Carlin will enter four cars in next month’s Macau Grand Prix, which for the 63rd running will be branded the FIA Formula Three World Cup. Carlin will be returning to the infamous circuit with 2012 champion António Félix da Costa on board for the British team who will be joined by Sérgio Sette Câmara and already confirmed British drivers Lando Norris and Jake Hughes.
Having already confirmed Norris and Hughes earlier this month, it is with great excitement that Carlin welcome Félix da Costa back to the team – the Portuguese driver emphatically won the Macau GP in 2012 with Carlin and has raced with the squad in GP3 in the past. Félix da Costa has spent the 2016 season racing with success in the FIA Formula E Championship as well as the DTM Series as a BMW Motorsport driver. The return to Formula Three machinery late next month will be Félix da Costa’s fifth turn around the tricky street circuit which continues to draw talented drivers back in to its’ clutches year after year as they all aim to tame the legendary circuit.
Félix da Costa said of the race, “Macau is a special place, it’s just pure driving. The adrenaline rush you feel when you’re driving between those walls is a feeling you don’t get anywhere else. There is no aim as such in going back for me; I’m just doing it for the love of the sport, so when I got the call from Trevor a few weeks ago I couldn’t say no. There will also be a few fellow Macau winners going back, as well as a lot of young up and coming guys too so it will be a fun weekend. I’m looking forward to being back with the guys in blue. I would like to thank BMW Motorsport for the freedom and supporting my Macau comeback.”
Red Bull Junior Sette Câmara will also join the team following a 2016 season spent racing in the FIA Formula Three European Championship which has seen him grace the podium twice. Sette Câmara has already competed at the Macau Grand Prix in an impressive rookie showing last year which not only saw him set the fastest lap but also claim his place in the history books, setting a new lap record in a Formula Three car. The Brazilian racer had a strong opening race of the event – taking the flag in sixth position however luck wasn’t on his side during the Grand Prix itself despite showing such pace.
Sette Câmara said, “Macau is definitely the most awaited F3 race of the season. The atmosphere is amazing and the prestige you gain by winning means everyone puts in maximum effort. It is amazing to race in such a high performance environment. Last year was my first time in Macau; I was very competitive through the weekend and scored the lap record of the circuit. This year I carry the experience with me, and I am racing with such a successful team like Carlin, powered with the Volkswagen Spiess engines which always perform well! I’m feeling very confident with that package.”
Félix da Costa and Sette Câmara will line up alongside already confirmed drivers Norris and Hughes who have also enjoyed strong seasons in their own right. Norris has wrapped up a total of three championship titles this year including the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC cup. Norris recently made his Formula Three debut with Carlin in order to fully qualify for the FIA F3 World Cup Macau Grand Prix – setting the fastest lap of the race and keeping the pace of the front runners throughout. Norris, the 2015 MSA Formula Champion with Carlin, has raced in a multitude of championships with race winning success and will celebrate his 17th birthday just one week before the event.
Norris said, “I really enjoyed my debut in the Formula Three car at Hockenheim and despite having to start from the pit lane for the races we definitely showed a lot of pace in the car over the course of the weekend. I can’t wait to get back in the F3 car at Macau – I’ve heard so many great stories about the track and the challenges it brings but as always, we’re going to prepare well as a team before we even get there so we’re ready. Obviously it’s going to be a challenge but it’s one I’m really looking forward to and it will round off an amazing season.”
Also confirmed is Hughes who made his Formula Three debut last weekend with Carlin at the Hockenheimring. Hughes, a Formula 3 rookie, jumped into the Volkswagen powered Dallara with incredible ease and qualified on the front row of the grid in a hotly contested session. Hughes continued to impress when he converted his speedy pace in to a strong podium finish to round off the FIA Formula Three European season. Hughes has also been racing well in the ongoing GP3 Series this season which has seen him already take one victory.
Hughes said of the race in Macau, “I cannot wait to get my first experience of Macau in a few weeks! It has been on the top of my bucket list for a long time and I can’t thank everyone at Carlin enough for giving me the opportunity. Obviously it will be a big learning curve for me but I will leave no stone unturned in preparation to make sure I go there and fight for the best possible result”
The FIA F3 World Cup Macau Grand Prix takes place from the 17th November with the main event itself taking place on Sunday 20th November.