Former Dubai 24 Hour class winners Century Motorsport can today confirm their first of two entries for the 2018 running of the Dubai 24 Hours. The first four-driver line up will feature a quartet of race winners and proven endurance racing experts in the form of Mark Farmer, Dominic Paul, Jon Barnes and Nathan Freke.
Having won the twice around the clock event in 2016, the team returned in 2017 hoping to emulate the success. Robbed of a chance to uphold the honours following an unfortunate on-track incident during the night, the team fought back to finish second in class SP3 and maintain a 100% podium finishing record.
For 2018, the team’s first of two entries will be the envy of many, with all four drivers being more than familiar with the top step of the podium in their respective main championships, and all keen to add a Dubai victory to their trophy cabinet.
Dominic Paul joins the team fresh from blowing away the opposition in this year’s GT Cup aboard a Ginetta G55. 13 wins in his comeback season following a 12 year sabbatical from racing speaks volumes about what he can bring to the team in this gruelling event.
Joining Dominic will be the proven British GT3 race winning duo and newly announced BRDC members Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes. Having come on in leaps and bounds aboard their Aston Martin GT3 over the last three seasons, they are looking to set off their 2018 campaign with a new challenge and feel ready for the season opening event. For Farmer, this will be his first taste of driving in the dark but with the benefit of some experienced drivers around him, is confident they can come out on top after 24 hours of hard racing.
Completing the quartet of drivers will be the familiar face of 2016 race winner Nathan Freke. Initially set for a full campaign in British GT3 in 2017, a change of plan mid-season left him on the side-lines for a time, fueling his hunger to get 2018 off to a strong start. Having also achieved a life-long goal of acceptance into one of Motorsport’s most elite clubs – the BRDC, Freke will be keen to represent the club in the best way possible and secure his second Dubai 24 Hour race victory while also maintaining his 100% podium finishing record.
Dominic Paul – Century Motorsport Ginetta G55:
“I’m really excited to be joining Century Motorsport to race in the Dubai 24 hours. Century have a great record in this race and have pulled a superb driver line up together. After racing in a Ginetta G55 all season and winning the British GT Cup Championship with 13 victories, taking part in a 24 hour race in a Ginetta seems like a natural next step. Jon Barnes and I were team mates in Caterhams 14 years ago, so it’s great to be racing together again.”
Jon Barnes – Century Motorsport Ginetta G55:
“I’m very excited to be joining Nathan and Century Motorsport for the Dubai 24 Hours in January! For many, many different reasons! I’ve known Nathan for 20 years this December since my time as part of their karting team. However this will be my first time racing with Century since the good old karting days where we achieved plenty of success at a Junior and Senior level, but now it will be my first time to race in a car as part of a team with Nathan, so I’m really looking forward to that aspect. I’m also delighted that our driver line up in the car will be completed by two drivers that I have been coaching, Mark Farmer and Dominic Paul. Mark Farmer has been my team mate in an Aston Martin GT3 car for the past three seasons in the British GT Championship. Mark has progressed immensely as a driver during that time, to the point where by the end of the 2017 season, I think he has a genuine right to claim himself as one of the best Am drivers on the grid. Dominic Paul has had a fantastic season in GT Cup this year, winning the championship. He has very ambitious racing plans over the next few seasons, so the race in Dubai with Century is designed to give him his first taste of endurance racing, with a view to stepping up into prototype endurance racing in the near future.”
Mark Farmer – Century Motorsport Ginetta G55:
“I’m very excited to be joining the Century Motorsport team for the Dubai 24 Hours. Their expertise around the Ginetta is second to none, proven with their previous form in the Dubai 24 Hours. With teammates Nathan Freke (BRDC Rising Star, McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year finalist 2006), Jon Barnes (BRDC Rising Star, McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year finalist 2006) and Dominic Paul who smashed the GT Open championship this year, what’s not to like? What could possibly go wrong!?”
Nathan Freke – Century Motorsport Ginetta G55:
“I’m absolutely delighted to be joining such a strong driver line up for my third participation in this great race. With a win and a second in the last two years, I’m definitely up for a return to that top step in an event that has been very good to Century Motorsport. Jon [Barnes], Mark [Farmer] and Dominic [Paul] need no introduction. They’re all established race winners, with absolutely proven records in everything they have raced recently, so there will be no margin for error in this driver line-up as I firmly believe we will be one of, if not the strongest driver line-up on the event and we are going out there to win!”
Clive Freke – Team Principal, Century Motorsport”
“The Dubai 24 Hours has become a big event on our racing calendar now and that’s largely thanks to the success we’ve had over the last two years. Having such a strong driver line-up confirmed so early also gives us a lot of confidence coming into the event. For Jon it’s almost a case of coming back to where he started, so he’s a very welcome return to the team and brings with him two of his very successful clients in Mark Farmer and Dominic Paul. We narrowly missed out on a repeat win in January this year, so we will be returning to the United Arab Emirates intent on returning to the top spot.”