Mercedes-AMG out to regain FIA GT3 World Cup title in Macau.
Four Mercedes-AMG GT3 will go in pursuit of the title at the 6.1-kilometre Guia Circuit in the Chinese metropolis of Macau.
Following victory in 2015 and third place last year, the goal for the 2017 FIA GT World Cup in Macau is clear: to bring the GT3 title back to Affalterbach. As such, Mercedes-AMG is travelling with a strong contingent of drivers and teams: from 16 to 19 November, four Mercedes-AMG GT3 will go in pursuit of the title at the 6.1-kilometre Guia Circuit in the Chinese metropolis of Macau. The cockpits will be occupied by four top-class drivers, in the form of Maro Engel (GER), Daniel Juncadella (ESP), Edoardo Mortara (ITA) and Raffaele Marciello (ITA). Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing and Mercedes-AMG Team Driving Academy will each run two cars. The two teams will also receive comprehensive support from HWA AG. As a special highlight, one of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 will sport a special livery, designed by American rock band Linkin Park.
When the third edition of the FIA GT World Cup – the 64th Macau Grand Prix – gets underway in Macau this year, two of the four Mercedes-AMG GT3 on the starting grid will be run by GruppeM Racing. The Chinese team travels to Macau on the back of some outstanding performances in the Blancpain GT Series Asia, and recently won both the Driver and Team championships in the first season of the Asian racing series. The team will receive strategic and technical support from HWA AG. Mercedes-AMG driver Maro Engel is looking to repeat the victory he claimed in 2015 and will drive a Mercedes-AMG GT3 with a special Linkin Park design. Raffaele Marciello will be at the wheel of the team’s second car. The 22-year-old enjoyed success in this year’s Blancpain GT Series – both in Europe for the AKKA ASP team and in Asia for GruppeM Racing. Marciello was particularly impressive in the 24-hour race in Spa, where he produced an outstanding performance: after spending a total of 14 hours out on the track, he was rewarded with second place overall at the marathon classic.
The second team at the World Cup weekend will also be supported by HWA. Mercedes-AMG Team Driving Academy has been extremely successful in recent years in Macau, and also has its sights set firmly on the title. The two cars will be driven by Mercedes-AMG DTM driver Edoardo Mortara and Mercedes-AMG DTM test driver Daniel Juncadella. Mortara boasts a very impressive record at the Macau Grand Prix, with two wins in Formula 3 (2009, 2010) and three GT3 victories (2011, 2012, 2013). Juncadella is also familiar with the street circuit: he won the Formula 3 Grand Prix here in 2011.
After a curious final race last year, with few laps completed, a winner who ended up on his roof, and third place for Maro Engel, the 2017 Macau Grand Prix once again promises to provide a fitting climax to the GT3 season. The prestigious showdown in the Chinese metropolis will once again feature the world’s finest GT3 racers, as the top drivers and teams take to the track in qualifying (Friday, 17.11., 16:25 local time), the qualifying race (Saturday, 18.11., 12:25 local time) and the main race (Sunday, 18.11., 12:10 local time) to claim the coveted title, which is awarded by the International Automobile Federation FIA.
Mercedes-AMG has shown in recent years why it is always among the favourites to take victory: in 2015, Maro Engel was crowned world champion in an SLS AMG GT3, while fourth place for Renger van der Zande (NED) also ensured that Mercedes-AMG won the Manufacturer title. Engel had previously won the Macau Grand Prix in 2014.
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing: “I am really looking forward to racing in Macau again, and to driving the Mercedes-AMG GT3 at this unique street circuit. This is one of the absolute highlights on my racing calendar. It is the FIA GT3 World Cup – that is all you need to know. The opposition is top-class and everyone is really motivated. However, we also have a very strong team and a car that has what it takes to win. We will do our utmost to bring the title back to Affalterbach.”
Edoardo Mortara, Mercedes-AMG Team Driving Academy: “It is a world championship in GT3 racing. That alone makes it a very important and prestigious race. I feel very comfortable in Macau and have been very successful there in the past. I have claimed a number of pole positions and victories in both Formula 3 and GT3 racing. My major goal is now to win for Mercedes-AMG.”
Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “It will definitely be difficult to bring the GT3 World Cup title back to Affalterbach. The manufacturers send their best GT3 teams and drivers to Macau. Furthermore, the format of the event and the tricky circuit, which offers few overtaking opportunities, allow no room for mistakes. You have to be perfectly set-up in qualifying, in order to come away with a win in the end. We will once again line up with a very strong overall package, with Maro, Edoardo, Daniel and Raffaele, as well as the GruppeM Racing team and the Driving Academy team. I am looking forward to this final highlight of the international GT3 season.”