Shanghai. Porsche will field a powerful line-up of manufacturer and customer entries for the world’s most important GT3 race – the FIA GT World Cup – at the 63rd Macau Grand Prix from November 17-20.
The five Porsche 911 GT3 R (Type 991) cars entered represent one of the marque’s strongest challenges yet on Macau’s legendary-yet-unforgiving 6.2km Guia street circuit.
On the hunt for the FIA GT World Cup Driver and Manufacturer titles is official Porsche factory entry Manthey Racing. Porsche factory driver and 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Earl Bamber of New Zealand is joined on the team by Frenchman Kévin Estre. While Bamber and Estre are contesting the FIA GT World Cup for the second consecutive year, 2016 marks the Guia Circuit debut of the hugely successful Manthey Racing, the team which made a clean sweep of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship GT category, winning the manufacturer, driver and team titles.
Joining the Porsche family for the prestigious Macau weekend are Porsche China customer entries from Craft Bamboo Racing, which enters Darryl O’Young, winner of the first-ever Macau GT Cup in 2008, and Briton Richard Lyons; GruppeM Racing with Philip Ma, a former Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Class B champion; and Modena Motorsports with Porsche Carrera Cup Asia regular John Shen, who will race a Porsche 911 GT3 R (Type 997).
This season Bamber, himself a two-time Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion and former Porsche Mobil1 Supercup champion, and Estre both campaigned in the IMSA Sportscar Championship in the United States, the New Zealand star finishing fourth in the GTLM class. Both drivers were also teammates at Manthey Racing at this year’s 24 Hours of Nürburgring in a Porsche 911 GT3 R. Earlier this month, Bamber rejoined the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia family for the 2016 season finale in Shanghai, winning Round 11 from pole position.
Bamber has previously found success on the Guia Circuit, winning the Porsche 911 50th Anniversary Carrera Cup Asia race in 2013.
Two-time Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion and former FIA World Touring Car Championship driver O’Young is a three-time winner on Macau’s Guia Circuit, having celebrated victory with the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in 2005 and 2007 before taking the inaugural Macau GT Cup victory a year later in a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup. With a fifth-place finish in last year’s GT World Cup, O’Young is on the hunt for a fourth Guia Circuit victory.
“To win in Macau requires a perfect weekend. I’m very familiar with the Porsche having taken three wins in Macau with the car. It has taken some time for me and Craft-Bamboo Racing to get to grips with the new Porsche GT3 R this season, but we are confident we have made major progress in both speed and consistency. The Porsche has always been strong in Macau, and I’m confident it can deliver again this year, but the competition is strong and the [different] manufacturers are all working hard to win this race – it won’t be easy for anyone.”
Long-time Porsche Carrera Cup Asia driver Shen is set to make history in the Macau GT Cup this year by becoming the only driver to compete in all nine races since it began in 2008. Said Shen, who has been racing GT cars at Macau since 2005: “Over the last three years, more professional drivers have raced in the Macau GT Cup, but I think the diversity of also having good gentlemen drivers brings a lot of excitement to the paddock. Being a part of the history of the Macau GT Cup means a lot to me, and the excitement of the races plus the intense circuit atmosphere is fantastic.”
Ma is also no stranger to the Guia Circuit, competing for several years in the Macau GT Cup, the Guia Race for touring cars and the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Macau rounds as well as in last year’s GT World Cup. The former Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Class B champion races with GruppeM Racing this year.
The strong Porsche entry for the Macau show-stopper illustrates the close link between its factory and customer racing programmes, with privateers sharing the track with sportscar legends. Commented Porsche China Motorsport Manager Alexandre Gibot: “We are delighted to have such a strong entry for the FIA GT World Cup, and for our Porsche China customer racing drivers to be supporting our factory entry in the most important GT race of the year, the FIA GT World Cup.”
Following its debut, the Macau GT Cup has, in less than a decade, grown to become one of the most popular sportscar races on the annual motorsport calendar and a must-race for the world’s leading GT drivers and manufacturers. Elevated to FIA world cup status in 2015, this year marks the second second edition of the FIA GT World Cup.
Following a single 30-minute practice session on Thursday, November 17 is Friday’s all-important 30-minute qualifying session to set the grid for Saturday’s 12-lap Qualification Race. The result of the Qualification Race will determine the starting order for Sunday’s 18-lap FIA GT World Cup.
Macau GT Cup – FIA GT Cup
- John SHEN / CAN / Modena Motorsports / Porsche 911 GT3 R (997)
- Richard LYONS / GBR / Craft Bamboo Racing / Porsche 911 GT3 R (991)
- Philip MA / HKG / GruppeM Racing / Porsche 911 GT3 R (991)
- Darryl O’YOUNG / HKG / Craft Bamboo Racing / Porsche 911 GT3 R (991)
- Earl BAMBER* / NZL / Manthey Racing / Porsche 911 GT3 R (991)
- Kévin ESTRE* / FRA / Manthey Racing / Porsche 911 GT3 R (991)
* Manufacturer Entry