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Return to the world finale: Volkswagen at the Macau Grand Prix

55th Formula 3 Grand Prix in Macau (CN)

Edoardo Mortara (I), Dallara Volkswagen F308

18 years after clinching victory with Michael Schumacher Volkswagen returns to the Formula 3 Grand Prix in Macau. In 1990 the subsequent Formula 1 record world champion achieved his international breakthrough “powered by Volkswagen”.

Five talented, up-and-coming drivers, Edoardo Mortara from Italy, Mika Mäki from Finland, the Chinese Congfu Cheng, Laurens Vanthoor from Belgium as well as Nicola de Marco from Italy, will try to follow in his footsteps in the Volkswagen Dallara F308 next weekend (13–16 November).

“Three wins in the Formula 3 Euro Series and two exploits in the German Formula 3 Cup are a very good year-end tally for the two-litre engine from the Volkswagen Group. To close off the season, Volkswagen returns to the most famous Formula 3 race of all – the Macau Grand Prix,” says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. “Just around the corner from Hong Kong the best young drivers will meet to match their skills on the world’s most difficult city street circuit. The track demands a powerful engine with good driveability; at the same time, driving skills are more important in Macau than on most other race tracks.”

Ayrton Senna, David Coulthard, Michael and Ralf Schumacher – the list of famous names that have contested the tradition-steeped event in the former Portuguese colony is long. “Macau is a true classic. This race is to Formula 3 what Monaco is to Formula 1. Everyone dreams of victory, because you can really make a name for yourself by winning there, and that’s what I’m hoping to do,” says Edoardo Mortara, who became “vice champion” in the Formula 3 Euro Series with Volkswagen this year. The 21-year-old from the Signature team already knows the 6.117-kilometre circuit. Two qualifying sessions determine the grid positions for the first race, which then decides the starting order for the crucial second round. Mortara comments, “In some places the circuit is extremely narrow and full of bends so that brushing the guard rails is almost inevitable. On the other hand, there are parts which are wide and incredibly fast. It takes a lot of courage, this mix is really unique.” The Signature team is entering two further Volkswagen Dallara F308 cars for Red Bull Junior Mika Mäki as well as for Congfu Cheng in the race. “Competing with Volkswagen and Signature in Macau is fantastic,” says “Franky” Cheng. “This is a home race for me, although the circuit is new for me as well as for the team.”

The two drivers from the RC Motorsport team, Laurens Vanthoor and Nicola de Marco, rely on the Volkswagen engine delivering about 210 hp as well. “Macau will be a completely new experience for me. Volkswagen offered me the chance to contest this race and I grabbed it with both hands,” says the highly pleased – just 17-year-old – Vanthoor, who finished the German Formula 3 Cup with two wins and six second places in fourth place overall. “For me, the main thing is to gather more international experience – this is still my very first season in automobile racing. I’ll try to drive as many laps as possible and stay clear of the walls in order to see the chequered flag in both races.”

Macau: Volkswagen’s 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

Macau: Formula 3 Grand Prix schedule

Thursday, 13 November
10.30 – 11.00 Free practice (30 min)
14.00 – 14.45 Qualifying (45 min)

Friday, 14 November
11.15 – 11.45 Free practice (30 min)
14.45 – 15.30 Qualifying (45 min)

Saturday, 15 November
13.45 – 14.35 Qualification race (10 laps at 6.117 km each = 61.17 km)

Sunday, 16 November
15.30 – 16.30 Race (15 laps at 6.117 km each = 91.775 km)

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