After the victories of 2014 and 2015 and last year’s third place, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport have one clear objective for the 2017 FIA GT World Cup Macau – to bring the trophy back to Affalterbach. There is a correspondingly strong line-up of drivers and teams, with four Mercedes-AMG GT3s vying for honours on the 6.1km Guia Circuit in the Chinese city of Macau (16th – 19th November). And there is no doubting the calibre of the drivers either, with Maro Engel (GER), Daniel Juncadella (ESP), Edoardo Mortara (ITA) and Raffaele Marciello (ITA) occupying the four cockpits. There are two teams involved: Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing and Mercedes-AMG Team Driving Academy, each entering two cars. Both outfits are receiving extensive support from HWA AG. An especially eye-catching feature will be the livery for one of the Mercedes-AMG GT3s designed by and for the US rock band Linkin Park.
Timetable for the FIA GT World Cup
Qualifying: Friday, 17th November, 16:25 local time (08:25 GMT)
Qualifying race: Saturday, 18th November, 12:25 local time (04:25 GMT)
Main race: Sunday, 18th November, 12:10 local time (04:10 GMT)
Three questions for Maro Engel
Maro, the FIA GT World Cup Macau (16th – 19th November) is fast approaching. What do you hope to achieve in Macau?
Maro Engel: I’m really looking forward to lining up for Mercedes-AMG again in Macau. The FIA GT World Cup is always the highlight of my racing calendar, for sure. I’ve built up a very special relationship with Macau following my wins there in 2014 and 2015 and third place last year. Plus, driving the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in Macau is just amazing. As in previous years, the field of entrants is of an extremely high calibre, but I’ve got a great team behind me and the Mercedes-AMG GT3 is a fantastic car. The FIA GT World Cup is at stake, and of course, we intend to win. Unfortunately, we saw someone else take the title last year, so we’r e now even more determined, all of us, to go all-out and bring the title back to Affalterbach.
What makes Macau so special?
Maro Engel: The atmosphere is simply awesome. The circuit is on a peninsula and surrounded by casinos. It’s not just a race, it’s THE event of the year to round off the motor racing season, and the racetrack itself is unique. It’s a street circuit that has everything. Top speed is just under 300 km/h. The fastest corner is taken at up to 250 km/h and what’s probably the slowest turn in the whole of motorsport, the Melco Hairpin, at only 30 km/h. The track varies in width from very wide on the lower, fast section to extremely narrow with high crash barriers on the upper, hilly part. But the track’s rhythm is never interrupted. It all serves to make this racetrack so very special. Overtaking is extremely difficult and only possible on the lower section. As a result, qualifying and getting away off the line are extremely important. Nevertheless, the races are usually very spectacular, as we saw last year.
Your Mercedes-AMG GT3 will carry Linkin Park’s logo in Macau and stickers for the 320 ChangeDirection Foundation and Music for Relief. Why’s that?
Maro Engel: I know the guys from Linkin Park and really appreciate what they’re trying to do, so it’s a huge honour for me to be able to race in Macau, displaying the band’s logo, especially as it’s for a good cause. Music for Relief is the band’s aid organisation, and the 320 ChangeDirection Foundation was set up by Talinda Bennington to change the culture of mental health. She’s the wife of Linkin Park’s bandleader, who killed himself. We’re very pleased to give Linkin Park and Talinda a platform in Macau to draw attention to their good causes.