Five former Macau race winners and a current Le Mans champion headline the entry list for the inaugural FIA GT World Cup at the Guia Circuit on Nov. 19-22.
Reigning 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Earl Bamber heads the list of entries in LKM Racing’s Porsche 911 997 GT3-R.
The list of former Macau champions is headed by current lap record holder and two-time Grand Prix Champion Edoardo Mortara in an Audi R8 LMS, as well as 2000 Grand Prix winner Andre Couto in a McLaren 650S GT3.
Past Macau GT Cup winners entered include German Maro Engel (Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3), Darryl O’Young (Aston Martin Vantage GT3) from Hong Kong, and Japan’s Keita Sawa (Bentley Continental GT3).
Five manufacturers have entered the inaugural FIA GT World Cup, with Aston Martin, Audi, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche all bidding to become the first champion over the Macau Grand Prix weekend next month.
The 24-car field boasts seven different marques (including privateers – who will not be eligible for manufacturer points) and an all-star cast of drivers, which will establish the FIA GT World Cup as a premier event on the GT racing calendar.
Bamber, who partnered Formula 1 driver Nico Hülkenberg and Nick Tandy to victory at Le Mans in June, will drive the 911 GT3-R of two-time Macau GT Cup winner, LKM Racing.
The second Porsche entry comes from Arrow Racing and features Bamber’s countryman Chris van de Drift, who currently leads the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship.
The third and final manufacturer-entered Porsche is for Belgian Dylan Derdaele in the 911 of Gulf Racing JP.
Mortara, a two-time winner of the FIA Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup and three-time victor in the Macau GT Cup, will again fly the flag for Audi on the challenging 6.2km Guia Circuit.
He will drive for Audi Sport Team Phoenix, one of the German manufacturer’s leading teams and a winner of the Nurburgring 24 Hours with the V10-powered R8 GT3 racer in 2012 and ‘14.
He will be joined at Audi, provisionally, by Laurens Vanthoor and Kong Kong driver Marchy Lee.
Belgian Vanthoor drives for Audi Sport Team WRT, with whom he has notched up 18 major race victories over the past four seasons, while Macau regular Lee competes with the Audi Hong Kong squad.
André Couto, a regular at Macau in F3, touring cars and GT machinery over the past 20 years, has joined McLaren’s roster for the FIA GT World Cup.
The Macau driver will pilot a McLaren 650S GT3 for the FFF Racing Team; the GT Asia Series squad will field a further two cars for factory driver Alvaro Parente and Japanese Super Formula driver William Buller.
Darryl O’Young, winner of the first Macau GT Cup in 2008, leads the Aston Martin roster. He will drive one of the three Aston Martin V12 Vantages entered by Craft-Bamboo Racing – his Aston Martin team mates will be named at a later date.
Mercedes-Benz has entered two cars; 30-year-old Engel, who raced in the German DTM touring car series in 2008-11, drives a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG bearing car Number 1, the number held as a result of his victory in last year’s Macau GT Cup.
The German will be paired at the Mercedes AMG Driving Academy team with another former DTM driver, Renger van der Zande.
Absolute Racing is fielding a further two cars that will not be eligible to score manufacturers’ points. They are both Audi R8s for Macau regulars Philip Ma and Jeffrey Lee from Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei respectively.
Keita Sawa, winner of the Macau GT Cup in 2009 and 10, will race one of three cars entered by Bentley Absolute Racing; he will be joined by two Hong Kong drivers in Adderly Fong, who has been part of the Lotus F1 team’s development program this season, and Jacky Yeung.
Three Ferrari 458 Italias are entered – two from AF Corse, the Italian manufacturers’ representative in the FIA World Endurance Championship; and one from Asian Clearwater Racing.
Thai driver Pasin Lathouras, a regular in GT3 competition in Europe, races one of the AF cars and China’s Xu Liu the other. Clearwater’s entry is to be raced by Sun Weng Mok from Singapore.
The event will be made up of a Qualification race of 12 laps or 45 minutes (whichever comes first) on Saturday, November 21, and the main event lasting 18 laps or 60 minutes on Sunday, November 22.
The top two cars from each registered manufacturer will accrue points and the marque with the most points will win the first FIA GT World Cup crown.