After a hugely successful maiden year with the Porsche 911 GT3 R, with which they won the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia teams’ championship and scored a podium at the Suzuka 10 Hours, Absolute Racing will round out their racing season fielding two cars at the legendary Macau street race.
For the fifth edition of the FIA GT World Cup, Absolute Racing runs Alexandre Imperatori, who won two Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia races with the Panther/AAS Motorsport squad this year, in the #911 car. The Swiss driver made his World Cup debut last year and aims to use his prior experience to score a strong result.
Alongside him in the #912 machine is 2019 Total 24 Hours of Spa winner Kévin Estre. The Porsche works driver returns to the 6.115km circuit for the first time since 2016, when he secured a second-place finish.
After sealing the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance GTE Drivers’ championship with the Porsche GT Team, Estre currently leads the 2019/20 standings in the new generation Porsche 911 RSR.
Fellow Porsche factory drivers Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor are in the #98 and #99 ROWE Racing cars respectively. The pair have enjoyed a prosperous year together, winning the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship GTLM title with the Porsche GT Team.
Vanthoor also brings a Macau-winning pedigree as the victor of the 2016 event and is the current GT class lap record holder, creating a formidable pairing with two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Bamber.
On-track action for the 2019 FIA GT World Cup begins on Thursday 14 November with Free Practice 1 at 12:35 (all times local, GMT +8), with a second 30-minute session on Friday at 12:30 and Qualifying at 16:10. Saturday’s 12-lap Qualification Race will start at 13:05 ahead of the main event for 18 laps of the Guia Circuit at 12:25 on Sunday.
Alexandre Imperatori, Absolute Racing: “Macau is definitely the highlight of our campaign, so it’s great to be here finally. There is a strong push from Porsche this year to win this race as it’s the last big event of the season. Hopefully we can have a good performance, but this is a place where you cannot take anything for granted. We have to stay out of trouble, but we’ve prepared well and we have a very capable team behind us.”
Kévin Estre, Absolute Racing: “I’m very happy and excited to be back in Macau after a two-year break. Last time I finished second so now the goal is to go one step ahead but it’s going to be hard as the competition is tough. It’s my first time with Absolute Racing and the first Macau for the new Porsche 911 GT3 R so it’s difficult to know where we stand, but from the results in GT3 this year we have a good car. We’ll try our best to qualify well, which should put us in good stead for the races.”
Earl Bamber, ROWE Racing: “I’m looking forward to competing for ROWE Racing with Laurens. We’d like to add another chapter to our #BamThor story. We work well despite the fact that we’re completely different, yet we have a very close friendship which goes far beyond our joint commitments as Porsche works drivers. I had a very fast car last year, especially in the race, but there was no chance to overtake on this tight and fast circuit, which prevented me from getting to the front. This year we need to do everything we can to achieve a better grid position in qualifying.”
Laurens Vanthoor, ROWE Racing: “Earl and I have the utmost respect for each other. We talk openly about everything, there are no secrets between us. Of course we both have the typical racing driver gene – each of us wants to be the fastest. But in our partnership, such competitive thinking has no role. There’s no room for ego trips, we both have our strengths and if we utilise them we’ll both be all the more successful. I’m confident that we’ll be strong on the Guia Circuit and I’ll finally manage to get back on the podium.”
Alexandre Gibot, Head of Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific: “The FIA GT World Cup at Macau is one of the highlights on the motorsport calendar, and we’re very excited about our line-up for this prestigious event. We’re looking forward to seeing the 2019-spec Porsche 911 GT3 R in action, especially as both Absolute Racing and ROWE Racing have had an exceptional first year with Porsche. We wish the best of luck to our four drivers.”
Source. Porsche/Photo. Absolute Racing