The tally of successes for Audi Sport customer racing in 2017 includes a string of endurance racing triumphs with the Audi R8 LMS having already clinched the overall victories at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, the Spa 24 Hours, the California 8 Hours and the GTD class win of the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. The next target is the most prestigious GT3 sprint race of the year: The FIA GT World Cup, the only world cup in GT3 competition, which will be held at Macau from November 16–19.
Renowned as a track that demands absolute concentration and precision, the Guia Circuit is draped through the city of Macau with its mixture of traditional architecture and towering modern skyscrapers. Surrounded by guard rails and a track width of only seven metres in some sections, there is no room for error on the lengthy 6.2-kilometre circuit that has a speed differential of 225 km/h between the fastest corner, the infamous Mandarin Bend at 260 km/h, and the slowest section, the Melco hairpin, which is taken in first gear at a mere 35 km/h.
The motorsport event at Macau began as a sports car event in 1954. After seven years, open-wheel cars became the main attraction. In addition, classes for touring cars and motorcycles were created during the years that followed. The Macau Grand Prix rose to international stature when the Formula 3 Grand Prix was established in 1983. In 2007, the Macau GT Cup was introduced, which was succeeded by the FIA GT World Cup in 2015.
The Audi R8 LMS represents a quarter of the 20-strong entry list that has seven different manufacturers entered for the 2017 event. Audi Sport Team WRT will enter two cars with the Dutch Macau rookie Robin Frijns and Nico Müller from Switzerland, who returns after his debut last year. Two drivers with Formula 3 experience at Macau will also add to the Audi line-up: Reigning Formula E champion and the Formula 3 race winner in 2005, Brazilian Lucas di Grassi, will drive an R8 LMS for the HCB-Rutronik Racing team. Markus Pommer from Germany, who finished fifth in the 2015 Formula 3 race at Macau, will drive for Aust Motorsport, the same team with which he drove in the 2017 ADAC GT Masters, winning one race. The fifth Audi will be driven by the reigning DMV GTC and Dunlop 60 champion, Fabian Plentz from Germany, in the second HCB-Rutronik Racing entry. On his Macau debut in 2016, Plentz finished as the second-best Audi driver in eighth overall.