After three years of absence, the Formula 3 drivers will return to face one of the most beautiful and demanding challenges in motorsport, namely the Macao appointment. The FIA Formula 3 and GT World Cups will be the protagonists of the 70th anniversary of the Macau Grand Prix on the weekend of 18/19 November, with a return to the historic track after a long wait due to restrictions on travel to Chinese soil a following the COVID pandemic which foreclosed the presence of international motorsport.
The appointment with the F3, which also bears the title of Macao Grand Prix and which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary, also came thanks to a three-year agreement resulting from the joint efforts of the FIA, the national sports authority of Macau (Automobile General Association Macao-China) and the Macau Grand Prix Organizing Committee.
The weekend will kick off on Thursday and the format features two 40-minute free practice sessions and two qualifying sessions for Formula 3, as well as two 30-minute practice sessions followed by single qualifying of the same length for the GT cars.
Photo by: Macau GP
Both competitions will take place in two heats over the weekend, each with a qualifying race followed by a main race which will decide the title. The races will have a duration of 10 and 15 laps for the F3 and 12 and 16 laps for the GT cars. The winner of the F3 World Cup will be deemed the overall winner of the Macau Grand Prix. As for registrations, these will be open until 30 September for the F3.
The Stephane Ratel organisation, the world’s leading promoter of GT3 racing, was once again tasked with organizing the race entry. In reality, the idea was to re-propose the historic appointment already last season, but the quarantine period in China had prompted the postponement of the event, as was also the case for the canceled Formula 1 Grand Prix in March.
Nikolas Tombazis, FIA director for single-seaters, said: “We are all very pleased to see the return of FIA World Cup 3 to Macau – the history of Macau and F3 is one of the most renowned in motorsport and the event has long been the highlight of the junior single-seater calendar.”
“Over the decades, many of the biggest names in racing have been tested at the Macau Grand Prix, as an outstanding performance at the Guia circuit is a sure sign of talent and commitment. It is fantastic news that the story is set to continue with the current generation of F3 cars successfully debuting on the streets of Macau in 2019,” Tombazis explained.
Macau Pit Lane
Photo by: Stella-Maria Thomas
In fact, the “new” one-make F3 car with Dallara chassis, based on the GP3/16 and powered by a 3.4-litre Mecachrome V6, had already made its debut on the roads of Macau in 2019, so it will be a return.
Marek Nawarecki, director of the FIA’s circuit sports department, called the resurgence of the GT World Cup “great news”. “The number of manufacturers involved and the cars homologated make the GT3 platform the FIA’s most successful customer racing category,” he said.
“It is therefore important that it has its pinnacle in the form of a standalone sprint format event awarding an FIA World Cup title. The importance of the GT3 class is set to grow further, so the return of FIA racing to the streets of Macau is a hugely positive development for all parties involved.”