Elite drivers set for FIA GT World Cup showdown in Macau

Elite drivers set for FIA GT World Cup showdown in Macau

An elite group of drivers will do battle at one of motorsport's most iconic venues this weekend when the annual FIA GT World Cup takes place on the streets of Macau.

It will be the event's fifth running at the Guia Circuit and the 12th GT contest to be staged in the region since 2008. The format is unusual for the discipline, with each driver competing solo in their pursuit of victory.  

Mercedes-AMG will be the best-represented marque this year, with six of the German brand's successful GT3 models set to tackle the event. This includes an all-star line-up representing Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM, where Raffaele Marciello and Marco Engel will once again lead the charge. 

German ace Engel is no stranger to success on the streets of Macau having won the event both before (2014) and after (2015) it was granted FIA GT World Cup status. Marciello meanwhile took last year's qualification race and ultimately finished as runner-up in the deciding main race. 

Reigning Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia champion Roelof Bruins will link up with his regular Solite Indigo outfit to contest the marquee event, while his rival Alessio Picariello will compete for Mercedes-AMG Team Craft Bamboo alongside Edoardo Mortara. Along with Engel, the Swiss driver has raced in each edition of the FIA GT World Cup. China's Adderly Fong completes the Mercedes-AMG roster for Zun Motorsport Crew.

Audi will take a five-car effort to Macau, with four of its drivers having contested the full Blancpain GT Series in 2019. Audi Sport Team Rutronik will field South African ace Kelvin van der Linde, who is set for his Macau debut, while at Phoenix Racing the experienced Christopher Hasse will return to the event for his second attempt in the R8 LMS. 

Audi Sport Team WRT will field Dries Vanthoor, while the sister Team WRT entry features Charles Weerts, who became the youngest winner in Blancpain GT Series history by triumphing at Misano this season. The Audi Sport Team ASIA TSRT machine of Weian Chen completes the Ingolstadt marque's effort.

Porsche has confirmed a highly impressive line-up for its Macau assault. Blancpain GT Series front-runner ROWE Racing will field two 911 GT3 R entries, with Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber taking the wheel. The duo – known collectively as 'Bamthoor' – shared a car at this season's Total 24 Hours of Spa, while Vanthoor won the Macau event for Audi in 2016.

Absolute Racing will also field a pair of Porsches, one of which will be driven by this year's Total 24 Hours of Spa winner Kevin Estre. In the sister machine, Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia ace Alexandre Imperatori adds further firepower to the Porsche effort. 

Finally, BMW will field a pair of cars. Reigning FIA GT World Cup winner Augusto Farfus will drive for Team Schnitzer, the squad with which he took victory in 2018 and competed at this season's Total 24 Hours of Spa. BMW works driver Joel Eriksson completes the roster in a FIST Team AAI-entered M6 GT3. 

Practice for the event begins today (Thursday) before qualifying takes place on Friday. This will set the grid for Saturday’s 12-lap qualification race, followed on Sunday by the 18-lap main event. The decider gets underway at 12:25 local time (05:25 CET).