Avila has high hopes for exciting new Porsche
Macanese driver Rodolfo Avila can't wait to compete in one of the world's sleekest factory-built cars in his backyard next weekend.
The 24-year-old will drive the 2012 version of the mighty Porsche 911 GT3 R, which will make its international racing debut at the Macau GT Cup. Delivering 500 horse power - 50 more than its 2011 version - the dream machine features a number of improvements that are sure to make Avila's rivals green with envy.
The 2012 model's advances include paddle-shifts in the steering wheel to ensure gear changes are even quicker and simpler, allowing the driver to focus on braking.
In addition, the gearing of the sequential six-speed, dog-type gearbox has been adapted to the higher maximum output.
The transmission electronics - featuring an automatic throttle blip control - make it almost impossible to miss a gear, while a softer anti-roll bar on the front axle reduces understeer. In short, combining excellent handling and awesome power might give Avila the edge this time around.
Porsche believe they have found a safe pair of hands in Team Jebsen and Avila with which to make the 2012 car's racing debut. The 911 GT3 R does not come cheap though, costing Euro304,500 (HK3.24 million) plus applicable taxes.
'It is a tremendous privilege to debut this incredible car,' Avila said. 'Being my home race, the Macau Grand Prix is the highlight of my racing season, and it makes me proud that Porsche and Team Jebsen have placed so much trust in me. I fully intend to repay that trust.'
Last month, Avila, who joined Team Jebsen last year, missed lifting the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship by just two points to Japanese ace Keita Sawa of LKM Racing Team.
The 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 R has been flown out from Porsche Motorsport in Germany, and a factory engineer will join forces with regular Team Jebsen engineer Sven Schnabl to prepare for the 12-lap race.
'I expect the exceptional handling of the Porsche 911 GT3 R to suit the Guia Circuit perfectly, and I'm looking forward to taking it through its paces and testing the limits during practice,' said Avila.
'The Guia circuit is famous for its combination of tight turns and long, fast straights, so both agile handling and raw power are needed. Particularly at the back of the circuit where there is a rapid succession of high-speed, left- and right-handers and you can shave several tenths of a second off a lap if you're quick through there.
'With the limited overtaking opportunities on the Guia circuit, it is going to be vital to find the limits during the practice session. Pole position at Macau is probably a bigger advantage than at any circuit I have raced on, so a huge amount rests on our qualifying performance.'
However, Avila and his team will face stiff opposition from the likes of two-time Formula Three Macau Grand Prix champion Edoardo Mortara in a factory Audi, and Le Mans winner and Macau regular Danny Watts, who will debut in the new McLaren MP4 with GR Asia.
'We have a great package - a strong team, my local knowledge of the Guia circuit, and a truly awesome racing car,' said Avila.
The racing season in which Avila ended fourth overall in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia series and won the best rookie award