World sports car champion Kévin Estre (France) and his works driver colleagues Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) take on the special challenge at the high-speed street circuit. Alexandre Imperatori from Switzerland rounds off the line-up at Macau.

The drivers

Factory drivers Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor will man the cockpits of the two Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by Rowe Racing. The Belgian won the spectacular road race in 2016 after an intense two-way fight with his current teammate Bamber. World sports car champion Kévin Estre travels to Macau riding high on the back of his overall victory at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. The Frenchman drives one of Absolute Racing’s Porsche GT3 R. Swiss racer Alexandre Imperatori competes in the sister car of the Asian customer squad.

The Porsche 911 GT3 R

911 GT3 R, FIA GT World Cup, 2019, Porsche AG

The 911 GT3 R fielded by Porsche customer teams was newly developed for the 2019 season and is also based on the road-legal 911 GT3 RS. Improvements in the areas of aerodynamics and kinematics were systematically implemented from the insights garnered from the many race outings of its predecessor. The six-cylinder engine in the rear of the GT3 racing vehicle produces over 368 kW (500 hp). The GT3 vehicle from Weissach underlined its enormous potential with its victory at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in 2019, amongst other events.

Comments prior to the race

Fritz Enzinger (Vice President Motorsport): “The FIA GT World Cup is always a real highlight at the end of the motorsport season. The high-speed circuit, the famous corners and the backdrop of large casinos and hotels create an impressive setting. We’re turning up with a particularly strong line-up this year and, as such, there can be only one goal: a Porsche 911 GT3 R should win the Macau road race.”

Sebastian Golz (Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R): “We have two strong customer teams and four very fast ace drivers competing. The signs look good for a successful performance. We’ve become more and more familiar with the new Porsche 911 GT3 R over the course of the year and we’ve celebrated many successes around the world. The car has what it takes to lead the field at the sprint on the tight and fast Macau circuit. The qualifying on Friday and the qualifying race on Saturday represent two key events on the way to a good result in the main race.”

Kévin Estre (Porsche 911 GT3 R): “Macau is one of my all-time favourite venues to go racing. For me, the circuit is in the same league as the Nordschleife and the Mount Panorama Circuit at Bathurst. After a two-year break, I’m finally returning to the Guia Circuit. I’m super excited. I haven’t driven for Absolute Racing yet, but I’m very familiar with the Porsche 911 GT3 R. Our car has notched up a raft of successes around the world, and I hope to add another accolade to the list in Macau.”

Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 GT3 R #98): “I had a very fast car last year, especially in the race, but there was no chance to overtake on this tight and fast circuit, which prevented me from getting to the very front. This year we need to do everything we can to achieve a better grid position in qualifying. The Porsche 911 GT3 R will help us with this. I’m looking forward to competing for Rowe Racing with Laurens. We’d like to add another chapter to our #BamThor story. I’m really excited about this.”

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A wild sideways drift on the way from the living room to the kitchen; tyre skid marks on the off-white floor tiles; the sound of laughter echoing through the family home in the town of Waiblingen close to Stuttgart. The life of the Porsche works driver Laurens Vanthoor is full of speed and action – even during the quiet times of the lockdown.