WTCR AND GT WORLD CUP: DOUBLE THRILLS FOR TEAM WRT AT MAGIC MACAU

WTCR AND GT WORLD CUP: DOUBLE THRILLS FOR TEAM WRT AT MAGIC MACAU

13/11/2019

Every mid-November, international motorsports gathers at Macau for one the most emblematic, exciting and traditional events of the racing calendar. The fast and treacherous 6.2 km Circuit da Guia in the streets of the former Portuguese colony may be dimmed as anachronistic, it still holds all its magic and its meaning. The yearly event launched in the 50s by European expats in South Eastern Asia hosts four history-rich races: the F.3 Grand Prix, the Bikes GP, the Guia Race for touring cars (today part of the FIA WTCR) and the GT race, now elevated to FIA GT World Cup status.

As from last year, Team WRT is participating in two of those races, the FIA WTCR round and the FIA GT World Cup, which it won in 2016. The Belgian squad returns this year to the Chinese town fully determined to shine and take more glory in this crucial double commitment.


FIA WTCR

The FIA WTCR is back to Macau, the most prestigious event in its calendar, although this time the stop in the Chinese autonomous region won’t be the closing event of the season and the one that decides the title, as it used to be until last year, having left that honour to Sepang for 2019.


This, of course, doesn’t take any glimpse of prestige to this unique event, which remains one of the most challenging and exciting ones in the motorsports calendar. The ninth round of the FIA WTCR will follow the traditional Macau format, with free practice starting on Thursday. The longer (11 laps) Race 3 on Sunday will be the one dubbed with the prestigious ‘Guia Race’ label, which traces back to 1961.

Virtually cut out of the title battles after a season rich in ups and downs, the Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport will be completely free to aim at race wins. The Audi RS 3 LMS have always performed well on the fast straights that are a key part of the Macau track, as proven by Jean-Karl Vernay’s win in Race 1 last year, in the first visit of the FIA WTCR to the peninsula.

Both the Frenchman and Gordon Shedden, as well as the entire team, are completely determined to do well at Macau and confident that the much lower compensation weight that the Audi cars will have with respect to their rivals can play in their favour.

Jean-Karl Vernay: “We go to Macau to win and make the best use of the low compensation weight we have for this round. Macau is my favourite track of the entire season, I have always done well there, winning in F.3, taking pole and one win last year. As we know, Macau is never easy, we will have to stay calm, qualify well and be intelligent in the races, but we know that there we can make it. It would be nice to get a high close to the end of the season and we are still fighting for being the best Audi, and maybe even the best VW Group car in the championship.”

Gordon Shedden: “Macau is one of the most iconic circuits in the world, always delivering unbelievable racing and lots of action. Touring cars in the middle of the walls on the streets of Macau make an incredible spectacle, and I can’t wait to start!”


FIA GT World Cup

For the fifth consecutive year, Macau will host the FIA GT World Cup, which takes place on a single event basis and includes a Qualifying race and a Main race. Team WRT has done well on the Guia Circuit in GT, with Laurens Vanthoor clinching a memorable ‘upside down’ win in 2016, and René Rast and Robin Frijns claiming runner-up honours in 2015 and 2017, respectively.

The Belgian squad will be following two Audi R8 LMS this year. The first one, under the colours of Audi Sport Team WRT, will be entrusted to Dries Vanthoor, who is on his second appearance at Macau after a positive debut last year. The young Belgian will also have the pleasure of family competition, something that does not happen too often recently, as his elder brother Laurens takes part to the event with a Porsche.

The other car, fielded by Team WRT and sporting a special black-and-gold livery will be in the hands of Charles Weerts, with the 19-year-old making his debut in the prestigious event.


Dries Vanthoor:
“It’s back to the streets of Macau. Last year was not easy for us, we had some issues, but hopefully we will have a better run this time. Things look much better, we have prepared ourselves very well, and we come with some specific things for Macau. We look forward to the weekend and let’s see how it goes. There it is important to have a smooth build-up, make no mistakes and avoid the walls during the sessions and make sure your car is in one piece after qualifying!”

Charles Weerts: “It’s my first time in Macau and I am ready to face an event, a track and an atmosphere that it is not comparable to any other, as I have been told by everybody! I prepared doing a lot of simulator work, I think we did a good job but I know that reality will still surprise me. On Wednesday, we will do track exploration on a van and also walking to which ever extent this will be possible, because of traffic and absence of sidewalks in some sections, and then we’ll cross-check everything again with the data we have. Thursday, the serious things will start. I don’t set specific objectives to myself, this year is for building experience, so the goal will be to bring back the car after every session, do as best as I can and also enjoy this very special weekend.”


FIA WTCR - Round 9

Macau, 14-17 November 2019

Timetable (CET +7)

Thursday 14 November 2019
09:00-09:45 Free Practice 1

13:40-14:10 Free Practice 2

Friday 15 November 2019
08:50-09:30 Qualifying for R1
13:35-14:05 Qualifying 1/2/3
Saturday 16 November 2019

14:55-15:20 Race 1 (8 laps)
Sunday 17 October 2019

08:45-09:10 Race 2 (8 laps)
11:25-11:55 Race 3 (11 laps)

Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport entries (Audi RS 3 LMS)
#52 Gordon Shedden (GB)
#69 Jean-Karl Vernay (FR)


FIA GT World Cup
Macau, 14-17 November 2019

Timetable (CET +7)

Thursday 14 November 2019
12:35-13:05 Free Practice 1

Friday 15 November 2019
12:30-13:00 Free Practice 2

16:10-16:40 Qualifying
Saturday 16 November 2019

13:05-14:05 Qualifying Race 1 (12 laps)
Sunday 17 October 2019

12:25-13:40 Main Race 2 (18 laps)

Audi Sport Team WRT (Audi R8 LMS)
#25 Dries Vanthoor (B)

Team WRT (Audi R8 LMS)
#10 Charles Weerts (B)

PHOTO: Audi Sport

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