Erebus Motorsport has confirmed its brand of motorsport is firmly entrenched in Asian GT Racing after a challenging City of Dreams Macau GT Cup at the Guia Circuit today.
With the team being joined by two times Formula 1 World Champion, Mika Hakkinen, five times DTM Champion, Bernd Schneider and former Macau Grand Prix winner, David Brabham the stakes were high for Maro Engel and Renger van der Zande.
Another Safety Car followed on the next green lap before the pace of the race was able to be established.
Engel was extending his lead over the Porsche of Alexandre Imperatori, whilst 28-year-old Dutchman van der Zande was stretching the legs of his #63 Erebus Motorsport SLS AMG GT3.
Just after half race distance, drama struck for Engel. The carbon fibre debris from the numerous incidents saw his front left tyre deflate. He was forced to a standstill at the top of the hill much to the disappointment of the Erebus Motorsport AMG Customer Sports team.
With a gutted Engel out of harm’s way, the race was able to continue on with the focus on the charging van der Zande who was embroiled in a battle with Imperatori and the defending Champion, Edoardo Mortara.
The trio approached a car to be lapped at the notorious Melco Hairpin, which is strictly one car wide. This banked Imperatori into Mortara and van der Zande, with the star Dutchman attempting to take advantage of the situation as it presented itself.
The ensuing drama between the top three gave McLaren’s Danny Watts some impetus from nowhere to challenge for a podium. Mortara got to the lead heading into the last lap, whilst van der Zande had dropped back to fourth in the melee.
With just a handful of corners remaining, van der Zande went for a huge outside move on Imperatori.
The gamble didn’t pay off. Imperatori turned the purple and black #63 SLS AMG GT3 hard into the wall and out of the race.
Both drivers returned to the pit area absolutely gutted, but received the acclaim of the team, Hakkinen, Schneider and Brabham for their efforts throughout the weekend.
They proved once again the power of the AMG Customer Sports program and the engineering prowess of the Australian Erebus Motorsport team.
The livestream provided by AMG China continued to set new records with the team and AMG receiving well wishes and feedback from all corners of the globe.
Whilst the City of Dreams Macau GT Cup turned into a nightmare for the Erebus Motorsport team, it walks away with its head held high.
From two events it has competed in Asia, two pole positions, one race win and the fastest ever GT lap at Macau have been netted.
The team now sets its sights on the future and preparing for the next GT adventure – which will be at the Bathurst 12 Hour in February, where Erebus Motorsport will be attempting to make it two wins in a row.
Asia has been a stunning challenge for the whole team and Erebus Motorsport leaves with its flag firmly planted in the region and a platform established for future growth in the market with AMG Customer Sports.
FROM BENEATH THE GULLWING:
Renger van der Zande - #63 SLS AMG GT3: "It was an OK start, between gaining a result and walking away with nothing is just a few millimetres.
"I was in third and controlling my race and waiting for my attack on second whilst Maro was leading.
"It was a real shame for him. After he went out, I absolutely went for it. I really had to go for the win for Erebus Motorsport. It was a big mess when the backmarkers came.
"I made my move into turn one and braked very late and then Imperatori got into the back of me and pushed me into the wall.
"What can you say? It's really bad for the result obviously, it could have been a one-two but we go home with nothing. That is racing though.
"The only thing I can say is that I am very impressed with the Erebus team, they gave me a very fast SLS AMG GT3.
"I think we can all walk away saying that we have some unfinished business here."
Maro Engel - #36 SLS AMG GT3: "Both myself and the team haven't put a foot wrong all weekend long and produced an awesome performance - smashing the lap record, putting the SLS AMG GT3 on pole by eight tenths of a second in its Macau debut and leading the race comfortably by two seconds...
"Unfortunately, we picked up debris and got a puncture. That's racing, it's the side that none of us want to experience.
"We put our best foot forward, we were on our A-game all weekend and we showed we were the quickest guys here. Unfortunately Macau had different plans for us.
"To look at a positive - what an awesome experience it has been. It is the most amazing of tracks here I absolutely loved every single lap here. Again, working with the Erebus Motorsport GT team was amazing as well.
"It is just a great team, a great family and it was a pleasure driving that car, which I think was reflected in the phenomenal lap times we could produce.
"I just felt very comfortable in the Erebus Motorsport SLS AMG GT3 and was pushing it like crazy for most of those 6.1 kilometres..."