There will be four Porsche 911 GT3 R on the starting line of the world’s toughest street race, the FIA GT World Cup in Macau (China) from 15 to 18 November. The Manthey-Racing team will be fielding two of the vehicles to be driven by Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor. Two more cars will be prepared by customer team Craft Bamboo Racing, for Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet (France) and Chinese local hero Darryl O’Young.
The 6.115 km Guia Circuit, located in the former Portuguese colony of Macau, is considered one of the most difficult street circuits in the world. The track’s long straights, fast bends, and spectacular sections, such as the Lisboa Bend, are renowned far beyond China’s borders. As another example of the complexities of this circuit, which in some places is just seven metres wide, a strict ban has been put in place on any overtaking in the ‘Melco Hairpin’ during all the training sessions and races. Car and motorbike races have been held on the streets of Macau since 1954, and the FIA GT World Cup has been a fixed item on the agenda of the Macau Grand Prix weekend since 2015.
The Porsche drivers at the FIA GT World Cup
Factory driver Laurens Vanthoor is aiming for his second victory at the GT World Cup behind the wheel of the #911 Porsche 911 GT3 R with Bamber in the #912 car. Vanthoor won the 2016 race in spectacular fashion, when shortly before the finish line, he slid into the crash barrier, flipped his car and crossed the line on its roof, taking first place. Mathieu Jaminet (in his Macau debut) will be driving the #991 Craft Bamboo Porsche 911 GT3 R while Hong Kong Chinese driver Darryl O’Young will be in the #55 sister car in his home race.
Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser (Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars): “I believe that we have a score to settle at Macau. We should have won the race in 2016, but that’s not how things turned out. And although it was one of our current factory drivers that won, at that time he was still working with a different marque. This time, Porsche should be head of the field. Macau is a race like none other on earth. The circuit is an extraordinary mix: there’s a permanent ban on overtaking in the slowest passage, where drivers navigate a hairpin bend at 40 km/h, but elsewhere they travel through a barrier-lined channel at 260 km/h. I’m extremely excited.”
Sebastian Golz (Porsche 911 GT3 R Project Manager): “The street circuit is one of the most unforgiving racetracks in the world. Inside the narrow, barrier-lined channel, drivers have to use every centimetre to optimise the bend radius. And the undulating asphalt demands a soft balance and drivers need to find a good compromise between a certain ease and precise steering. Drifting onto a bump or making even a slight driving error generally takes the vehicle directly to the barriers – which results in an accident. We are well equipped with our Porsche 911 GT3 R and skilled drivers. I’m optimistic that we’ll be up there at the front.”
Laurens Vanthoor (#911): “It’s going to be exciting. We’ve been working hard on preparations for Macau, and it’s been really successful so far. However, on this track things often turn out differently from how you expect them to. I’m certain that we will be among the head of the field with our Porsche 911 GT3 R.”
Earl Bamber (#912): “It’s going to be a lot of fun! I can hardly wait to finally drive in Macau again – it’s one of my absolute favourite races. Two years ago, we had a car there with perfect set-up, and I hope that we will be very competitive again.”
Mathieu Jaminet (#991): “I’m excited because I’ve never been to Macau. I’m going to study on-board recordings and data in depth – hopefully I will be able to get an impression of the route that way. It’ll be difficult for a rookie like me, but it’s an amazing challenge. I’m already familiar with the Craft Bamboo Racing team from my race in Suzuka, so along with the Porsche 911 GT3 R, there’ll be at least two known variables among the many unknowns in this tricky reckoning. It’s going to be exciting, and hard work.”
Darryl O’Young (#55): “I’m so happy that I’ll be joining the starting line in Macau in the Craft Bamboo Racing Porsche. It’s a home race for me, and I always want to give an especially great performance in those. All of my previous wins on this particular route have been in a Porsche, so I have great hopes that perhaps I will gain my fourth success in Macau. I had some bad luck last year when I became unable to make much adjustment because of slicks on a wet section in the final phase – but that shouldn’t be an issue this year.”
The weekend schedule – 2018 FIA GT World Cup
|Saturday, 17 November||Qualifying||05h05 GMT (13h05 local time)|
|Sunday, 18 November||Race||04h25 GMT (12h25 local time)|
Edited by: Glen Smale
Images by: Porsche Motorsport