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FIA GT World Cup

Macau Friday Notebook

Rene de Boer’s Friday notebook from Macau…

Photo: Rene de Boer/Rebocar

***Drivers from all the four headline series in Macau (GTs, Formula 3, World Touring Cars, and motorcycles) participated in a media event that centered around a soccer penalty shootout competition in the widely-named Olympic stadium (Macau never hosted any Olympic competition). The GT drivers had the highest score and Swiss Nico Müller, the only of the ten drivers who didn’t score a goal, was presented with the trophy.

***The FIA GT World Cup field in Macau includes no less than eight former Macau winners across touring cars, GTs and F3: Audi’s Lucas di Grassi (F3 in 2005), BMW’s Augusto Farfus (FIA WTCC in 2005 and 2009), Ferrari novice Felix Rosenqvist (F3 in 2014 and 2015), Mercedes-AMG drivers Maro Engel (GT in 2014 and 2015), Edoardo Mortara (F3 in 2010, GT in 2011, 2012 and 2013) and Daniel Juncadella and Porsche’s Darryl O’Young (GT in 2009) and Laurens Vanthoor (GT in 2016).

***A limited edition scale model of Laurens Vanthoor’s Macau-winning Audi R8 LMS ‘upside down’ car was the best-seller at the sales booth of locally-based model car brand Spark. “The idea was too good not to do it,” Spark owner Hugo Rippert, an avid amateur racer himself, said. “I am sure this will be a sought-after collectors’ item.”

***Vanthoor’s No. 911 Craft Bamboo Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R is sporting a “this side up” graphic, in a joke to the Belgian’s high-flying adventures in the race last year, while in WRT’s Audi.

***The official manufacturer of the ‘Macau Grand Prix Collection’, Spark has released many beautifully detailed scale models of other cars from the previous year’s races in Macau, some of them previously unseen anywhere else.

***Mercedes driver Engel and BMW’s Farfus came straight from Japan, where they participated in demonstration runs with DTM cars during last weekend’s Japanese Super GT season finale at Motegi. The DTM drivers, that also included ex-Super GT driver and Audi LMP1 racer Loïc Duval, drove their cars at the front of the Japanse Super GT field during the formation lap for the race.

***The plan is for DTM and Super GT to have identical technical regulations from 2019 onwards.

***The FIA GT World Cup marks the first competitive outing of the NSX GT3 under the Honda banner, the car having run as an Acura in IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge competition in the U.S. “With our participation here in Macau, we want to showcase the car to European and Asian teams,” said Alessandro Mariani on behalf of Honda’s development partner JAS.

***Audi Sport Team WRT team principal Vincent Vosse made a quick detour to Japan on his way from Belgium to Macau. “We have a co-operation with a Japanese Super GT team that runs an Audi in the GT300 class which we want to intensify for next year, so we talked about that,” Vosse said.

***German Markus Pommer had a heart-stopping moment in second free practice when he spun his Aust Motorsport Audi R8 LMS 360 degrees coming out of the high-speed Mandarin corner, but with amazing car control and the necessary bit of luck, he managed to keep his car out of the barriers.

René de Boer (@renedeboer) is a German-based motorsports journalist, contributing to a variety of publications worldwide, including Autosport.nl, Autosport Japan and Motorsport aktuell.

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