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ENGEL: Title Chasing on Three Continents

Maro Engel files his latest Sportscar365 column heading into a busy month of November…

Photo: Gruppe C Photography/Mercedes-AMG

The last time I checked in was just before the GT World Challenge finals and Blancpain GT Series finals. Well what can I say, we definitely had hoped for a different outcome.

Finishing second in GT World Challenge Europe on equal points, second in the Blancpain GT Series Overall and third in the Blancpain Endurance Series is certainly nothing to be ashamed of, but as racers we clearly wanted to win.

Nonetheless, congratulations to our competitors who put together an incredibly strong season.

Even though we missed out on winning a Blancpain title I am extremely proud of what the whole team achieved.

It was the first year in the sprint series for the team and I know how hard the entire team worked to face this challenge adding to an already full calendar of endurance races. They gave us a car that was always capable of challenging for wins and podiums week in week out!

Photo: Gruppe C Photography/Mercedes-AMG

Clearly as a team it’s safe to say we “lost” the championships at our home race at the Nürburgring, and if we were to go back today we would all do something a little different.

But at the end of the day it’s sport and these things happen. We accepted it, we learned from it and we will come back and put or best foot forward again. That is the nature of competing.

As I’m writing this I’m just starting what is going to be a busy month of traveling in November, particularly as there is one of the absolute highlights coming up with the FIA GT World Cup in Macau.

I think it’s no secret that I absolutely love Macau and everything that goes with this amazing race every year on the third weekend of November.

Photo: Mercedes-AMG

Many people ask what is so special about Macau, about this race. Mostly I say you just have to come and see for yourself there is no place like it. But I will try to give a little more insight into what makes it so special in my eyes.

First and foremost the track is crazy fast with high speed corners and very wide down at the bottom where it’s flat out or close to flat followed by crazy tight twisty and windy, up and down hill section in sectors two and three followed by two final really tough 90 degree corners in the last sector.

Secondly is the atmosphere. The entire city lives and breathes the Macau Grand Prix, the enthusiasm and the amount of fans once again makes this to one of the best races in the world.

Thirdly, the surroundings. There is something special racing through the streets in the middle of these huge casinos and high rise buildings.

As for the race itself it will be filled with the best GT drivers, teams and manufacturers once again.

Even if the grid at 17 cars is not as big as it used to be since the change in regulations, the level at the front will undoubtedly be incredibly high once again.

After five podiums in a row, my last win being in 2015 and finishing third in 2017 and second in 2018 I would quite like to keep that trend of going one better going and get back to the top step!

Photo: Mercedes-AMG

Different to other years, Macau will not mark our last race of the year, the following weekend we will be in Kyalami for the final race of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, which should be another epic race.

Speaking to Kelvin van der Linde, Jordan Pepper and the other South African guys there is huge anticipation in SA for the first big international motor race in a long time and so I think we could be in for a really amazing event and lots of enthusiastic fans.

I certainly hope it will turn out that way!

I have been out of the IGTC title fight myself pretty early with our DNF in Bathurst but in Kyalami I will partner up with Maxi Buhk and Raffaele Marciello once again.

And as Maxi is leading the drivers championship and Mercedes-AMG leads the Manufacturer standings, the aim is clear to come back home with both titles!

Maro Engel (@MaroEngel) is a Mercedes-AMG GT3 driver and brand ambassador, former FIA GT World Cup champion, 2016 Nürburgring 24 winner and reigning Blancpain GT Endurance Cup champion, racing in the Intercontinental GT Challenge and Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup for the German Manufacturer.

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