The highly anticipated Bahrain Motorsport Festival, taking place November 17 to 19 at Bahrain International Circuit, will include the season-opening rounds of its two supporting championships.

Kick starting their 2016/2017 campaigns as part of the festival’s packed racing programme are the regionally popular one-make series, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, and the India-based single-seater championship, the MRF Challenge.

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In the Porsche GT3 Cup, top names from across the region and beyond will be battling it out in identical Porsche GT3 Cup cars. Reigning champion Jeffrey Schmidt from Switzerland will be back to defend his crown. Among those expected to challenge him for his title are former champions Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal of Saudi Arabia, and Zaid Ashkanani from Kuwait.

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge

Other top names in the series are Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum and Saeed Al Mehairi of the UAE, Prince Saud Al Faisal of Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain’s talented youngster His Highness Shaikh Isa bin Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

The season-opener will be the first of three race weekends in the new season scheduled to be held in Bahrain. Round five will be back in Sakhir in March of next year, to be followed by the season-finale in April in support of the Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.

BIC will also be staging a pre-season test this November 12 and 13.

Aside from Sakhir, the championship will be visiting other top GCC tracks such as Dubai Autodrome for rounds two and three in December and January, and Yas Marina Circuit for round four in February.

Meanwhile, the MRF Challenge boasts plenty of young talent from around the world. Among them are Brazilian-American Pietro Fittipaldi, who is the grandson of two-time Formula 1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi and Briton Harrison Newey, son of Formula 1 design guru Adrian Newey. Frenchman Giuliano Alessi, Belgian Sam Dejonghe, Australian Dylan Young, Russian Nerses Isakyaan, and Indian Tarun Reddy are some of the others in the fray.

The MRF Challenge
The MRF Challenge

There are also a number of lady racers, including Britons Alice Powell, Laura Tillett and Jessica Hawkins and Colombian Tatiana Calderon.

The field will be competing in one of Asia’s fastest racing cars, the MRF F2000, which has been redesigned for the new season. The car is powered by a two-litre Mountune Duratec engine with a max power of 250bhp.

Bahrain is the first of four rounds in the MRF’s 2016/2017 campaign.

Round two will be held in Dubai in December, round three in New Delhi and the season finale in Chennai in February.

The Bahrain Motorsport Festival will be headlined by the FIA World Endurance Championship’s (WEC) Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain and the CIK-FIA Karting World Championship and CIK-FIA Karting Junior World Championship.

It is a first-of-its-kind meeting organised by BIC.

Off the track, there will be plenty of attractions for the whole family with the Action-Ha entertainment programme. It will include a variety of shows, a car exhibition, a drift show, a series of live concerts on each night and so much more.

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