Five racers to keep you on track feature at 2016 Macau Grand Prix

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 November, 2016, 10:27pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 November, 2016, 10:33pm

This Macau Grand Prix from November 17-20 reveals several fast cars that could switch your marque loyalty, or tempt you on to the track as a team owner or driver. The following five cars are packed with the latest racing technology, and marques’ track backup.

Rowe Racing could bring out the best of BMW on the 6.2km Guia Circuit. Nick Catsburg of the Netherlands debuts the stunning BMW M6 GT3 in the Macau Grand Prix’s 18-lap FIA GT World Cup, at 12.55pm on November 20. The 586-horsepower racer has a 4.4-litre V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology linked to a six-speed sequential racing transmission, and won July’s 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. It looks powerful, yet weighs less than 1,300kg, and shows how the marque’s BMW Motorsports unit “placed great importance on [the car’s] efficiency and ease of maintenance, as well as reliability, which is particularly crucial at the 24-hour classics”, BMW says.

The 379,000 racer’s cabin has a colour display with an optional logger function; an illuminated control panel; and fire-extinguishing system and motorsport wiring harness with various free sockets. Catsburg’s Aussie teammate Ricky Capo will drive a BMW Z4 GT3.

Look out too for a pair of Mercedes-AMG GT3s in the same race. One is driven by FIA GT World Cup champion Maro Engel of Germany; the other by Renger van der Zande of the Netherlands, and both represent the Mercedes-AMG Driving Academy Macau. The beautiful Mercedes-AMG GT3 has an AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine and its six-speed sequential racing gearbox is mounted across the rear axle to improve weight distribution,” Mercedes-Benz says, “as is the case in the standard GT”.

The Mercedes-AMG GT3 reportedly costs about 372,000 and seems built for gentlemen drivers as well as professionals, especially with a paddle shift that the carmaker says “allows drivers of all skill levels to build up confidence in the car very quickly”.

The car’s safety features include a roof escape-and-rescue hatch; a light, rigid aluminium spaceframe; a high-tensile steel roll-over cage; and carbon-fibre seatpan, aerofoil and other bodywork components. The two GT3s also introduce the AMG Customer Sport division, which offers racing teams technology, expertise, manpower, and can even provide trackside parts and AMG Driver Pool drivers.

Also in the same race, look out for Craft Bamboo Racing’s Darryl O’Young in arguably the world’s brightest Porsche 911 GT3 R. The four-litre, six-cylinder Boxer racer, one of five Porsche 911 GT3 Rs in the race, weighs 1,220kg, thanks to a lightweight body “featuring intelligent aluminium-steel composite” and thrusts 500hp via a six-speed constant-mesh, sequential gearbox and a carbon motorsport clutch. The 911 is also fitted with power-assisted steering with an electrohydraulic pressure feed; a pneumatically activated paddle shift; an FT3 safety fuel cell and a six-point safety harness.

Macau 2000 Grand Prix winner Andre Couto and Italian Mirko Bortolotti are each scheduled to drive a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 for the Pescara-based FFF Racing team. The 1,230kg, rear-wheel-drive racer has a hybrid chassis of aluminium and carbon fibre, carbon composite body panels and a manually adjustable rear wing on 18-inch wheels. Its 5.2-litre direct-injection V10 engine vrooms via a Hör six-speed sequential transmission. Its steering wheel is a mass of buttons for the control of 13 electronic systems, from the 10-position Bosch Motorsport ABS system to radio communications, light flashers, a drink system; and traction-control electronics that adjust the car’s road grip and amount of tyre wear. The Lamborghini Huracan GT3’s safety features include a carbon fibre shell; an OMP fire-extinguishing system with seven nozzles; and a roof rescue hatch.

Finally, Audi races its 585hp, 5.2-litre, Audi R8 LMS (369,000) driven by Edoardo Mortara. This 585hp halo car is distributed in Asia by Audi Sport customer racing Hong Kong, which also supports teams in the region’s major series with spare parts, cars and drivers. The Four Rings also introduces Macau to the 300hp Touring Car Racing (TCR) version of the RS 3 LMS, which hits 100km/h in about 4.5 seconds and tops at about 240km/h. Its driver protection includes a safety cell, fuel tank seat, and a roof rescue hatch.

This racy car was developed for the emerging TCR series that has already held support races at FIA Formula One and 24 Hours of Nürburgring events. It is also an “attractive opportunity to get started in fascinating Audi racing”, according to Audi Sport managing director Stephan Winkelmann.The TCR market is ideal for that as it has “even larger potential than that of the GT3 category”, says Chris Reinke, head of Audi Sport customer racing.

“In 2016, there were 10 TCR series with races in 18 countries, and more series are being added. With the TCR version of the RS 3, we’re also reaching countries where no GT3 races are held. The costs for a TCR race car are very low.” Prices online range from 129,000 plus VAT for the TCR version with a sequential six-speed racing transmission, and 99,000 for a club sport version. Deliveries are expected to start in December.

Meanwhile, muscular TCR versions of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Honda Civic, Citroën Elysée, SEAT León SEQ, and Alfa Romeo Giulietta will race in the Suncity Group Macau Guia Race 2.0T, at 10am until noon on November 20. Look out too for the Maserati Quattroporte Medical Car (HK$1.4 million). The 350hp, three-litre V6 tonnes in 5.5 seconds and tops at 270km/h – just what the doctor ordered.