Legendary city street race in Asia with seven Audi GT3 sports cars
DTM drivers Edoardo Mortara and Nico Müller in eager anticipation
Four Audi teams with seven drivers on the grid
Audi Sport customer racing will be competing against three other manufacturers in the streets of Macau from November 17 to 20, aiming to bring the most prestigious crown in GT3 racing, the FIA GT World Cup title, home to Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm with the Audi R8 LMS.
Three times in succession – from 2011 to 2013 – Edoardo Mortara has decided the Macau GT Cup in his favor with Audi to date. However, the race on the legendary track in the tradition-steeped Chinese metropolis has only enjoyed FIA GT World Cup status since last year. The city street circuit features a 250-km/h turn as well as some hairpins.
The track being narrow throughout requires special handling of the race cars. On two previous occasions, Mortara, as a race driver for the Group, had decided the Formula 3 Grand Prix in Macau. The Italian will leave Audi at the end of the year.
“Obviously, I’m going to give my all once again in my last race for Audi to say goodbye with a victory,” says the current DTM vice-champion. In Audi Sport Team WRT, the 29-year-old pro will be on the grid in car number 7.
The sister car, number 8, will be driven by Laurens Vanthoor. The 25-year-old Belgian has won three international GT Championships and four 24-hour races in the Audi R8 LMS. He is familiar with the 6.12-kilometer circuit from his Formula 3 days as well and competed in the GT race there two years ago too.
Audi DTM driver Nico Müller, on the other hand, will be breaking new ground and is practicing the track in the simulator. “In Macau, the world’s best GT campaigners are pitted against each other. There are many Macau specialists and I’ll be racing there for the first time, which is a pretty stiff challenge,” says the Swiss.
However, having won a DTM race at the Norisring this year, he has proven how fast he is on city street circuits. The 24-year-old pro is going to compete for the German Phoenix Racing team. His teammate, contesting the event under Audi Hong Kong’s entry, is Marchy Lee. He became the champion of the first Audi R8 LMS Cup season in 2012 and is intimately familiar with the circuit through the street canyons from several races he has contested in the Audi R8 LMS.
Three other campaigners are completing the customer teams’ line-ups. Absolute Racing is fielding the race car driven by the Chinese Cheng Congfu. Team HCB Rutronik Racing is contesting the event with Tommy Tulpe and Fabian Plentz.
“With this mix of pros and amateurs we have a broad base and are well-positioned in Macau,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “Each of the four brands has to nominate two cars for the manufacturers’ classification. In our case, it’s the two Audi R8 LMS cars of Edoardo Mortara and Laurens Vanthoor. Having just barely missed victory in both races by a few seconds in second place last year, we’re determined to win this year.”
Two free practice and a qualifying session will be followed by a 12-lap qualifying race on Saturday, November 19. A day later will see the showdown, the winner of the 18-lap race claiming the FIA GT World Cup title.