The Macau Prix Committee (MGPC) announced Wednesday that the 62nd Macau Grand Prix on November 19-22 will include the first FIA GT World Cup ever.
Veteran MGPC chief Joao Manuel Costa Antunes chaired a press conference at Macau Fishermen’s Wharf to announce details of the event.
An MGPC statement pointed out that when the Macau GT Cup had its debut in 2008, the race “instantly attracted the attention of the world’s foremost GT car manufacturers as well as the leading names in international sports car competition.
“This year, Macau’s remarkable achievements receive recognition of the highest order, with the city awarded the first FIA GT World Cup.
“That the newest World Cup created by the sport’s global governing body [FIA – International Automobile Federation] is for GTs reflects the enormous popularity of this category of racing, and Macau’s selection as host of the inaugural event illustrates the city’s role in promoting its reputation.”
According to FIA, a GT (“gran turismo” in Italian, which can be translated as “grand touring” into English) car is defined as a car with no more than one door on each side and at least two seats. The car must be legal to drive on the open road, and adapted for racing on circuits or closed courses.
As in previous cars, the SJM Macau GT Cup-FIA GT World Cup is for GT3-homologated cars.
Driver eligibility and format details will be announced at a later date.
“However, what is already assured is an historic moment this November when the greatest automobile names in GT competition, along with its most successful teams and accomplished drivers, assemble in Macau to contest the world’s first FIA cup for the burgeoning racing category,” the statement said.
Christian Schacht, president of the FIA GT Commission, commented that Macau was the ideal venue for the new FIA World Cup.
Addressing the press conference, Antunes said that the races this year will also include the FIA Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup which will only be held in Macau.
“We will be working with FIA to launch the first-ever FIA GT World Cup in Macau. The exciting race line-up also includes the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, the Guia Race and other support races such as the Macau Touring Car Cup, Macau Road Sport Challenge and an invitation race for celebrities,” Antunes said.
Chong Coc Veng, who heads the MGPC’s sporting sub-committee, said, “We will choose those who have obtained good results in GT races held this year. We hope the first FIA GT World Cup will choose the world’s top GT drivers and car manufacturers.”
Talking to reporters after the press conference, Antunes said he expected the budget for this year to be similar to last year’s, amounting to about 200 million patacas, adding that he expects the total revenue to increase by five to six percent.
According to Antunes, last year’s 61st Macau Grand Prix was attended by 80,000 spectators, with ticket sales generating 12 million patacas, while the total revenue of more than 51 million patacas broke the sales record for tickets over the event’s four days as well as the previous total revenue record.
Antunes also said the money received from title sponsors and other sponsors had already risen by about 13 percent from last year.
Junket operator Suncity Group will once again title-sponsor the event.
The races will also include the 49th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix and Macau Guia Race.
Antunes, the city’s former tourism chief, has headed the Grand Prix for a quarter of a century. (macaunews/macaupost)