This coming weekend, the ‘Guia Circuit’ in Macau (CHN) hosts the grand finale of the 2019 GT season: the FIA GT World Cup. The top GT teams and drivers will battle it out to be crowned champions on the most demanding street circuit in the world. Last year, Augusto Farfus (BRA) and BMW Team Schnitzer won the title with the BMW M6 GT3, presenting BMW with its 24th victory in Macau. They return now with the goal of hanging on to their trophies. Meanwhile, BMW works driver Joel Eriksson (SWE) is set to make his GT debut in Macau with FIST-Team AAI.
A total of 17 GT3 cars, with some of the world’s best GT drivers at the wheel, will go head to head at this year’s FIA GT World Cup. Farfus will race a BMW M6 GT3 with BMW Team Schnitzer for the third time in a row. In 2017, he caught the eye in the BMW M6 GT3 Art Car, designed by Cao Fei (CHN). Last year, Farfus won both the qualifying race and the main race. In doing so, he presented Schnitzer boss at the time, Charly Lamm (GER), with the perfect leaving present in what was his final race. Farfus will be racing in Macau for the tenth time in his career. The appearance of the #42 BMW M6 GT3 is supported by the partners Shell, Akrapovič and the MultiBank Group, whose logos and colours are incorporated into the new design of the car.
Eriksson has made three appearances in the Formula 3 Grand Prix in Macau. He secured pole position in 2017 and finished runner-up to earn a spot on the podium in 2018. The BMW works driver is now set to drive a BMW M6 GT3 on the street circuit for the first time. The car will be run by FIST-Team AAI. The Taiwanese team last raced in Macau two years ago, when it finished fifth and sixth. This season, FIST-Team AAI has enjoyed great success in the China GT Championship and the China Endurance Championship. The team won the Team title and the Drivers’ Championship with BMW works driver Nick Yelloly (GBR). Eriksson was a guest starter at two events, which allowed him to get to know the team well.
The qualifying race – 12 laps of the 6.120-kilometre circuit – gets underway at 13:05 local time (06:05 CET) this Saturday. The 18-lap main race begins at 12:25 local time (05:25 CET) on Sunday. The Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, which features a host of BMW Motorrad Motorsport drivers, starts at 15:55 local time (08:55 CET) on Saturday.
Quotes on the 2019 FIA GT World Cup in Macau.
Jens Marquardt (BMW Group Motorsport Director): “Macau has always been a very special place for BMW – on four and on two wheels. Our success story at the Guia Circuit started nearly four decades ago with Hans-Joachim Stuck winning the Guia Race for touring cars in 1980 with the BMW 320i. In total, BMW touring cars have claimed no fewer than 22 wins at Macau. Success continued in GT racing, with the FIA GT World Cup being held within the Macau Grand Prix, with the big highlight being Augusto Farfus’ fantastic victory last year with the BMW M6 GT3. Also our colleagues from the BMW Motorrad Motorsport department have an impressive track record at Macau, starting with the historic one-two-three finish for the BMW S 1000 RR in 2015. Since then the BMW S 1000 RR is one of the bikes to beat at Macau. In the last four editions of the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, BMW racer Peter Hickman claimed three wins. Added to this are numerous further podium finishes.”
Herbert Schnitzer jr. (Team Manager BMW Team Schnitzer): “We have enjoyed a very special relationship with Macau for many years now and have already celebrated many fantastic successes there. The win last year at Charly Lamm’s last race as team principal was particularly emotional. This year we will give it our all to achieve another top result, even though we know that the competition will be very tough. This year we are also facing the unique situation of contesting the season finale of the Intercontinental GT Challenge in Kyalami, just one week after Macau. Organising this programme is a huge, exciting challenge for our team, both in terms of personnel and logistics. It goes without saying that our aim is to be successful in both races. That is why the best possible advance planning and the fantastic effort of every single team member are even more important, and I would like to thank everyone for this already.”
Augusto Farfus: “I am really looking forward to defending my title, however it is obviously going to be far from easy. Our goal is to retain the trophy, but the opposition is stronger than ever. We have prepared as well as possible and will definitely benefit from the experience we have gained together over the past two years. Ultimately, however, many of our rivals have what it takes to win this race. I will do my best to lift the trophy for a second time – this time in memory of Charly.”
Joel Eriksson: “The collaboration with FIST-Team AAI is working extremely well. I have felt right at home there from the word go. The team spirit is outstanding and we have been chatting almost every day in the run-up. From a driving point of view, I have prepared meticulously in the simulator, as driving a Formula car and a GT car in Macau are two completely different animals. Fortunately, we also have Augusto there with all his experience. We have spoken to each other often and he has already given me a lot of valuable advice.”