Newly-crowned DTM and Blancpain Endurance championship-winning factory drivers Marco Wittman and Laurens Vanthoor are among the newcomers on an all-star entry for the Macau GT Cup next month.
Vanthoor and Wittmann make their debuts with regular employers Audi and BMW in the increasingly prestigious event on the Macau bill on Nov. 15-16.
Wittman races a BMW Z4 GT3 for the Japanese AAI squad alongside fellow DTM racer Augusto Farfus, while Vanthoor turns out in a two-car team of Audi R8 LMS ultras with five-time Macau race winner Edoardo Mortara entered under the Audi Race Experience banner.
Vanthoor, who claimed victory in the Spa 24 Hours on the way to the BES title with the WRT squad this season, said: “That race wasn’t so big the last time I went to Macau to race in Formula 3 in 2011, but since then it has been getting bigger and bigger.
“It’s a really impressive entry and has become a race that is definitely worth winning, so I’m really happy that Audi has asked me to go.”
Wittman, who raced a Z4 GT3 at the Nurburgring 24 Hours this year, been brought into the BMW line-up for his knowledge of the 3.8-mile Macau Guia circuit from F3, according to a company spokesman.
“Both Marco and Augusto know Macau well and also have experience of the Z4,” he said. “This race is growing in importance and this is part of our strategy of sending BMW works drivers to take part in big GT events around the world.”
Audi DTM driver Mortara will return to Macau in a bid for a sixth straight victory on the streets of the former Portuguese enclave: he won the F3 Grand Prix in 2009 and ’10 and followed it up with triumphs in the GT Cup with Audi in the following three years.
Frenchman Jean-Karl Vernay, a former Peugeot LMP1 test and reserve driver, will race the Chinese Absolute Racing team’s new Bentley Continental GT3, while event regular Danny Watts returns with a McLaren MP4-12C entered by United Autosports.
Factory drivers Katsumasa Chiyo, Earl Bamber and Darryl O’Young, who will miss the Bahrain round of the World Endurance Championship to take part, are on the entry with machinery built by their employers.
MACAU GT CUP – LEADING ENTRIES
Edoardo Mortara – Audi Race Experience Audi R8 LMS ultra
Laurens Vanthoor – Audi Race Experience Audi R8 LMS ultra
Jean-Karl Vernay – Absolute Racing Bentley Continental GT3
Andre Couto – Direction Racing Ferrari 458 Italia
Katsumasa Chiyo – B-Max Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3
Danny Watts – United Autosports McLaren MP4-12C
Maro Engel – Mercedes Driving Academy Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Renger van der Zende – Mercedes Driving Academy Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Rui Aguas – Spirit of Race (AF Corse) Ferrari 458 Italia
Darryl O’Young – Craft-Bamboo Aston Martin V12 Vantage
Earl Bamber – LKM Racing Porsche 911 GT3-R
Takeshi Tsuchiya – Team AAI Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Carlo van Dam – Team AAI Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Marco Wittman – Team AAI BMW Z4
Augusto Farfus – Team AAI BMW Z4