Grand Prix of up-and-coming racers: Volkswagen with strong Macau

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Photography by: Volkswagen
Daniel Abt Dallara F312 59th Macau Grand Prix 2012
Daniel Abt Dallara F312 59th Macau Grand Prix 2012 Source Volkswagen
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Daniel Abt Dallara F312 59th Macau Grand Prix 2012 Volkswagen Dallara F312 59th Macau Grand Prix 2012 Tom Blomqvist 59th Macau Grand Prix 2012 William Buller VW Dallara F312 Macau Grand Prix Volkswagen Dallara F312 59th Macau Grand Prix 2012 59th Macau Grand Prix 2012
Antonio Félix da Costa Dallara F312 Macau GP 2012 Carlos Sainz jr.Dallara F312 Macau Grand Prix 2012 Jack Harvey 59th Macau Grand Prix 2012 Daniel Abt 59th Macau Grand Prix 2012 Carlos Sainz, Carlos Sainz jr Macau GP 2012

Ayrton Senna, David Brabham, Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard or Edoardo Mortara – the winners of the Macau Grand Prix laid the foundation for a successful career in motorsport on triumphing in the world’s most famous Formula 3 race. Whether in Formula 1, at the Le Mans 24 Hours or in the DTM, racers who win on the spectacular city street circuit have justified hopes of scoring further successes in motorsport. The 59th running of the Grand Prix next weekend (15–18 November) will see as many as nine young racers “powered by Volkswagen” competing at this venue. The line-up of the Wolfsburg-based manufacturer includes the German junior star Daniel Abt, the British Formula 3 Champions form the past two years, Felipe Nasr (Brazil) and Jack Harvey (Great Britain), plus the Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr., the son of the two-time World Rally Champion and Dakar winner Carlos Sainz.

“Macau is the absolute highlight on the annual Formula 3 calendar. The world’s best drivers of the junior series are pitted against each other in the Grand Prix and a large number of strong guest entrants aim to be in contention for the top spots as well. That’s why Macau is also regarded as the unofficial Formula 3 World Championship,”says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “Volkswagen is again putting a very strong driver line-up on the grid this year. Therefore, the aim can only be to finish on the very top of the podium, as we last did in 2009 and 2010. Achieving this aim not only takes an optimum package made up of the car, the engine, the team and the driver but a bit of fortune as well – just the way you’d expect it to be in a gamblers’ paradise like Macau.”

British championship-winning team Carlin to run with six drivers

The Volkswagen customer team Carlin is competing with a large line-up of six drivers. The Britons are providing what may well be the strongest squad in the field, not only in terms of numbers. The 2011 and 2012 British Formula 3 Champions – Felipe Nasr and Jack Harvey – are racing for Trevor Carlin’s team on the 6.120-kilometre circuit. Nasr has still got some unfinished business to settle here. In 2011, as the runner-up, he missed victory by merely 0.4 seconds. Harvey on the other hand is competing in the gamblers’ paradise for the first time. “I’m very much looking forward to the weekend,” says the 19-year-old. “I’ve familiarized myself with the track on the simulator and know that the team’s very competitive.”

But the German Daniel Abt has previously caused a stir in Macau as well. On his debut in 2010 the driver from Kempten, who became the runner-up in the GP3 Series this season, finished the qualification race on the podium and was even briefly leading the Grand Prix race. “This time I want victory,” says the 19-year-old. “I’ve got more experience in formula cars than many of my rivals. That could prove to be an invaluable advantage.”

The three other Carlin drivers are among the favourites in the guard rail channel too. This season, Red Bull Junior Antonio Félix da Costa (Portugal) came third in the GP3 Series, trailing Abt by a narrow margin, and fourth in Formula Renault 3.5. Carlos Sainz Jr., who is supported by Red Bull as well, like the sixth Carlin racer Will Buller (Great Britain), scored numerous podium places in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship and in the British Formula 3 Championship.

Top-flight drivers from the German ATS Formula 3 Cup on the grid as well

The Dutch Van Amersfoort Racing team is taking two Dallara Volkswagen cars delivering around 210 hp to Macau. In 2012, the Austrian Lucas Auer as a series rookie immediately finished the ATS Formula 3 Cup in second place and his team-mate Dennis van de Laar (Netherlands) took ninth place overall in Germany’s top formula racing series. Tom Blomqvist (Great Britain) is competing for the Italian Euro International squad. With Volkswagen Power, the son of former World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist in 2012 contested FIA European Formula 3 Championship and the German Cup in which he won four races.

Macau: Volkswagen victories at 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

Macau: the most successful engine manufacturers

Toyota and Volkswagen, 7 victories each; Opel, 4; Mugen-Honda and Mercedes-Benz, 2 each; Renault, 2; Alfa-Romeo and Fiat, 1 each

Macau: timetable (local time)

Thursday, 15 November 2012

10.55–11.40 Free practice (45 min)

14.40–15.10 1st qualifying (30 min)

Friday, 16 November 2012

11.00–11.45 Free practice (45 min)

14.35–15.05 2nd qualifying (30 min)

Saturday, 17 November 2012

14.00–14.50 Qualification race (10 laps)

Sunday, 18 November 2012

15.30–16.30 Grand Prix (15 laps)


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