Laurens Vanthoor with Signature in Macau

"I intend finishing off the season on a high in Macau"

The 56th Macau Grand Prix F3 is being held from 19th through to 22nd November, the annual high mass for the world's fastest F3 drivers. Last year Laurens Vanthoor had already created a furore being the youngest competitor to have ever managed a sixth place. This season the German F3 champion Vanthoor will be on the grid for the second consecutive time, this time in a Dallara VW from the French Signature team, Philippe Sinault's highly successful team.

One year ago:

"I became the youngest driver ever to finish sixth, on a highly difficult and tiring circuit. I recall arriving in Macau having the feeling that I still had everything to learn. Everything there was so unique, the track, the atmosphere, a new team..." Vanthoor recalls. "But I grew throughout the Grand Prix and finally clinched sixth place. I still look back on that with pride, because Macau is a highly difficult and unforgiving circuit, with the world's best drivers on the grid. Only this season I will need to do better so as not to disappoint my entourage and myself."

The Macau Grand Prix

The renowned and infamous Macau Grand Prix F3 is now in its 56th edition. For the last few years the World Touring Car Championship has also held its final round during that same weekend and Macau during that weekend is the undeniable centre of the international motorsport. Most of the present F1 drivers have in their career competed in the Macau Grand Prix F3 and several of them have won the event. Amongst some of the great names on the roll of honour we find: Senna, Schumacher, Coulthard, Sato, Patrese...

The circuit

"Macau is unique, from every point of view", Laurens Vanthoor informed us. "It is in fact a street circuit, without any run outs, with concrete walls bordering the track and on top of that it is as good as blind throughout. Due to the walls and buildings alongside the track you can hardly see what is happening at the following bend. In addition, and this is where this track differs from the more traditional street circuits, you go flat out as long as possible on the straight, whereby the cars are set-up with as little downforce as possible. However this in turn then creates problems in the slower, twistier sectors. Added to that, the track's surface hardly offers up any grip, so you can appreciate that this isn't a simple assignment."

The team

In 2010 Signature will have been on the international motorsport scene for 20 years, and in these two decennia the team around Philippe Sinault has built up a rich record of achievements. During these last twenty years Signature concentrated on single-seaters and more specifically in the world of F3, gaining 4 European titles, 1 French title, and victories in internationally renowned competitions such as the Masters Zandvoort, the Korean F3 GP and the Macau F3 Grand Prix. The team accumulated no less than 47 victories and near on 200 podium places. In addition the team also went for the title in the 2003 World Series

The ambitions

Laurens Vanthoor: "Obviously to perform better than last season, but I am fully aware that it won't be an easy assignment. Macau is a bit of a lottery, where luck plays a major role. But I want the outcome to be fully dependant on my own performance and I'm going all out for it. Furthermore Signature is a top team, as you can see from their record of achievements, which is also why I want to put in a strong performance."

-credit: lv