Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Qatar have seen growth in cross-country type events in recent years and the national federations of each of those countries have joined forces with like-minded clubs in Bahrain and Oman to create the new series.
The Gulf Challenge was the brainchild of Ben Sulayem, who has the full backing and support of H.R.H. Prince Sultan Bin Bandar Al-Faisal, President of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, QMMF President Abdulrahman Al-Mannai, Oman Automobile Association President Jamal Altai, Bahrain Motor Federation President Sheikh Abdullah bin Essa Al-Khalifa and Sheikh Ali Al-Fawaz Al-Sabah, Chairman of the Board of Basel Al-Sabah Motor Sports Club.
Following on from the success of the UAE Baja Championship, which is now in its third year and regularly attracts around 100 entries, the Gulf Challenge has been devised to be open for various car, motorcycle and quad classes. Separate championships will be run for each discipline.
With the exception of the introduction of Formula One and MotoGP races to the region, this is the largest motor sporting development in the Gulf since the creation of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship in 1984. The Gulf Challenge has been devised with costs in mind for younger competitors, but it will still provide a superb feeder system for regional competitors wanting to tackle FIA events, both internationally and in the region.
Cars running in the FIA T1, T2 and T3 categories will be eligible and two local categories will be developed for T1L (modified cars) and T2L (standard cars that are not FIA homologated but comply with T2 regulations). There will also be a couple of Buggy categories (B1 and B2).
Motorcycles will compete for the overall championship and there will be classes for 450, Over 450, Masters, Marathon and Quads.
A committee will be headed by Bakhashab along with one representative from each of the GCC countries, although each round will be hosted and managed by its own federation. Time keeping, marketing and the collective management of each event will be handled by the six founding authorities and local technical and medical officers will be appointed. 
The championship prize giving will be determined by a draw each year to select the host venue.

2017 Gulf Challenge – provisional calendar
  • Oman --  September 7/8
  • UAE -- October 5/6
  • Kuwait -- October 26/27
  • Saudi Arabia -- November 9/10
  • Qatar -- December 7/8 
*Bahrain will enter in Year 2 or 3