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Macau Sunday Notebook

Rene de Boer’s Sunday notebook from the FIA GT World Cup at Macau…

Photo: Rene de Boer/Rebocar

***Many GT teams had to put in night shifts to repair the damage after the pile-up on the opening lap of yesterday’s qualification race. “We worked until 6.30 am. When we left to go for a shower and a shave, the first people from other teams already started coming in again,” a mechanic of the HBR Rutronik Audi team said.

***A car from the Audi R8 LMS Cup that was on display in the nearby Fisherman’s Wharf exhibition area was brought to the paddock. Initially, German team Aust Motorsport sought to purchase the chassis to enter it as a replacement car for its driver Markus Pommer, but eventually, it was decided to take the various parts off the car and use these to build up the cars for Nico Müller and Robin Frijns at WRT and Lucas di Grassi at HBR Rutronik Racing.

***From the Audi camp, Aust Motorsport’s Markus Pommer and HBR Rutronik’s Fabian Plentz are non-starters in today’s main race. Felix Rosenqvist’s Ferrari has also been damaged beyond repair, depriving the Swede of the chance of adding a Macau GT win to his pair of Formula 3 victories. Porsche’s Laurens Vanthoor is ruled out from today’s race, too, as is Lamborghini driver Mirko Bortolotti due to a lack of spare parts. The ROWE team mechanics worked flat out, but couldn’t get Tom Blomqvist’s BMW repaired in time, so he is also not competing.

***Felix Rosenqvist’s Ferrari 488 GT3 run by Scuderia Corsa is the first entry by an American team in the FIA GT World Cup. “Felix was looking for an opportunity and as I am doing some work with Giaccomo Mattioli’s team, I brought the two of them together,” Stefan Johansson explains the background of the deal.

***Augusto Farfus’s BMW M6 GT3, that remained undamaged and came second in yesterday’s qualification race, is the 18th car in BMW’s famous ‘Art Car’ collection. It would normally have been the 19th as the car designed by John Baldessari that raced in this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona was presented earlier, but as 18 is a lucky number in Chinese, the designing artist, Chinese Cao Fei, asked for her ‘Art Car’ to be number 18. Cao Fei was present for the weekend in Macau.

***From the outside, the car just looks black, but the art effect can be seen by means of augmented reality while using a special mobile phone app. To enhance the effect, the number of stickers on the car was reduced to a minimum.

***FIA GT World Cup media delegate John Smailes recently published a book together with Australian motor racing legend Alan Moffat as the latter’s autobiography. Entitled ‘Climbing the Mountain’, it currently is the best-selling sports book in Australia. Best known for his Supercar achievements, Moffat also won the 1975 Sebring 12 Hours with BMW and raced at Le Mans twice. He also won the 1980 Australian Sports Car Championship with a Porsche 934 run by Australian Porsche importer Alan Hamilton.

***Audi’s Lucas di Grassi, Ferrari driver Felix Rosenqvist and  Mercedes-AMG drivers Maro Engel and Edoardo Mortara and will be back in the region within two weeks to race in the FIA Formula E 2017/2018 season opener on the streets of Hong Kong.

***Next year, the Macau Grand Prix will be having its 65th running and the Grand Prix Museum will be reopened after an extensive renovation.

***Stephane Ratel, whose eponymous organisation SRO is a partner of the FIA GT World Cup, was present in Macau, as was Benjamin Franassovici, championship director of the Blancpain GT Asia Series.

***Next Friday, a party to celebrate the 25th anniversary under the banner of SRO will be held in Paris.

***Many high-ranking motorsport managers from the various manufacturers represented in the FIA GT World Cup were present in Macau, among them Audi’s head of customer racing Chris Reinke, BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt and head of customer sports Jonas Krauss, Honda’s William de Braeckeleer and Mercedes-AMG DTM Team supremo Ulrich Fritz and Mercedes-AMG’s head of customer racing, Stefan Wendl.

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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