PIRELLI RETURNS TO MACAU FOR THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN OF GT AND FORMULA 3
Pirelli returns to the Macau Grand Prix this weekend, as the winner of a multi-year tender to supply the FIA GT World Cup, with the Italian firm also supplying tyres for the Formula 3 World Cup. Both events need no introduction, as the world’s most prestigious races in their respective categories, with Pirelli at the forefront since they each gained FIA status.
The list of previous winners underlines the event’s reputation: since the FIA GT World Cup was inaugurated eight years ago the victors have included GT champions such as Raffaele Marciello and Augusto Farfus, while the Formula 3 race – which dates back to 1983 – has Formula 1 multiple world champions such as Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher as previous holders of the trophy.
This unique history, combined with the incredible challenge of the 6.120-kilometre circuit, makes Macau an emblematic event on the world stage. A total of five different manufacturers will contest the GT category – although a non-German manufacturer is yet to win – while the Formula 3 race uses the same specification of car as seen on the F1 support race package this year.
Pirelli has years of experience in both categories, having supplied the FIA Formula 3 Championship since 2019 (as well as the GP3 Series since 2010), and making its debut in what was then known as the FIA GT Championship in the mid-2000s.
PIRELLI ALL OVER THE WORLD
The 70th Macau Grand Prix weekend from November 18-19 is one of the busiest that Pirelli will experience all year, with the Formula 1 team marking its return to Las Vegas for the first time since 1982, while the World Rally Championship squad is in action at the season-closer in Japan. At the same time, Pirelli showcases both GT3 and Formula 3 in Macau at one of the most demanding events of the year: part of more than 340 championships that the Italian firm is involved in worldwide, on both two and four wheels.
The Macau Guia street circuit is well-known as one of the most fearsome tracks in the history of motorsport, thanks to its combination of flat-out straights and twisty sections up in the hills. Being a street track, the barriers are close and the grip is variable: there are also some incredibly narrow sections such as the Melco hairpin, which is only seven metres wide. Add in the chance of changeable weather, and it’s easy to see just why Macau has written itself into the history books.
THE TYRES AND SCHEDULE
The 21 GT3 cars will use the tried and trusted Pirelli P Zero DHF tyres that have been successfully raced all around the world in America, Asia, Europe, and Australia throughout 2023, in national championships as well as the GT World Challenge and the DTM. This tyre was introduced last year to accommodate the massive technical evolutions within the GT3 category, showcasing adaptability to all the different eligible cars as well as sustainability. On top of the slick P Zero, the drivers also have the Cinturato WHA available for wet weather. The FIA GT World Cup competitors have five sets of slick tyres available to them throughout the weekend (consisting of two half-hour free practice sessions on Thursday, a half-hour qualifying session on Friday, a 12-lap qualification race on Saturday, and the 16-lap World Cup on Sunday) plus three sets of wets.
The 27 Formula 3 cars will use the medium-compound P Zero slick, as also used in the FIA Formula 3 championship. This year’s Formula 3 tyres have been designed to allow young drivers to grow their talent on the most demanding tracks, with a Cinturato wet-weather tyre available as well in case of rain. The FIA F3 World Cup competitors have four sets of tyres available to them throughout the weekend (consisting of a 40-minute free practice session on Thursday, two 40-minute qualifying sessions on Thursday and Friday, a 10-lap qualification race on Saturday, and the 15-lap World Cup on Sunday) plus three sets of wets.
MATTEO BRAGA, PIRELLI MOTORSPORT CIRCUIT ACTIVITY MANAGER:
“We are delighted to be heading back to the legend that is Macau. This is one of the most demanding tracks on the international calendar due to its supremely challenging combination of flat-out straights as well as twistier sections that are also extremely fast: all on normal street asphalt with variable grip. The cars tend to run a low downforce setup while the close walls take no prisoners; this requires an extremely precise, reliable, and driveable tyre that is capable of adapting itself to a wide variety of circumstances and potential weather conditions. Luckily, we are able to rely on the global experience gained from the numerous GT championships that we take part in, as well as our agreement to supply the FIA Formula 3 Championship for the past five years. With drivers and teams of world-class calibre, this is set to be an extremely closely fought weekend where every element of the car, including the tyres, will play a key role in the final outcome.”