– Eight wins: Volkswagen the most successful engine supplier at this classic race
– High regard: 63rd Macau event given FIA World Cup status
– Great experience: Macau winner Félix da Costa one of ten Volkswagen drivers
Nothing less than the World Cup that is what is at stake for the ten Volkswagen drivers who line up at the Formula 3 Grand Prix in Macau from 17 to 20 November, an event steeped in history.
This motorsport classic is unofficially regarded as the Formula 3 world championship, so it is only fitting that the governing body of motorsport, the FIA, has awarded the 63rd staging World Cup status. This will serve as further motivation for the young Volkswagen drivers, who will be out to present the Wolfsburg-based car maker with its ninth victory in Macau. Volkswagen currently has eight wins to its name, making it the most successful engine manufacturer at this street race in Macau, a special administrative region of China.
For the young drivers, the Macau Grand Prix is an absolute highlight in their still fledgling careers, says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. They want to follow in the footsteps of some of the greats of motorsport, and this race gives them the opportunity to really catch the eye for a long time. The circuit will put the guys through their paces, and the fact that the Formula 3 cars are so evenly matched means that driving ability will play the key role: narrow streets, always within millimetres of the walls even the slightest of mistakes can make the difference between victory and defeat.
Volkswagen driver line-up: three continents, nine race series and one Macau winner
Ten drivers from three continents and nine different race series will line up for Volkswagen in Macau. They include Joel Eriksson (S, Team Motopark), rookie champion in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, as well as Jann Mardenborough (GB, B-Max Racing Team), who finished runner-up in this year’s Japanese Formula 3 Championship. One of the most experienced drivers in the field is António Félix da Costa (P, Carlin). The Portuguese raced in both the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) and the FIA Formula E Championship last season and is very familiar with the feeling of Volkswagen power in Macau: Félix da Costa won the Formula 3 Grand Prix with an engine from Wolfsburg in 2012.
Three championships in one year: teenager Lando Norris in action for Volkswagen
Europe meets Asia: the other drivers powered by Volkswagen at the 2016 event are Daiki Sasaki (J) and Ye Hongli (CHN) of the B-Max Racing Team from the Japanese Formula 3 Championship, Arjun Maini (IND) and Guan Yu Zhou (CHN) of the German Motopark team, who compete in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, and Carlin drivers Jake Hughes (GB), Sérgio Sette Câmara (BR) and Lando Norris (GB). Norris won three single-seater championships last season and, at 17 years and 7 days, will be the youngest Volkswagen driver on Sunday.
Schumacher and Co.: Macau victory the springboard to a big career in motorsport
Into the pinnacle of motor racing as a Macau winner: for Mauricio Gugelmin (BR), David Brabham (AUS) and record Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher (D), victory with Volkswagen in Macau was a big step up the motorsport career ladder. The same is true of Edoardo Mortara (I): now one of the top drivers in the DTM, he is the only man since 1983 to have claimed two victories on the 6.2-kilometre street circuit in 2009 and 2010 with Volkswagen power on both occasions.
Quotes ahead of the FIA Formula 3 World Cup in Macau
António Félix da Costa (P, Carlin) Dallara Volkswagen #29
Macau is a special place, it’s just pure driving. The adrenaline rush you feel when you’re driving between those walls is a feeling you don’t get anywhere else. There is no aim as such in going back for me. I’m just doing it for the love of the sport, so when I got the call from Trevor Carlin a few weeks ago I couldn’t say no. There will also be a few fellow Macau winners going back, as well as a lot of young up and coming guys too so it will be a fun weekend.
Joel Eriksson (S, Motopark), Dallara Volkswagen #16
The FIA Formula 3 World Cup will be the greatest challenge of my career so far. Everyone’s been talking about it for months. I really can’t wait to get there. I’m preparing as well as I can for it. I know that the Formula 3 European Championship performance, and winning the Masters, probably raises expectations, but Macau is something a little bit different. It’s the most difficult track in Formula 3, and possibly in all of racing, and they say it takes a lot of laps to master it. That’s the kind of experience many of the other guys have, but we’ll see. I will do my best to give them a tough time.
FIA Formula 3 World Cup in Macau, Schedule*
Thursday, 17 November 2016
09:35-10:15 – 1st free practice
14:20-15:00 – 1st qualifying
Friday, 18 November 2016
09:35-10:15 – 2nd free practice
15:55-16:35 – 2nd qualifying
Saturday, 19 November 2016
13:50-14:40 – Qualifying race (10 laps)
Sunday, 20 November 2015
15:30-16:30race (15 laps)
(Local time, UTC+8)