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Verschoor tops Macau entry in bid for second win

Formula 2 race winner Richard Verschoor heads the entry list for the revived Macau Grand Prix as he bids to become the fifth two-time winner of the classic’s Formula 3 era. 

Richard Verschoor

The race, which takes place on 18-19 November, fell victim to the COVID pandemic and international travel restrictions in Macau from 2020-22, meaning that 2019 winner Verschoor is effectively defending his crown as he steps back to F3. 

The 22-year-old Dutchman is returning to Trident, the team with which he was a race winner in F2 in 2022 before moving to Van Amersfoort Racing this season, during which he has also taken a victory. 

“Many people advised me not to do it, but I like a challenge,” Verschoor told Autosport. 

“Even before I won the race in 2019, I loved the atmosphere and the track and everything about it. I said I’d never get the same experience or feeling again that I got in Macau anywhere else. 

“I know Trident and Giacomo Ricci [team boss] very well, and we were all very excited to make it happen. That’s one of the reasons I signed with them, because they were pushing a lot.” 

If he wins, Verschoor will join Edoardo Mortara, Felix Rosenqvist, Antonio Felix da Costa and Dan Ticktum as fellow two-time Macau F3 GP victors. 

He is one of four F2 drivers stepping back to F3 to contest the event: Roman Stanek joins him at Trident, while Zane Maloney and Isack Hadjar line up with Rodin Carlin and Hitech respectively. Of these, only 2022 FIA F3 runner-up Maloney has taken part in the category’s recent official post-season tests at Barcelona and Jerez. 

Ticktum, who will race with the rebranded ERT team in Formula E next season, is also returning to the event to race for Rodin Carlin.

F3 action at Macau

Photo by: Motorsport Images

F3 action at Macau

“I won’t have the option to do any testing, which definitely doesn’t make it any easier,” added Verschoor, “but driving a car in Macau feels very different to anywhere else anyway. 

“I’m not going there expecting to win – I’m just going to enjoy it and do my best, because a lot of adaptation will be needed.” 

With Trident’s 2023 F3 champion Gabriel Bortoleto not on the entry list, the Italian squad has completed its line-up with the Brazilian’s fellow McLaren F1 protege Ugo Ugochukwu, the 16-year-old American stepping up after clinching the three-round Euro 4 title for Formula 4 cars at Barcelona last weekend. 

F3 runner-up Zak O’Sullivan does not currently have a place in the entry either, although four of the 27 cars still have drivers to be nominated. O’Sullivan’s 2023 team Prema Racing will field regulars Paul Aron, the Mercedes F1 junior who was third in the championship this season, and Ferrari Driver Academy prospect Dino Beganovic, along with Alpine-backed Gabriele Mini, who transfers from Hitech back to the team with which he won the 2020 Italian F4 title. 

MP Motorsport, which carried Verschoor to victory in 2019, is spearheaded by Williams junior Franco Colapinto, who was fourth in this season’s F3 points. Other F3 frontrunners from 2023 include Campos Racing pair Pepe Marti and Oliver Goethe, Luke Browning with Hitech, and ART Grand Prix duo Christian Mansell and Gregoire Saucy. 

Two sons of former Macau GP racers who went on to become F1 stars are entered: F3 regular and Red Bull Junior Sebastian Montoya (son of Juan Pablo) switches to Hitech, while Charlie Wurz (son of Alexander) moves up to make his race debut in FIA F3 machinery with Jenzer Motorsport. 

Jenzer also fields GB3 race winner and occasional F3 racer Max Esterson, while Euroformula Open champion Noel Leon has his first race in an FIA F3 car with VAR – one of the Mexican’s team-mates is Sophia Florsch, who returns to Macau for a second time since her horrific 2018 accident. 

Completing the 23 drivers currently confirmed are F3 regulars Nikola Tsolov (ART), Mari Boya (MP) and Tommy Smith (VAR), while Matias Zagazeta steps up from Formula Regional European with Jenzer. 

The remaining seats to be filled are at Rodin Carlin (two), MP and Hitech (one apiece).

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