Shane Lewis to Make Dubai 24H Debut

American to Start 31st Career 24-Hour Race at Middle East's Premier Event Shane Lewis began his career running open wheel races that lasted 30-minutes. Today, he has become one of the sport's most sought-after endurance specialists being called on to compete all over the world. When the Jupiter, Fla.-resident takes the green flag in the Seventh Edition of the Dunlop 24H of Dubai January 13, Lewis will add his 31st career 24-hour race-start to a resume which already boasts multiple victories. Lewis will join longtime endurance race teammate Vic Rice (San Rafael, CA) as well as Germans Karl Pflanz and Kim Hauschild in the No.125 Hamburg Racing Team (HRT) Aston Martin Vantage GT4. The Middle East's premier endurance touring and grand touring (GT) race marks the debut of Lewis in the event and at the Dubai Autodrome.HRT Aston Martin readied for Shane Lewis and the Dubai 24H. Image courtesy of HRT. While Lewis is new to the Dubai event, the circuit and even the region, he will be well acquainted with two of his three co-drivers. The multiple American Le Mans Series and Rolex Series race winner has teamed with Rice in numerous sports car races for 15 years and joined with Rice and Pflanz to capture victory at the 2010 24 Hours of Nürburgring. The quartet will race in the SP3 class on the 3.35-mile/4.39km, full Formula One circuit of the Dubai Autodrome. The Aston Martin they will share is a Nürburgring 24 (N24) edition of the Vantage GT4 car built by the factory and tuned by HRT for endurance racing. It will be Lewis's first time driving the legendary British marque in competition.In his career, Lewis has piloted every major class of sports car from prototype to touring car in 24-hour races. He has made three starts at the "grandfather" of all endurance races, the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1999, 2000, 2003) leading his class in 2003 and he has 14 starts at North America's only professional 24 hour race, theRolex 24 At Daytona ('97-'02, '04-'11). Lewis has four starts at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring ('04, '05, '10, '11) winning his class in '10 and taking podium finishes in '04 and '11. Other endurance race starts include six Petit Le Mans ('98-'01, '03, '10) and seven 12 Hours of Sebring ('97-'98, '00-'03, '10). As many as 90 entries are expected to take the green flag for the 2:00 p.m. (local) start on Friday, January 13. Currently, of the potential grid of 360 drivers, seven are from the United States including Lewis and Rice as teams and drivers from all over the world are placing the Dubai 24H on their "To-Do" lists for the year. Open testing is scheduled to start on Wednesday, January 11 with the first of two official "free" practices coming on Thursday. Qualifying for all classes takes place at 4:00 p.m. that same day, followed by an SP3 qualifying session at 5:00 p.m. Night practice begins at 6:00 p.m. Cars take to the grid at 1:00 p.m., Friday, January 13. The race will take the checkered flag at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 14. Lewis has raced every major class of sports car in every major international series. In 2011, he captured a podium in the 24 Hours of Nürburgring and a class victory in the Six Hours of Nürburgring.

Shane Lewis Quotes:

About racing in his 31st career 24-hour race: "To be planning my 31st career 24-hour race is pretty amazing and pretty cool. I don't think anyone is more surprised by that than I am. I started out driving open wheel cars. The longest race I ever thought I'd be in would be 500 miles! It was a complete fluke I ever agreed to drive in a 24-hour race. But, the opportunities and then all of the success started coming in endurance racing and now I can't imagine ever wanting to limit myself to just 500 miles. I really love these endurance races. They are so challenging as a driver and that is really what drives me. Being able to hit this milestone at an event as unique and as exciting as the 24 Hour of Dubai makes it even more special. I'll never forget it."About the opportunity to race in the 24H of Dubai: "I am really excited about this chance to race at Dubai. I've raced all over the world but never in the Middle East so that is going to be exciting. The fact that this race has so quickly become one of the major endurance races on the world calendar adds to that. I have great teammates for this race. Vic and I have raced together so many times I have lost count. There aren't many guys out there as quick and as reliable as Vic is and you can't ask for more in a teammate. Vic and I raced together with Karl Pflanz at Nürburgring and had a lot of success and I have heard really good things about Kim Hauschild. HRT is really experienced. They know their stuff and they have put us into one of the hottest rides out there. The Aston Martin Vantage is a legendary car and one of the few makes I have never run. I can't wait to race the car!"About the challenges of Dubai: "The challenges for Dubai are exciting. New car, new circuit, new team and 90 cars on a three-mile lap! HRT is a well-run team with plenty of experience. Michael Budde, the team owner, has been to Dubai recently to look everything over: the track, the pit box, the lighting, everything so we will have a leg-up on that. We'll also have the added benefit of working out of the Team Oryx garage in Abu Dhabi the week before the race. Vic and I are all over YouTube watching lap-after-lap of in-car footage to learn the circuit. The track looks like it has a nice flow. So, with all the cars and the momentum of the lap, working traffic is going to be the biggest deal. If we can stay out of trouble, I think we have a great shot in the Aston Martin."Vic Rice, About the longtime driving relationship with Shane Lewis: "Shane and I have been friends, teammates and sometimes friendly competitors for more than 15 years. It's difficult to quantify exactly why we are so successful together but to use a well-worn cliché, the chemistry just seems to work. For endurance races it's always about finding a comfortable balance for a long run rather than outright single-lap speed. As race car drivers we are obviously competitive by nature but our competition with each other is only to push the other to be the best we can be on a given day at a given track. The 24 Hours of Dubai is becoming a classic. I've had opportunities to go in previous years but not in cars or teams capable of being class winners."

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