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Macau Saturday Notebook
- Updated: November 19, 2016
***Renger van der Zande and Edoardo Mortara were both given a three-place grid penalty for the main FIA GT World Cup race for causing collisions in the qualifying race. Van der Zande had tangled with Nico Müller’s Phoenix Audi R8 LMS at Lisboa on the opening lap, while Mortara punted off Darryl O’Young’s Craft-Bamboo Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R in the battle for twelfth on lap 8. That prompted the stewards of the meeting, with ACCUS director Tim Mayer as the chairman, to impose the penalties as mentioned.
***Following accidents in the qualifying race, both Nico Mueller’s Phoenix Racing Audi and Darryl O’Young’s Craft-Bamboo Porsche have been officially withdrawn from the event as they can’t be repaired on site. The Porsche got damaged in the aforementioned collision with Mortara, while Mueller had crashed the Audi on his own coming out of Mandarin on lap two.
***The sponsor of O’Young’s Porsche, fruit juice brand VLT, has produced a limited-edition package design in three different versions. All three together, lined up next to each other, show the full picture of the yellow-and-black Porsche 911 GT3 R.
***While Edoardo Mortara’s transfer to Mercedes has been announced already, and Macau is his final event for Audi, another Audi driver could have one of his last races for Audi as well. Persistent rumors are circulating in Macau linking Laurens Vanthoor to a works drive with Porsche for next year. Obviously, none of the parties involved were willing to comment. Porsche is to reveal its line-up for next year during its annual ‘Night of Champions’ end-of-season party in Stuttgart on Dec. 3.
***As usual in Macau, locally based scale model manufacturer Spark is present with a sales booth at the circuit. The detailed models of many cars from last year’s Macau GT race are in great demand and various drivers stopped by to sign autographs for fans, not without acquiring some models themselves.
***Like last year, Pirelli is the official tire supplier for the GT race, but now also was commissioned to provide Formula 3 tires at Macau. “We have brought some 2,600 tires for the event and we are on site with about 40 people,” Pirelli’s motorsport manager Matteo Braga said. “Also being involved in Chinese GT, we are setting up a motorsport department in China as well. Obviously, there is a lot of prestige involved in being appointed as the official supplier at Macau.”
***The Macau Grand Prix museum, with a display of cars and motorcycles as well as various memorabilia to document the 62-year history of the event, is set to undergo a major renovation after this year’s event. The plan is for the renovated museum to be opened again in time for the 65th running of the Macau Grand Prix in 2018.
***Ivo Breukers, the driving force behind the 24H Series, is present in Macau, talking to various teams to promote the 2017 championship, which gets underway in less than two months with the annual Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai.
***The FIA GT World Cup at Macau is the first event outside of Europe for German team HCB Rutronic Racing. The team is running a pair of Audi R8 LMS cars for Germans Fabian Plentz and Tommy Tulpe, normally racing in the club-level DMV-GTC series in their native country. “We were here last year for a corporate event from our sponsor Rutronic and we were so fascinated by the Macau GT race that we wanted to have a go at it ourselves,” Plentz explained.
***Various manufacturers have high-ranking motorsport staff members in Macau. Audi’s head of customer racing Chris Reinke is there, just like his opposite number at Porsche, Uwe Brettel. For Mercedes, AMG team principal Ulrich Fritz and head of customer racing Jochen Bitzer are present. Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador Mika Hakkinen is also on site, as is Stefan Winkelmann, who is in charge of Audi subsidiary quattro GmbH.
***Porsche head of motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser and PR representative Oliver Hilger came straight from the launch of their brand’s new 911 RSR at the Los Angeles Motor Show earlier this week. The 911 GT3 R is racing at Macau for the first time.
***The FIA GT World Cup main race is scheduled for 12:55 p.m. local time on Sunday, and is available to watch in several locations, including the FIA website.