***Five-time Macau race winner Edoardo Mortara has his last commitment as an Audi works driver at Macau this weekend as he has signed to race for Mercedes-Benz in DTM in 2017. “Although I am looking forward to my new commitment, it is also a bit sad to see the Audi era coming to an end. I am looking back on six fantastic years with Audi,” he told Sportscar365.
***Mortara regrets that the ‘Audi Sport Finale’, the brand’s end-of-season party that had become a good tradition in the past years, has been called off for this year as a part of the company’s cost-cutting measures in the wake of the ‘dieselgate’ emissions row. “It would have been nice to have a proper way to say good-bye to everyone I have been working with for so long,” he said.
***For the second consecutive year, the GT teams are located in the semi-permanent pit box structure at the back side of the Macau paddock, rather than in the dreaded underground car park that still serves as the home base for the other support series during the event.
**Both free practice sessions were red-flagged following crashes. On Thursday, Adderly Fong spun and then crashed his Absolute Racing Bentley Continental GT3. On Friday, it was Richard Lyons who hit the wall on the uphill section between Paiol and Police with his Craft Bamboo Porsche.
***Five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro is present in Macau this weekend as well. The Italian is on duty as a steward for the FIA Formula 3 World Cup, a task he fulfilled several times during the past two seasons in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship.
***Macau regular Renger van der Zande was the tour guide during a bus ride at the circuit from the Macau organizers with the GT World Cup drivers on Tuesday prior to the event. He shared his experience of the track and explained a few details.
***Van der Zande reports to have had “a lot of great feedback” following his announcement as a driver for the Visit Florida Riley Mk. 30 Gibson in the Prototype class of next year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
***ROWE Racing is running the only BMW M6 GT3 in the FIA GT World Cup field, but the entry may be considered as a toe-in-the-water for a larger BMW involvement in years to come. The team’s title sponsor ROWE is a German oil company, which is a direct competitor (albeit much smaller in size) of Shell, BMW Motorsport’s official lubricant partner.
***WRT is pulling double duty at Macau this weekend, running the two works-supported Audi R8 LMS cars for Edoardo Mortara and Laurens Vanthoor in the FIA GT World Cup and the two Volkswagen Golf GTIs for defending champion Stefano Comini and Jean-Karl Vernay under the Leopard Racing Team banner in the TCR touring car series.
***As a contrast to the warm temperatures in Macau this week, the versatile Belgian team will also be back for a second campaign in the French Trophée Andros ice race series with a pair of Audis for three times’ Le Mans winner Benoît Tréluyer and ex-F1 driver Olivier Panis. “For Tréluyer, racing on ice will be a totally new experience,” WRT team principal Vincent Vosse said.
***The Craft Bamboo Racing team members are also rather busy this weekend, looking after the two Porsche 911 GT3 Rs for Richard Lyons and Darryl O’Young in the FIA GT World Cup and the three SEAT Leons for James Nash, Pepe Oriola and Sergey Afanasiev in the TCR series.