Bird helps Ciceley deliver victory in 24-hour Dubai race
Max Bird started 2018 in style by helping his Ciceley Motorsport team win the Dubai 24 hours GT A2 class in barnstorming style.
The 17-year-old, who is a student at Fareham College, was part of a four-man team that clinched the category limited up to two-litre engines by more than 30 laps.
Bird had plenty of obstacles to overcome heading into the contest in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The teenager had never raced in a front-wheel drive car, hadn’t previously competed at night nor for more than 20 minutes at a time.
Nevertheless, the Chichester talent, who finished fourth in the Ginetta GT5 Championship last year, adapted seamlessly to the conditions.
Bird was immediately on the pace in the day and night practices and drove four stints of more than one-and-a-half hours each during the race.
Driving a Renault Clio IV Cup car, Ciceley began third on the grid in their class.
But Adam Morgan started in rampant style, which propelled his team into the lead in the first lap – and they never submitted it for the next 24 hours of racing.
Bird was the first change for Ciceley and ensured his outfit retained their advantage throughout.
Each driver was forced to be on their toes out in front, though, with the second-placed car running only two laps behind for large periods.
However, with less than two hours remaining, the second-placed car ran into trouble.
As a result, it allowed Ciceley’s Renault to open up a significant lead and enabled them to make a pit stop with just over an hour to go and change the car’s front brakes as a precautionary measure.
The meticulous preparation of the car by the Ciceley team paid off and it ran faultlessly for the entire race.
In total, the Ciceley team covered 509 laps of the circuit – a total distance of more than 1,700 miles at an average speed of 71mph.
There we more than 90 cars entered in the race, with motors ranging from a Lamborghini Huracan, Mercedes AMG GT3, Porsche 991 GT3 to numerous BMW M4 GT.
Ciceley’s Renault Clio finished 50th in the overall standings.
They were also ahead of some more powerful cars.
Bird will be part of Ciceley’s 12-hour race at Silverstone, which started on March 9.