Porsche will field two 500 hp 911 GT3 R at the season finale of the FIA GT World Cup on 20 November on the legendary street circuit of Macau. The customer sport racer was designed in Weissach for worldwide GT3 series on the basis of the 911 GT3 RS production sports car and contests its maiden race season in 2016. The drivers for the storied race in the Chinese special administrative region are Earl Bamber from New Zealand (#911) and Frenchman Kévin Estre (#912). Responsible for the operations of the penultimate factory outing of this year’s GT season – the 12-hour race in Sepang/Malaysia is held on 10 December – is Porsche’s long-standing and successful partner, Manthey Racing.
The race in the former Portuguese colony, located 65 kilometres west of Hong Kong, is one of the world’s most spectacular motorsport events. The 6.115-kilometre racetrack featuring a combination of fast straights and very tight corners, places extremely high demands on pilots. The first automobile race in Macau was contested in 1954. Thanks to tourism and gambling, Macau, which was handed back to China in 1999, has become one of the richest regions in the world.
The Porsche drivers
The New Zealander Earl Bamber, who clinched overall victory at Le Mans for Porsche in 2015, feels totally at home on the racetracks of Asia. In 2013 and 2014 he contested the Carrera Cup Asia series, he lived for a long time in Kuala Lumpur and now lives in Beijing. He raced in Macau for the first time in 2013. His factory driver teammate Kévin Estre (France) won the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland and celebrated his Macau premiere in 2015. This season he secured four race wins with the 911 GT3 R in the ADAC GT Masters.
The Porsche 911 GT3 R
In developing the 911 GT3 R, the engineers placed particular emphasis on lightweight design, better aerodynamic efficiency, a reduction in fuel consumption and improved driveability. Its maiden race outing featuring the new, ultra-modern four-litre flat-six engine with direct fuel injection was in January 2016 at the Daytona 24-hour race. In its debut season, the 911 GT3 R celebrated many successes in international racing series, including the IMSA SportsCar Championship, the World Challenge as well as the Nürburgring VLN Long Distance Championship on the demanding Nordschleife.
The 18-lap race on the Guia Circuit takes off on 20 November at 12:55 hrs local time (05:55 hrs CEST). The qualifying race over twelve laps will be held on 19 November at 12:10 hrs local time.
Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “The race in Macau is definitely one of the greatest challenges that one can face as an automobile manufacturer in our time. It’s a short, very intense race. The drivers have no time for tactics, they have to grab their chance right from the start. The track is exceptionally spectacular and needs extremely high concentration over the entire race distance. The very tight corners are particularly challenging. It’s a real acid test for our 911 GT3 R.”
Sascha Pilz, Head of GT Customer Motorsport: “The 911 GT3 R proved its competitiveness in its first racing season at classics such as the 24 Hours of Daytona as well as at international sports car championships, and most recently with victory at the finale of the GT Masters. Now we’d like to underscore this with a good performance on the twisty circuit in Macau.”
Earl Bamber (911 GT3 R #911): “This is a very special race for me. I’ve raced the 911 GT3 Cup for many years in Asia, and 2013 was my first time in Macau. That was a fantastic experience. Now I’m looking forward to returning there with the works squad and the new 911 GT3 R. The setting is unique and fascinating, the track is truly challenging. The qualifying will certainly be decisive. Since overtaking is difficult in Macau, a good grid position is the key to success.”
Kévin Estre (911 GT3 R #912): “The street circuit in Macau is one of my top three racetracks – it’s very fast and incredibly difficult, with many bumps and blind corners. There are no run-off areas, only walls and guard rails. You have to focus from start to finish and you can’t afford to make the slightest mistake. The many fans lend a great atmosphere. For the majority of drivers it’s the last race of the year, so they’ll be doing everything to head into the winter break with a victory under their belts.”