Street circuits are singularly challenging. Though a spectacle for spectators, racecars framed against an urban environment are exceedingly striking, they can make life difficult for racers. Where recent outings at both Fuji and at Petit Le Mans saw striking successes for the German manufacturer, Macau proved rather more difficult for the drivers in the FIA GT World Cup.
The difficulties began in the qualifying race. While two-time Le Mans winner Earl Bamber secured fifth position on the hotly contested win, works teammate Laurens Vanthoor was put out of contention shortly after the start of qualifying. Vanthoor did not sustain any injuries after the shunt, but his car would not return to competition for the weekend. Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet qualified ninth, with teammate Darryl O'Young in 13th position.
The narrow street circuit restricted passing, with Porsche drivers claiming few advances over their starting positions. Earl Bamber, who qualified fifth, began the race aggressively chasing the leaders. Finding insufficient space to pass, he shifted strategies to help preserve his tires, and ultimately make his bid for position in the later stages of the race. In the race's closing phase Bamber was the fastest driver around the 6.115 kilometer track, and ultimately moved from fifth to fourth place; 1.460 seconds from claiming a podium finish.
In his first appearance at Macau Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet achieved a strong result, gaining two positions over his qualifying position, moving from ninth place in qualifying to seventh overall. Teammate Darryl O'Young, a Hong Kong native, crossed the finish line in fourteenth position.
Comments on the Race
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R): “We had a strong weekend. In the practice sessions and the race we managed to maintain a pace that was in no way inferior to our competition. Unfortunately we didn’t quite secure the qualifying positions we needed to achieve a better result. Earl drove a first-class race and was particularly strong in the last laps. And Mathieu Jaminet did very well, too. He managed to pass two rivals, but more wasn’t possible.”
Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 GT3 R #912): “It was a really tough race. I managed to defend my position at the start, then the gaps varied occasionally. Towards the end, when the car became lighter with less fuel on board, we were really fast. The qualities of the Porsche 911 GT3 R came into their own, which allowed a consistently fast speed even on used tyres. We’ve underlined that our car is without doubt one of the strongest GT3 vehicles. If we’d started further up the grid we could’ve done much better, but that’s just the way it is in Macau.”
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 911 GT3 R #991): “I started from ninth on the grid and finished on seventh – that’s not bad. I simply tried to bring the car home without any damage. It’s great fun to drive so close to the barriers. The circuit is a little like a shortened version of the Nordschleife with the guardrails right next to the track edges. I’m very pleased that Porsche gave me the chance to race in Macau. I hope to return to this special racetrack next year.”
Darryl O’Young (Porsche 911 GT3 R #55): “I’m not happy with my result and the pace in the race. We never really managed to get into the swing of things over the entire race weekend – it’s a great shame. We tried a whole raft of things, but nothing helped. That’s how it is in Macau sometimes. I’ll try to come back to my home race next year.”
1. Augusto Farfus (BR), BMW M6 GT3, 18 laps
2. Maro Engel (D), Mercedes AMG GT3, 18 laps
3. Edoardo Mortara (CH), Mercedes AMG GT3, 18 laps
4. Earl Bamber (NZL), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 18 laps
5. Robin Frijns (NL), Audi R8 LMS, 18 laps
6. Christopher Haase (D), Audi R8 LMS, 18 laps
7. Mathieu Jaminet (F), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 18 laps
8. Dries Vanthoor (B), Audi R8 LMS, 18 laps
9. Raffaele Marciello (I), Mercedes AMG GT3, 18 laps
10. Alexandre Imperatori (HKG), NISMO GT-R GT3, 18 laps
11. Adderly Fong (HKG), Audi R8 LMS, 18 laps
12. Oliver Jarvis (GB), NISMO GT-R GT3, 18 laps
13. Tsugio Matsuda (J), NISMO GT-R GT3, 18 laps
14. Darryl O’Young (HKG), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 18 laps