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Macau Thursday Notebook

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Photo: John Dagys

***A total of 20 cars are set for this weekend’s return of the FIA GT World Cup to Macau, down by one from the provisional entry list that was released last month. The No. 96 Climax Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo was withdrawn after an effort to place Lucas Auer in the car failed to materialize according to Head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Stefan Wendl.

***It has resulted in four Mercedes-AMG factory drivers in the race, including Raffaele Marciello, who is taking part in his final outing with the German manufacturer following an ultra-successful seven-year stint.

***Marciello’s Landgraf Motorsport-prepared Mercedes-AMG is sporting a large ‘Grazie Lello’ graphics on the sides of the Mann Filter-sponsored car, while the Swiss-flagged driver has a special helmet design that includes the names of drivers and teams he’s driven with while at the manufacturer.

***Some of the same crew that were part of Marciello’s first race with Mercedes-AMG, in the 2017 Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia presented by AWS rounds at Sepang International Circuit, are on his team this weekend including lead engineer Alex Zoechling.

***While yet to be announced, it’s widely believed Marciello will make the move to the LMDh ranks next year, most likely as part of Team WRT’s factory BMW program in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

***This weekend’s event, the first GT World Cup in four years at the Guia Circuit, has attracted a number of Macau rookies including Jules Gounon, Sheldon van der Linde, Thomas Preining, Matteo Cairoli and Daniel Serra.

***Serra is driving the sole Ferrari 296 GT3 in the race, as part of a two-car effort from Harmony Racing that includes Silver-rated Weian Chen. A non-German GT3 manufacturer has yet to win the GT World Cup.

***Craft-Bamboo Racing team director Darryl O’Young, who won last weekend’s Greater Bay Area GT Cup race, has welcomed the return of the FIA to the Macau Grand Prix event, noting a greater level of consistency in officiating. The COVID-enforced years saw the a national GT Cup race run by local stewards.

***Ingo Matter, Absolute Racing’s team director, noted a controversial penalty issued to Edoardo Mortara in the 2022 GT Cup race, which was won by Maro Engel. “Last year was should-have, could-have, would-have,” Matter told Sportscar365.

***Porsche teams didn’t go completely blind into FP1, with the German manufacturer able to take data from a single Type-992 Porsche 911 GT3 R that took part in last weekend’s regional GT Cup race according to 911 GT3 R project manager Sebastian Golz.

***Golz told Sportscar365 that Long Beach, one of the only other street circuits that the new-for-2023 model has been to, is “not comparable” to the high-speed nature of the Macau Guia Circuit, therefore resulting in no data crossover.

***Top brass from all five GT3 manufacturers are present this weekend, including head of Audi Sport customer racing Chris Reinke, Mercedes-AMG customer racing boss Stefan Wendl, Ferrari’s global head of endurance Antonello Coletta, BMW M Motorsport director Andreas Roos and Porsche’s Golz.

***SRO Motorsports Group founder and CEO Stephane Ratel is also present in his company’s management role of the GT World Cup event.

***Teams have five sets of Pirelli P Zero DHF slick tires available over the weekend, which consisted of two 30-minute practice sessions on Thursday, a half-hour qualifying session on Friday, a 12-lap Qualification Race on Saturday and the 16-lap World Cup on Sunday. Three sets of wet weather tires are also available, if needed, although appear unlikely.

***The grid for Sunday’s World Cup race will be determined by the finishing order of the Qualification Race.

***Pirelli Motorsport circuit activity manager Matteo Braga said: “The cars tend to run a low downforce setup while the close walls take no prisoners; this requires an extremely precise, reliable, and driveable tire that is capable of adapting itself to a wide variety of circumstances and potential weather conditions.”

***Click Here to download the FIA’s Spotter Guide for the event, featuring all 20 GT3 cars taking part in the action.

***Absolute Racing will continue fielding Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo IIs in multiple series in Asia next year, including Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS according to Matter. It comes despite the winding down of factory support from Germany.

***One of Craft-Bamboo’s Mercedes-AMGs will be sea-freighted to Australia to again take part in February’s Bathurst 12 Hour. O’Young indicated the Hong Kong-flagged team is also exploring a possible bid in the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa but has ruled out contesting the Núrburgring 24, which has been added to the Intercontinental GT Challenge calendar for next year.

***O’Young said that the team is set to establish an outpost in Japan, primarily for activities in the domestic Super Taikyu series. Craft-Bamboo has until now operated its Asian programs exclusively out of its main base at Sepang.

***Friday’s track activity for GT World Cup machinery is a single 30-minute qualifying session, which is scheduled to get underway at 2:05 p.m. local time (1:05 a.m. ET). The session will be streamed live on the FIA’s YouTube page.

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By: John Dagys
Title: Macau Thursday Notebook
Sourced From: sportscar365.com/other-series/gt-world-cup/macau-thursday-notebook-2/
Published Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2023 10:57:02 +0000

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