Muscat: Talented Omani rookie Khalid Al Wahaibi is relishing the prospect of taking part in the 2017-2018 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, which gets underway at Bahrain’s International Circuit at Sakhir this weekend.
The son of former kart racer Ibrahim Al Wahaibi and nephew of the region’s popular rally driver Hamed Al Wahaibi, Khaled Al Wahaibi cut his motorsport teeth in the world of karting himself.
Between 2013 and 2016, the youngster tackled numerous races in Oman and was the Oman Junior Max and Oman 6hr Kart Endurance champion in 2014-2015 and the UAE Junior Max series winner the following year.
He qualified for both the X30 and Rotax World finals in 2015-16 and tackled F4 races this season in South East Asia. The Omani finished the championship in seventh position and third rookie, despite missing one round.
Al Wahaibi said: “Ever since I was young and around my father, I was enthusiastic about motorsport. By the age of three, I had my first quad bike and then moved on to a Yamaha dirt bike. My father and my rally-driving uncle saw the passion I had for motorsport and thought I had a natural talent. But there was no kart track in town and it did not re-open until 2013. Since then, I have competed locally, regionally and internationally and also in F4.
“I want to push myself in motorsport and becoming a professional driver would be a dream come true. I have not raced for eight months and I have no set goal for the Porsche GT3 Cup.”
“The jump from F4 will be a challenge in itself and I will need to get used to the car and familiarise myself with the driving technique. Then, we can aim forward and keep progressing up the field.”
The prestigious Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East is organised by Porsche Middle East & Africa FZE in association with Lechner Motorsport GmbH and will be fought out over six race meetings and 12 rounds in Bahrain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi between this weekend (November 16-18) in Bahrain and the final two races back at the Sakhir circuit in early April.
The weekend’s Porsche activities take place in conjunction with Bahrain’s round of the FIA World Endurance Championship and get underway with free practice from 1055hrs (1115hrs Oman time) on Thursday and a second session from 1330hrs.
Porsche qualifying (Q1) takes place at Sakhir from 1235hrs on Friday and Q2, at 1520hrs, precedes the first night race of the season, which fires into life at 1920hrs.
Teams will be permitted back on to the desert circuit for a warm-up session from 1035hrs on Saturday and race two gets the green flag at 1330hrs.