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Behind-the-scenes of Theeba Motorsport’s first GTWCE season

October 30, 2023
2023 Season

With the year over – and full focus shifting towards 2024 – Reema Juffali sat down to relive some of the key moments for the team this year.


“You could feel it in the last round, that everything was coming together nicely.”


Theeba Motorsport’s second year of competition – and the first in the GT World Challenge Europe – was one that featured a wide of emotion and opposition, of trials and some success, but also of growth.


Eight circuits – some of the very best within Europe – were raced at in 2023, across grids of over 50 entries. At the marquee event – the Spa 24 Hours – the grid hit a whopping 70 cars. Many of these teams were among the most decorated and experienced around within GT Racing. It was a true test for Theeba coming into the year.


There were changes on the driving front. Joining Reema was Ralf Aron – former single-seater star – and Alain Valente – who had heaps of sports car experience to count upon. As Reema explains, building that early relationship was key going forward. “At the first test, we were already getting on well outside of the car,” she explains. “It is important that everyone isreally on the same page, and it wasn’t hard to get to that agreement early on and in understanding how every driver’s feedback differs, what suits them and what doesn't. We really worked together to find what it was that we needed from the car. It was quite helpful that everyone really felt comfortable.”


Theeba was joined by two additional drivers through the year– Yannick Mettler for Spa, while Mercedes-AMG factory driver Fabian Schiller joined the team for the Sprint Cup rounds later in the season.


“All of the drivers contributed in a different way. It was just nice to see how we can come together and see what we really need as a team to take that next step. Each driver comes in with their feedback and their approach, which is always good experience.”


Unquestionably the biggest highlight of the year came in the second race at Valencia – where the team secured a historic podium – but some of the foundations for that came slightly earlier in the season, as Reema explains.


In that second race in Spain, the emotion, the euphoria, and some confusion was there on full display in the garage. Reema had completed her part of the race – taking the start and brilliantly navigating two Safety Car restarts to keep the #81 firmly in contention for when Fabian took over…


“At the time even from when in after my stint, I came in placed in the top six. So by the time when Fabi was out there, he was able to already make some positions up. And then thankfully with the late Safety Car, we had another opportunity and he drove so well, just taking every opportunity he could.


“You could just tell that this was something that the team, really that we all needed. We needed just to have that positive result that we really did deserve that we missed in many other races. It was definitely an emotional, happy moment. But this this really did give us a boost. We needed to succeed for the team, and they all deserved it for the hard work they've put in.”


To achieve such a result against such strong opposition was an enormous moment for the team, and the effort that had been put in was rewarded in one of the best ways. “It definitely goes without saying that is a very competitive championship to drive in,” as Reema explains. “There are diverse teams, those that have much more experience than I do, and that our team does.”


Reema expanded on the experience gained this year, how the team has grown and evolved over the last 12 months, and what that in turn means for the team as 2024 approaches.


“Overall, there was a really nice growth in the team, and you could feel it in the last round, that everything was coming together nicely. Unfortunately, we didn't have the results to show it throughout the season, but I know from where I'm standing, we definitely improved. We've made some changes that have been very positive. That's something good to see, especially given the level of competition and environment of racing that we're in.”


Finally, Reema’s off-track ambitions are an important focus for the team in 2024.


“The reason why I started the team was really to build the grassroots and a foundation or a motorsport training programme for Saudi Arabians. Whether it's in schools, whether it's on-track, this is something I'm working on at the moment in wintertime here. So that's something I hope that by next year, we can say that ‘okay, we've come along, we've started that process, and we're in action’. So I think that's something I'm excited for and that was a really was a main reason why I started this team. So it's an exciting time for the team and for me.”




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