Porsche’s presence in the revived FIA GT World Cup in Macau is currently looking “quite good” according to its head of motorsport Thomas Laudenbach, who is expecting a strong turnout of customer teams featuring factory drivers on loan.
The German manufacturer, through its subsidiary Porsche Motorsport Asia-Pacific, is gearing up for what is believed to be its strongest effort in the event’s history, with numerous Porsche 911 GT3 Rs set to be fielded by leading European and Asian GT3 outfits.
After four years away due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FIA announced in June that the race will return to World Cup status.
This came after Macau and neighboring mainland China lifted all COVID-19 restrictions in February, resulting in no mandatory hotel quarantine for foreign travelers.
Last year’s national GT Cup event already saw a slight increase in international drivers, with Maro Engel, Raffaele Marciello and Edoardo Mortara competing in a 16-car field.
The most recent running of the World Cup on the Guia Circuit came in 2019 when Absolute Racing and ROWE Racing each fielded a pair of Type-991.2 Porsches, featuring Porsche factory drivers Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor and Kevin Estre, plus Alexandre Imperatori.
Sportscar365 understands that as many as six Porsches filled with works drivers could be on the grid for the Nov. 16-19 event, including possible efforts from Absolute, Earl Bamber Motorsport and Manthey.
While Laudenbach would not be drawn to specifics, he acknowledged the strong level of interest from its customer teams.
“We follow the same system as always,” he told Sportscar365. “If there are customers that want to race Macau and they approach us through support from drivers, we’re always happy to help arrange that.
“It goes through PMAP (Porsche Motorsport Asia-Pacific) which is a subsidiary of us.
“I’m pleased and happy that many customers will race our cars there. From what I know, it looks quite good for Macau.
“We’ll have our support there, as we always have. I think it would be great to have a lot of cars there. But if you’d ask me how many, I couldn’t tell you.
“I know there is a huge interest right now. That’s what I know from Alex Gibot, who is heading PMAP, but I couldn’t give you a precise figure.
“From PMAP’s side, they’re really on it. For me generally it’s great that Asian motorsport is coming back.
“Mainly China was down to zero. I’m personally very pleased that it’s really gaining momentum again and hopefully even better than before.”
Audi, BMW Also Poised for Strong Macau Presence
Audi Sport customer racing also has “high interest” according to Chris Reinke, who said the German manufacturer has attracted positive signals from customer teams.
“The confirmation of Macau is taken with interest,” Reinke told Sportscar365.
“We as Audi Sport customer racing say we’ve focused on the 24-hour races at Nürburgring and Spa, but at the moment there’s high interest from partners and investors to go to Macau.
“It’s a great opportunity that’s coming up and we’ll have to find how we define the situation and how will support or participate.”
Audi has won the event four times, with Mortara taking consecutive victories from 2011 to 2013.
Laurens Vanthoor delivered the brand’s last and arguably most memorable win when he crashed and flipped, before winning the race on a count-back in 2016.
BMW, which last won the event in 2018 with Augusto Farfus in Charly Lamm’s final race before his retirement and passing, could also have a number of M4 GT3s on the grid according to its motorsport boss Andreas Roos.
“We have quite some interest from teams, from sponsors and so on,” he told Sportscar365. “So now at the moment we put everything together.
“I think we will see some cars there. But how many and how, we are not yet there.
“But there seems to be a lot of interest for it overall because it’s always a nice event and after three years it’s now basically back to normal and this is why it was always a nice event.
“It’s always interesting and so there’s also interest on our side to be part of it.”
By: John Dagys
Title: “Huge Interest” for Macau from Porsche Customer Teams
Sourced From: sportscar365.com/other-series/gt-world-cup/huge-interest-for-macau-from-porsche-customer-teams/
Published Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2023 14:25:18 +0000