Porsche completes FIA Macau GT World Cup with four top-10 finishers and Silver class victory
The most represented marque on the grid, Porsche’s seven Porsche 911 GT3 R (Type 992), run by five teams local to the region, found themselves struggling from the beginning for straight-line speed on the iconic Guia Circuit, making overtaking extremely difficult and limiting their performance.
In a hectic qualifying session that saw the GT3 lap record smashed on multiple occasions, TORO Racing’s Laurens Vanthoor managed to take a strong fourth place, with Earl Bamber also in the top-10, claiming ninth for D2 Racing Team.
Saturday’s Qualification Race highlighted the marque’s top speed difficulties, with Vanthoor falling to seventh and Bamber to 10th. However, the drivers fought back during Sunday’s 16-lap event, as Vanthoor moved up to sixth, while Luanzhou International Circuit’s Alessio Picariello impressively gained three positions to finish eighth in his Absolute Racing-run #15 car.
Bamber followed Picariello through to claim ninth, with 2022 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion Leo Ye rounding out the top-10 and claiming the Silver class victory. The Chinese driver edged out Absolute Racing’s Matteo Cairoli, who put in an excellent performance, making up eight positions to take 11th, while Kévin Estre was close behind for HubAuto Racing, in 12th. Finally, after limited practice on his first visit to Macau, Thomas Preining finished 15th in the other HubAuto Racing entry.
Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Motorsport Porsche AG: “It’s great to have the FIA GT World Cup back after a few years away and personally it’s been a brilliant experience to visit Macau for the first time. The results yesterday and today are disappointing and we’ll look to work with the FIA for next time. The drivers and teams all did a good job, they put so much into this weekend so it’s obviously frustrating not to pick up the results we hoped for. We have to look forward now and hopefully next year we’ll be back and fighting at the front.”
Laurens Vanthoor, TORO Racing: “We made a positive start to the weekend, we arrived with a good car and had a strong qualifying. Unfortunately when it came to the race, we just didn’t have the straight line speed to fight so I got overtaken by a few cars at the start yesterday. We were quick on the mountain but obviously it is impossible to overtake there, so we went with a different philosophy today, taking downforce off the car so I could defend my position on the straights and at Safety Car restarts. It cost us lap time overall, but this is what we had to do to compete.”
Alessio Picariello, Luanzhou International Circuit: “Macau is over and the car is in one piece so that’s the first positive thing. It’s such an intense weekend, with a short amount of practice time. Setbacks are difficult to recover from and we had a few issues in FP1, meaning we were playing catch up from then on. Qualifying didn’t go as planned and we made a few mistakes, but the race went well, I felt good in the car and had solid pace. However, once you start further back in an event like this against so many top drivers, it’s very difficult to overtake. I’m happy with the way the weekend went for me, I think we maximised our performance and I’m looking forward to coming back and fighting closer to the front.”
Earl Bamber, D2 Racing Team: “It was great to be in Macau with D2 and TW Racing. Not the result we wanted, all the Porsche entries struggled on the straights and we were bunched together throughout the weekend, unable to overtake. Despite the difficulties, I really enjoyed the challenge of racing on this incredible circuit and I’ll have to come back next year to do better!”
Leo Ye, R&B Racing: “We started the weekend with a good practice session, but we realised we had work to do to make the car better in high speed corners. The confidence came in qualifying, and I was quick, although an incident meant I had to start yesterday from P15. Another contact in the Qualification Race put me into 16th for today’s race, but we performed really well, got a great start and overtook the other Silver entries to secure the class victory. It was a lot of fun to compete with some of the best drivers in the world on this amazing track and we were very happy with our performance. The target was to finish in the top-10 and that’s what we achieved, so I’m delighted with the weekend and hopefully we can come back next year and be even stronger.”
Matteo Cairoli, Absolute Racing: “I’m happy to have finished the race today, just outside the top-10, which is great considering where we started. Of course I wanted more, the car was tricky to drive in some situations but I managed to stay out of trouble. The team did a great job adjusting the set-up so a huge thanks to them. Unfortunately you need to start at the front to get a result here, but I’m pleased to have experienced Macau for the first time, and to have driven this incredible track in such a competitive field.”
Kévin Estre, HubAuto Racing: “A tough weekend for us, qualifying didn’t go to plan, I only got three laps in so had to start from a long way back. I made up some positions in the Qualification Race, but today I had a fight with Earl and picked up some damage to my rear diffuser. For the rest of the race I was battling without my rear diffuser, which is not easy around here. I managed to stay on track and was running P9 for a while but on the penultimate lap I touched the wall and lost the rear fender, so I decided to bring it home without any more damage and lost a few positions on the final lap. We’re obviously not satisfied with the weekend, but Porsche overall did not have the weapons to fight for victory here this year.”
Thomas Preining, HubAuto Racing: “We had too many issues, it was a difficult weekend for us. Track time is really important as a rookie but we had problems in FP1 and then a compromised qualifying. In the middle of the pack, a lot can go wrong on a circuit like this as everybody is trying to attack at the start, so our race yesterday was very short. Today we finished, but the car wasn’t fully right and we weren’t as competitive as we wanted to be.”
Alexandre Gibot, Managing Director Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific Ltd.: “Firstly, I’d like to thank the teams and drivers who put in so much effort to be here for the FIA GT World Cup. Also, thanks to our colleagues from Weissach who came over to support the customers on the performance side. Unfortunately it wasn’t the event we were expecting, we worked so hard on the manufacturer and teams’ side, so it’s a massive shame to have such a tough time with our pace due to circumstances beyond our control. We didn’t have much chance this weekend, all the teams struggled and it made for a frustrating event. There is no doubt that Macau is a very special event for Porsche and for our customers, so we look forward to working closely with the organisers for the next one.”