"The Martini-Callaway team has done an incredible job," he continued. "We could have won races earlier in the season, but we had problems and incidents that no one noticed. It will be good not to have to worry about the fight tomorrow, especially with [three other teams] fighting over Second Place. So perhaps we'll just watch it from the pit lane!"
He wouldn't get the chance. In Dubai it only rains an average of seven days a year. Friday proved to be one of those days, and the track was flooded in the overnight downpour. The race on Saturday was cancelled, so the Martini-Callaway team spent the extra time touring Dubai, a day trip that culminated with a desert safari. As the sun sank toward the horizon, the team lined up on a sand dune to experience a true "desert gold" Dubai sunset. It was a fitting end to a long and grueling GT3 season.
Dubai is the fastest-growing city in the United Arab Emirates and is located 96 miles from the capital in Abu Dhabi. Connecting the two cities is an expansive four-lane highway that's designed for high-speed driving. Unfortunately, the desert winds often blow large amounts of sand across the road surface. These conditions-paired with the locals' penchant for "enthusiastic" driving-result in frequent serious accidents. Dubai Civil Defence, or DCD, provides emergency services for these incidents, but DCD only has eight stations to serve Dubai's 1.5 million residents.
In July 2008, Brigadier Rashid Thani Al Matroushi, Director of DCD, developed an innovative solution to improving first-responder times. A team of four DCD techs converted an '07 automatic C6 coupe into a unique emergency vehicle. The customized Corvette can get to fires and accidents quickly, allowing its crew to deploy a battery of firefighting systems and rescue equipment.
Modifications to the car include a fireproof bulkhead between the cargo and passenger compartments. Large bottles of foam and water fit into special racks in the cargo bay, along with assorted safety gear. Steel push bumpers mounted on the front and rear allow the Vette to remove disabled vehicles from the road. The DCD says the Corvette has saved many lives by speeding basic medical care to crash victims long before the arrival of an ambulance.
We had an opportunity to inspect this unusual Corvette at the Dubai GT3 race, where it served as a safety vehicle. This is certainly one of the more unusual applications we've seen for our favorite sports car, but it's turned out to be an effective life-saving tool for the people of Dubai.