit was designed by Ricardo Pina Arquitectos and finished in October 2008. It has been hosting ELMS, DTM and WEC for several years, while the International GT Open visited for the first time in 2010. Since 2020, it has also hosted MotoGP.

Private tests will be permitted on Thursday, before three free practice sessions take place on the 4.653km circuit on Friday (April 26th). A televised 30-minute qualifying session follows from 09.30hrs on Saturday morning for one designated driver and the first 70-minute race gets underway with a rolling start from 14.15hrs.

The second qualifying session takes place at the earlier time of 09.00hrs on Sunday morning, prior to the one-hour second race of the weekend, which gets underway with a rolling start at 12.20hrs.