Brewers to sponsor Guia trio
DEFENDING Guia champion Charles Kwan and two of the more established stars from the British Touring Car Championship, Joachim Winkelhock and Steve Soper, will be racing under an entirely new banner at this month's Macau Grand Prix.
Hong Kong brewery kings San Miguel have become the latest to join the sponsorship band-wagon, cutting a multi-million deal to sponsor the three drivers in the Guia race.
They have swiftly taken over the sponsorship reserved for Watson's Water after the local company decided to abandon the competition again - the second time in three years they have pulled out of the race.
Watson's came back from a two-year self-imposed exile by competing in the Guia race last year but they did not enjoy the same success as in previous years.
Watson's, the most successful team in Macau with victories in the Guia and the Formula Three race, had signed some of the best saloon drivers in the world including Italian ace Emanuele Pirro.
But they all had to play second fiddle to Hong Kong driver Kwan, who won three races in Macau including the prestigious Guia race.
Kwan became the single most successful driver in the history of the Grand Prix after his wins in the Guia, the Macau Cup and the Mandarina Duck Super Car Race in his BMW M3.
It's the first time San Miguel will be involved in the November 19 and 20 Macau Grand Prix, which is celebrating its 41st year of racing, although a spokesman from the brewery firm insists their involvement is not a one-off venture.
'We are looking for more long-term involvement in the Macau Grand Prix. We'll evaluate the whole situation after this year's race,' said the spokesman.
Watson's had talks with the famous BMW Motorsport Schnitzer racing team of which Winkelhock, the reigning British Touring Car champion, is a member of but had decided not to continue their sponsorship.
Sources said they had no validity to take on a regional sponsorship especially as the Guia race has now become the second leg of the prestigious Asia-Pacific Touring Car Championship.
The sixth and final leg is scheduled for Madras, India on December 18.