Ye Hongli Wins Macau GT Cup
TORO Racing driver Ye Hongli won the GT Cup element of last weekend’s Macau Grand Prix, delivering Mercedes-AMG’s fifth victory at the renowned street race in seven years.
Ye started the main contest from pole position after qualifying race winner Darryl O’Young was given a 30-second penalty for not maintaining a suitable width between cars during the start procedure.
This dropped O’Young to 11th on the grid for Sunday’s headline encounter and paved the way for new pole-sitter Ye to command proceedings from pole position.
Ye kept the lead at the start and continued out front after a first-lap safety car for a Lotus spinning into the left-side barriers coming out of Turn 1.
The TORO Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo never lost its lead after that, with Ye holding off Marchy Lee’s X Works Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo over the next few laps until a red flag was brought out after Yao Liangbo’s AMG stopped on the racing line after a barrier strike.
This neutralization enabled Ye to pick up the win, ahead of Lee in second and TSRT Audi driver Weian Chen who had been managing a slow puncture throughout the race.
O’Young was actually running third at the time of the red flag after squeezing past Chen at Lisboa corner, but the results were backdated to the start of the lap they were on.
O’Young’s impressive recovery charge started with the former Macau winner taking four places on lap one before gaining a further two positions on the first lap after the restart.
Both he and Chen then filtered past TORO Racing’s Min Heng at Lisboa with four racing laps remaining, turning their duel into the battle for the final podium spot.
The highest-finishing GT4 car was Brian Lee’s Mercedes-AMG GT4 in 13th overall.
This year’s Macau GT Cup was the first since 2014 to be run without the FIA GT World Cup moniker. The event’s global element was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Other Weekend Action
***Shaun Thong, Yuuki Nemoto and Daisuke Yamakawi triumphed in round four of the Super Taikyu season held at Motegi. The HIRIX Good Day Racing trio won the five-hour race in their Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo. D’station Racing’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3 started from pole but was forced to retire after damage sustained in an accident on lap three. Electrical issues for the DENSO Lexus RC F GT3 and a drive-through penalty for the MP Racing Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 all aided Good Day Racing’s run to victory. Results
***FFSA French GT held its title-deciding round at Paul Ricard. Father-son duo Olivier and Aurelien Panis won the first race in a Gazoo Racing-backed CMR Toyota GR Supra GT4, while Nicolas Gomar and Mike Parisy controlled Race 2 in their AGS Events Aston Martin Vantage GT4. Despite retiring from the second encounter with a punctured radiator following contact with another car, Audi duo Gregory Guilvert and Fabien Michal clinched their third consecutive Pro-Am drivers’ title. Results
***Silver Cup season honors went to Ricardo van der Ende and Benjamin Lessennes, while Cesar Gazeau and Wilfried Cazalbon won the Am Cup title.
***The Greater Bay Area GT Cup, held as part of the Macau GP weekend, was won by David Pun Kwan Lum in a Mercedes-AMG GT4 run by Team TRC. Chang Chien Shang was second in an MP Racing KTM X-Bow GT4, ahead of three competitors in Ginetta G55s.
***Ford Motor Company CEO Jim Farley won Sunday’s SVRA race at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The 58-year-old, who was appointed to the chief executive position on Oct. 1, raced his British Racing Green-colored 1978 Lola T298.
News & Notes
***Maro Engel will make his World Rally Championship debut next weekend. The GT3 ace is set to drive a Skoda Fabia R5 Evo in the Rally Monza event, receiving pace notes from seven-time WRC podium finisher Ilka Minor. The car will be prepared by WRC2 teams’ champion Toksport WRT, which ran Engel and Luca Stolz in ADAC GT Masters this year.
***Engel also recently helped Mercedes to claim a new series production car record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, with a Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series running on Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires. Engel’s lap time of 6:43:616 registered on Nov. 4 broke the previous record set by Marco Mapelli in a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ by 1.36 seconds.
***Lamborghini has named Bugatti president Stephan Winkelmann as its new president and CEO. Winkelmann, who is maintaining his role with Bugatti, takes over from Stefano Domenicali who is replacing Chase Carey as Formula 1 CEO from the 2021 season.
***Aaron Jeansonne won the Mazda MX-5 Cup shootout to earn a scholarship to compete in the series next season. Jeansonne beat eight other contenders to the top prize valued at $110,000 US, while Chris Nunes and Savanna Little each earned scholarships worth $75,000.
***The second season of the GT4 South European Series starts on Dec. 12-13 with a pair of races at Jerez. The competition will conclude with a round at Portimao on Jan. 23-24.
***The new TC France series is set to support the Total 24 Hours of Spa next year. The provisional six-round calendar includes a date on the same Jul. 29-Aug. 1 weekend as Spa, while the rest of the schedule supports the FFSA French GT Championship.
***Creventic, the Dubai Sports Council, the Emirates Motorsport Organization and Dubai Autodrome have reconfirmed that the 16th running of the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai will take place as planned on Jan. 14-16.
***SRO Motorsports Group founder and CEO Stephane Ratel has purchased an Audi R8 LMS GT2. “Ias very happy to see Audi become one of the first manufacturers to launch a GT2 model and, after taking the opportunity to test drive the car, I was convinced to purchase one myself,” he said.
On this weekend: Super GT (Fuji)
John Dagys contributed to this report.