Sole Hong Kong entry Antares Au finishes 6th in GT3-AM despite incident-filled race
Au gains valuable experience after completing his 5th entry in the Dubai 24 Hours
Hong Kong driver race driver Antares Au completes the 2021 Dubai 24 Hours, fighting back after multiple setbacks to finish 6th in the GT3-AM category and 11th overall. The #93 Herberth Porsche 911 GT3 R crew of Antares Au, Steffen Görig, Daniel Lloyd and Ian Loggie were involved in an epic battle for the lead, and ran in the top-3 in the first half of the 24 hour endurance.
However, a tangle with a slower car in the night followed by a technical issue in the final hours of the race took the team out of podium contention despite having great pace throughout the race.
Although disappointed with the final result, Au gained valuable experience and important seat time in preparation for his upcoming Asian Le Mans Series campaign, which kicks off at the Dubai Autodrome next month.
2021 Dubai 24 Hours
The #93 Porsche started the 2021 Dubai 24 Hours from 4th in class, and 11th overall on the grid. As the race began under the hot desert conditions, the drivers quickly settled into position and the team strategy started to pay off with mainly the bronze drivers carrying the car through pit-stop cycles.
Au drove hard, completing three one-hour stints in the first 12 hours of the endurance race. With his opening stint starting in heavy night traffic, Au found it difficult to get into rhythm and struggled initially with pace. After handing over to teammate Görig and regrouping in the pit, he re-entered the car for two subsequent strong stints which saw him lap the Dubai Autodrome with times competitive with other top bronze-rated drivers and bolster #93’s position among the top cars in class. By the end of Au’s third stint, it was clear that #93 was on target for a podium, running between 1st and 3rd during much of the first 12 hours and having an additional advantage with its fastest silver-rated driver yet to drive.
However as the race passed the halfway mark with team mate Loggie at the wheel, #93 came across a back-marker in the darkness of the night, and the slower car swerved across into Loggie’s path in a high-speed braking zone. The resulting impact caused significant bodywork and floor damage to #93 and necessitated emergency repairs to the rear and floor of the car. Amazingly, the Herberth crew managed to turn the car around in just 22 minutes and when #93 emerged from the pits, still running 5th in class.
With the morning sun starting to rise over the Dubai circuit, #93 kept on fighting back to the podium and halved its lap deficit by early morning. The team’s earnest efforts notwithstanding, with 5 hours to go, an issue developed in the water system and the car underwent another unscheduled stop to rectify the problem. The costly 10 minutes in the pits took the team out of podium contention.
However, the disappointment didn’t stop Au from finishing the event on a high by closing out with his strongest personal stint of the weekend. At the end, the #93 Porsche crossed the line 6th in class and 11th overall out of 52 entries.
Despite the setback and unrealized potential in the team, Au gained crucial experience in the Porsche 911 GT3 R which will prove to be valuable for the upcoming Asian Le Mans Series, kicking off at the Dubai Autodrome in February.
#93 Herberth Porsche 911 GT3 R
P4 [GT3-AM] | 1:58.033
2021 Dubai 24 Hours Race Result
P6 [GT3-AM] / P11 Overall
1:59.841 [Fastest Lap]
Antares Au | Driver #93 Porsche 911 GT3 R
“The 24 hours started with our pace and strategy working to our advantage, and we held a top-3 position in class during the first half of the race. Unfortunately a slower car came into contact with my teammate during the night, costing us a crucial 22 minutes in repairs and our chance of top honors.
While the results didn’t come to us this weekend, I am glad to have delivered strong performance in my race stints. It’s a significant step forward for me, and valuable preparation for the Asian Le Mans season-opener in Dubai next month.
Big thanks to the Herberth Motorsport team and my team mates, as well as the race organizers for organizing a great event despite the pandemic. I had a great time at the event and am already looking forward to returning to the 24 hour next year for another shot at the coveted win.”