Showdown on the South China Sea: Volkswagen at Macau Grand Prix

Showdown on the South China Sea: Volkswagen at Macau Grand Prix

with the Golf GTI TCR and Formula 3

65th Macau Grand Prix the grand finale of the Formula 3 and WTCR season
Formula 3: Last year’s winner Daniel Ticktum goes up against Mick Schumacher
WTCR: Nine-time Macau winner Robert Huff lines up in the Golf GTI TCR
Formula 3: Final outing for Volkswagen

Saving the best for last: the Macau Grand Prix not only represents the fiercely-contested FIA Formula 3 World Cup for the best young drivers around, but also the season finale for the elite drivers in the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR). The 65th staging of this iconic and prestigious street race has once again attracted the best touring car and Formula 3 drivers from around the world to China from 15 to 18 November. In total, 14 drivers “powered by Volkswagen” line up at the wheel of TCR and Formula 3 cars this year. For Volkswagen, the spectacular Formula 3 race on the 6.1-kilometre Guia Circuit also represents the end of a successful era – after almost four decades and 78 international and national titles, this is Volkswagen’s final outing in Formula 3.

“King of Macau” Robert Huff in the Golf GTI TCR

In the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), Robert Huff will start in a Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR run by the Sébastien Loeb Racing team. The Brit holds the record for the most wins in Macau: the 38-year-old touring car driver has climbed onto the top step of the podium a remarkable nine times – seven times in the World Touring Car Championship, and once each in the TCR International Series and the WTCR. Known by fans as the “King of Macau”, Huff is out to make it a round ten in 2018. The second Golf GTI TCR will be driven by team-mate Mehdi Bennani. The Moroccan is another of the really quick guys around the Guia Circuit and won a WTCC race there in 2017.This year, the series will hold three races at the Macau Grand Prix: two eight-lap races and one held over eleven laps.

The street circuit in Macau, 6.1 kilometres long and no more than seven metres wide in places, has been a happy stomping ground for the Golf GTI TCR: the finale of the 2016 TCR International Series saw Jean-Karl Vernay (F) of the Leopard Racing team take victory at the wheel of the 350-hp Golf, followed by team-mate and champion Stefano Comini (CH). 

Formula 3: Ticktum and Schumacher face off again

With ten wins to its name, Volkswagen is the most successful engine manufacturer at the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix. The list of winners includes many big names in the world of motorsport – including David Brabham (AUS, 1989), Michael Schumacher (D, 1990) and DTM ace Edoardo Mortara, who won the Formula 3 race in 2009 and 2010. In 2017, victory went to Daniel Ticktum (GB) of Volkswagen customer team Motopark. The young Brit is hungry for more this year – and will go head to head with European champion Mick Schumacher, who is looking to follow in the footsteps of his famous father. As well as Ticktum, a further eleven drivers with Volkswagen engines will line up in the Formula 3 classic for the BMAX, Carlin and Motopark customer teams.

Quotes ahead of the Macau Grand Prix

Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“The Macau Grand Prix is the grand finale of a successful motorsport season and we once again have one of the hot favourites to win this year’s race. Young Formula racers from all over the world want to emulate legendary drivers like Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher by taking victory and, in doing so, demonstrating their Formula 1 credentials on the iconic street circuit here in Macau. For Volkswagen, Macau marks the end of a very successful chapter in Formula 3, which will use standard chassis and engine technology in the future. In customer sport, we will focus on production-based cars like the Golf GTI TCR, which acts as a sporty ambassador for the Volkswagen brand around the globe. From a driving point of view, this car is just as appealing to aspiring juniors as it is to the professionals in the WTCR.”

Robert Huff (GB, Sébastien Loeb Racing), Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR #12
“Macau has its own rules. It is not only about raw speed here. The slightest mistake can cost you everything. To be quick here, you have to get through all the practice laps without any damage and gradually work your way up to the limit. Finding that limit is far harder in Macau than at a modern Formula 1 circuit, for example. Fortunately, we have plenty of experience here and have already been successful nine times in the past. Win number ten in Macau would obviously be a dream come true.”

Daniel Ticktum (GB, Motopark), Dallara-Volkswagen #1
“I am really looking forward to the Macau Grand Prix. Last year I won here – that was an absolutely incredible feeling. I obviously hope that I can repeat that success. A flawless race will be key. The Guia Circuit is unique in many regards. There is little downforce, the track is very narrow in places and has blind corners. And on the straights you are flat out for almost two kilometres. You have to know exactly when you can go for it and when you have to be patient.”

Schedule: 2018 Macau Grand Prix

Thursday, 15 November
09:05–09:35 WTCR – Free practice 1    
09:55–10:35 Formula 3 – Free practice 1
13:30–14:00 WTCR – Free practice 2
14:20–15:00 Formula 3 – Qualifying 1

Friday, 16 November
08:50–09:30 WTCR – Qualifying
11:30–12:10 Formula 3 – Free practice 2
13:35–14:50 WTCR – Q1, Q2, Q3
15:10–15:50 Formula 3 – Qualifying 2

Saturday, 17 November
09:00–10:00 Formula 3 – Qualifying race (10 laps)
14:25–15:15 WTCR – Race 1 (8 laps)

Sunday, 18 November
08:20–09:10 WTCR – Race 2 (8 laps)
11:00–12:00 WTCR – Race 3 (11 laps)
15:30–16:30 Formel 3 – Main race (15 laps)

Macau: Volkswagen wins in the Formula 3 Grand Prix
1984 John Nielsen (DK), Ralt RT3 Volkswagen
1985 Maurício Gugelmin (BR), Ralt RT30 Volkswagen
1986 Andy Wallace (GB), Reynard 863 Volkswagen
1989 David Brabham (AUS), Ralt RT33 Volkswagen
1990 Michael Schumacher (D), Reynard 903 Volkswagen
2009 Edoardo Mortara (I), Dallara F309 Volkswagen
2010 Edoardo Mortara (I), Dallara F309 Volkswagen
2012 António Félix da Costa (P), Dallara F312 Volkswagen
2016 António Félix da Costa (P), Dallara F312 Volkswagen
2017 Daniel Ticktum (GB), Dallara F312 Volkswagen

Macau: The most successful engine manufacturers in Formula 3
Volkswagen, 10 wins; Mercedes-Benz, 9; Toyota, 7; Opel, 4; Mugen-Honda, 3; Renault