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Macau GP hat-trick "secondary" to Ticktum on F3 return

Two-time Macau Grand Prix winner Dan Ticktum cannot remember looking forward to a race with as much excitement as his attempt to grab an historic hat-trick this weekend.

Race winner Dan Ticktum, Motopark Academy

The Briton, who currently competes in Formula E, has agreed a Macau return with Rodin Carlin for this weekend’s blue-ribband F3 Grand Prix around the famous Guia circuit. 

Following his successes in 2017 and 2018, Ticktum has the opportunity to become the first driver in Macau history to take three wins in the F3 event. 

But he says that the prospect of a record-breaking feat is actually only a secondary motivation for him agreeing to return to F3 – and it’s the thrill of racing in Macau that was actually a bigger spur. 

Asked by Autosport about the motivations for a Macau comeback, Ticktum said: “Go and win three times obviously is what everyone is saying, but that's more of a secondary goal really. It's just the most exciting race that a driver can ever do in their life. 

“I've spoken to a couple of the drivers who are here now, obviously, on that ladder to F1, and they asked me: 'What do you think?' I say to them: 'You don't realise how good this place is. So don't take it for granted.'

“Plus, Trevor [Carlin] asked me to do it. And I know that his F3 team has been struggling for a little bit. I've always obviously got on very well with the guys at Carlin, and I want to try to put the car where they believe it should be.”  

Ticktum is coming off the back of a fairly encouraging season in FE with perennial backmarkers NIO 333, where he made a strong impression and has been retained as the outfit rebrands to ERT. 

Dan Ticktum, Motopark Academy

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Dan Ticktum, Motopark Academy

But with him being open about the difficulties faced during the most recent campaign, he said there is a very different feeling in how he is approaching the forthcoming weekend. 

“I've done pretty well, considering what we've got,” he said, reflecting on the FE season just gone.  

“It has been very tough, and I can't say too much about honest feelings, but obviously it's just not the best car in the world to drive.  

“Some of the tracks and the events are fantastic but I can't remember the last time I was looking forward to a race this much.” 

Ticktum’s career path is on a different trajectory to the last time when he raced at Macau back in 2019. 

Back then, sights were set on F1 and he duly went on to achieve wins in F2, and finish fourth in the championship in 2021, before opportunities dried up and he switched to FE. 

While a Macau victory would be unlikely to resurrect his F1 ambitions, he thinks it would act as a useful reminder to many of his ultimate potential. 

Dan Ticktum, Motopark Academy

Photo by: James Gasperotti / Motorsport Images

Dan Ticktum, Motopark Academy

“I don't think winning will be bad for my career, but I don't think it's going to help massively in terms of finding a better drive for F2, because that's not where I'm heading anymore,” he said. 

“I just think it's another chance for me to prove that I'm a lot better than some people think I am, and that maybe I should have been in F1 or whatever.  

“But I don't think about that too much these days. It's just that I wanted to do it. I wanted to do it for Trevor, to help his team, and it's a fantastic opportunity to actually do a race that I enjoy.” 

Ticktum knows he faces a big challenge to get up to speed this weekend, as he hasn’t raced in F3 since he last competed at the Macau Grand Prix in 2019. 

But he feels that the opportunity to take on Macau again could not be turned down, as he dismissed any talk of it being a step down for him. 

“Obviously, I am past F3, and everyone was saying, why is he going down? But it's not a case of going down.  

“F3 is still one of the best race cars in the world, and it is going around the best race track in the world. So,  it's not the right way to look at it. It's just a fantastic event. I feel very lucky.  

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“I know I've not been in the car for a long time, and haven’t had much time to prepare, but Macau is its own thing in a way. It’s not something you can really prepare for.  

“I don't feel like I'm at much of a disadvantage compared to other drivers. I'm going to see how it goes, but I don't think I'll be slow.  

“I honestly don't know. I'll just tick every box along the way and hopefully, the package will be good enough. I'm sure it will be.”

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