Ahmad Al Harthy

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Ahmad Al Harthy
Nationality  Omani
Born (1981-08-31) 31 August 1981 (age 33)
Muscat, Oman
2014 British GT Championship
Debut season 2013
Current team Oman Air Motorbase
Wins 0
Poles 0
Fastest laps 0
Previous series

2013
201112
2011–12
2011
201012
2009–10
2007–09
2007
2006
British GT Championship
Blancpain Endurance Series
Porsche Supercup
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East
Porsche Carrera Cup France
Porsche Carrera Cup GB
Supercars Middle East Championship
Formula Renault BARC
British Formula Renault Winter Series
Thunder Arabia Middle Eastern Series
Championship titles
2012 Porsche Carrera Cup GB – Pro/Am 1

Ahmad Al Harthy (born 31 August 1981 in Muscat, Oman) is Oman's top racing driver and one of the Middle Eastern Sultanate's leading international sportsmen. He is the 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain Pro-Am 1 Champion.

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Although dabbling with karting at the age of seven, following a visit with his older brother to his local kart track in Oman, it wasn't until Al Harthy reached his early 20s that he was able to set-out on the path to a career in motorsport.

His first car racing experience came in 2006 in the Bahrain based Thunder Arabia Championship where he broke new ground as the first Omani born driver to compete in single-seater (or formula) racing. Finishing the season as Vice-Champion with two race wins and 10 podiums from 14 races, Al Harthy sought a fresh challenge for the following year and decided to pit himself against the best competition in Britain in the Formula Renault BARC Championship.[1]

Formula Renault BARC[edit]

Joining the Hillspeed team at the start of 2007, Al Harthy went on to enjoy a successful three year stint with the squad. Improving steadily throughout his first season, in which he achieved his debut Formula Renault podiums in the end-of-year Winter Championship, he became a consistent front-runner in 2008. Concluding his second season in the category fifth overall, Al Harthy secured three podium finishes along the way and also qualified on pole position twice.

His final year of Formula Renault BARC action culminated very impressively and he finished the season Vice-Champion with six podiums to his credit and two fastest race laps.[2] As it later transpired, the 2009 championship would be his last in single-seater racing before switching his attention to the world of sportscar competition.

During 2009 though, Al Harthy also made his debut in the Chevrolet Supercars Middle East Championship in the headline SC09 Class where he piloted a Chevrolet Lumina during the Formula One Grand Prix support race at Sakhir in Bahrain. He achieved one podium finish from the two races contested.

Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship[edit]

For the 2010 motor racing season, Al Harthy chose to move into the ultra-competitive world of sportscar racing by signing to race for the Redline Racing team in the Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain Championship – a support category to the UK's biggest motor racing series, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.[3] Easily the most high profile year of action of his career at that point, Al Harthy adapted quickly to the new discipline and became a regular podium contender in the Pro-Am 1 Class of the prestigious championship.

Making six visits to the rostrum over the course of the season, he ended the year fourth overall in the Pro-Am 1 Class driver standings and 11th overall in the main championship. Increasing his profile massively throughout the year, Al Harthy's success achieved notable exposure for his strong portfolio of homegrown sponsors.[4]

One of Al Harthy's personal highlights of 2010 was his involvement in the Porsche Carrera Cup France support event to the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans Race. Becoming the first Omani to ever compete at the world famous Circuit de la Sarthe, his participation was also notable for a further reason – the Porsche race marked the 40th anniversary of the marque's first 24 Hours of Le Mans victory and this coincided with the 40th anniversary of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s reign in Oman.

Al Harthy also made selected appearances in the Chevrolet Supercars ME Championship once again but several mechanical problems blunted his charge.

In 2011 Al Harthy returned to the Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain Championship but prior to the start of the season he made headlines and history on the streets of his home city of Muscat by conducting passenger rides in a Porsche 911 GT3 race car. The carefully arranged event ran in conjunction with the support of the Royal Oman Police and the Oman Automobile Association.

Enjoying a highly successful year, Al Harthy once again competed with Redline Racing but with the team entry branded as the Oman Air Racing Team in deference to title sponsor Oman Air. His highly prestigious portfolio of commercial backers also included the Oman Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Sports Affairs, the National Bank of Oman and Nawras.

Finishing his second season in the championship third overall in the Pro-Am 1 Class, Al Harthy took two wins and a total of 12 podiums. The championship included a visit to the notorious Nürburgring-Nordschleife and the Omani also made an outing in Porsche Carrera Cup France while also debuting in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at Silverstone.

In November 2011, Al Harthy competed in the burgeoning Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East. From six races contested he chalked-up a tally of three podiums including a sensational lights-to-flag victory during the FIA Formula One World Championship support race at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.[5] He also had the opportunity to compete in the UAE GT Championship where he won on his debut, driving a Porsche 911 GT3, partnering James Sutton.

On 21 February 2012 at a press conference in Muscat, Oman, Al Harthy announced his continued participation in Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain for a third successive year. Retaining Oman Air as his title sponsor, the Oman Air Racing Team was once again fielded by Redline Racing. From the outset, Al Harthy was one of the favourites to win the Pro-Am 1 title and he did so in style after a remarkably successful season. Winning 12 races and taking a total of 17 Pro-Am 1 podiums from the 20 races contested, he also secured a string of fastest laps and class pole positions.[6] Al Harthy also made his second career appearance in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in 2012 during the FIA Formula One World Championship British Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone. An unfortunate puncture resulted in retirement.

British GT Championship and Blancpain Endurance Series[edit]

In March 2013, Al Harthy and chief sponsor Oman Air announced a move from 'sprint' racing into 'endurance' competition after confirming a deal to graduate into the Avon Tyres British GT Championship with the Motorbase Performance team.[7]Partnered by reigning British GT Champion Michael Caine, the duo ran under the Oman Air Motorbase banner in a Porsche 997 GT3-R. Al Harthy went on to end his maiden endurance racing campaign an impressive fifth in the championship - he and Caine claimed two race victories along the way, round five at Snetterton Motor Racing Circuit and round eight at Circuit Park Zandvoort in the Netherlands.[8]

Al Harthy also had the opportunity in 2013 to dovetail his British GT season with a campaign in the pan-European Blancpain Endurance Series, also at the wheel of a Porsche 997 GT3-R but with the Slovakian ARC Bratislava squad in the GTR Class. Partnering team owner Miro Konopka, and running with headline sponsorship from the National Bank of Oman, Al Harthy achieved one class victory during the five-round season at Silverstone Circuit in June.[9]

Al Harthy remained with Motorbase Performance for the 2014 season, now racing an Aston Martin Vantage GT3 alongside Michael Caine in the British GT Championship and with Caine and Stephen Jelley in the Blancpain Endurance Series.[10]

Racing record[edit]

Complete Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position – 1 point awarded all races) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap – 1 point awarded all races)

Year Team Car Class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 DC Pts
2010 Redline Racing Porsche 997 GT3 PA1 THR
1

9
THR
2

10
ROC
1

10
ROC
2

9
BRH
1

14
BRH
2

10
OUL
1

10
OUL
2

6
CRO
1

Ret
CRO
2

9
SNE
1

12
SNE
2

Ret
SIL
1

10
SIL
2

9
KNO
1

11
KNO
2

12
DON
1

10
DON
2

11
BRH
1

10
BRH
2

12
11th 106
2011 Redline Racing Porsche 997 GT3 PA1 BRH
1

9
BRH
2

20
DON
1

6
DON
2

9
THR
1

12
THR
2

12
OUL
1

7
OUL
2

8
NÜR
Ret1
SNE
1

18
SNE
2

18
KNO
1

11
KNO
2

12
ROC
1

Ret
ROC
2

9
BRH
1

7
BRH
2

9
SIL
1

10
SIL
2

8
10th 95
2012 Redline Racing Porsche 997 GT3 PA1 BRH
1

10
BRH
2

11
DON
1

5
DON
2

7
THR
1

6
THR
2

7
OUL
1

10
OUL
2

9
CRO
1

7
CRO
2

8
SNE
1

Ret
SNE
2

9
KNO
1

6
KNO
2

4
ROC
1

Ret
ROC
2

7
SIL
1

9
SIL
2

8
BRH
1

10
BRH
2

Ret
8th 143
  1. ^ – Part of Porsche Carrera World Cup race.

Complete Porsche Supercup results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 DC Points
2011 Porsche Cars Great Britain TUR ESP MON GER GBR
Ret
GER HUN BEL ITA UAE1 UAE2 NC† 0†
2012 Redline Racing BHR1 BHR2 ESP1 MON ESP2 GBR
Ret
GER HUN1 HUN2 BEL ITA NC† 0†

† Guest driver – Not eligible for points.

Complete British GT Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Car Class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 DC Points
2013 Oman Air Motorbase Porsche 997 GT3-R GT3 OUL
1

4
OUL
2

9
ROC
1

6
SIL
1

8
SNE
1

1
SNE
2

8
BRH
1

7
ZAN
1

1
ZAN
2

9
DON
1

12
5th 97
2014 Oman Racing Team Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 GT3 OUL
1

1
OUL
2

7
ROC
1

10
SIL
1

1
SNE
1

8
SNE
2

12
SPA
1

2
SPA
2

10
BRH
1

2
DON
1

4
2nd 138

* Season in progress.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Business Today January 2008 Business Today
  2. ^ The Grid October 2009 The Grid
  3. ^ Porsche Carrera Cup GB Website March 2010 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Website
  4. ^ Oman Daily Observer October 2010 Oman Daily Observer
  5. ^ The National November 2011 The National (Abu Dhabi)
  6. ^ The Checkered Flag October 2012 The Checkered Flag
  7. ^ Daily Sportscar March 2013 Daily Sportscar
  8. ^ Total 911 The Porsche Magazine September 2013 Total 911
  9. ^ Circuit Pro Digital June 2013 Circuit Pro Digital
  10. ^ "News 2014: Motorbase Performance confirms new GT line up". Motorbase Performance. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 

External links[edit]