Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
Special feature

Friday favourite: The magic of a high-commitment street track

Widely regarded as one of the world's greatest challenges, the Macau Guia Circuit is the latest track selected in Autosport's Friday Favourite series by BMW factory driver Augusto Farfus

Augusto Farfus, BMW Team Schnitzer BMW 320si

Augusto Farfus, BMW Team Schnitzer BMW 320si

Malcolm Griffiths / Motorsport Images

A winner on the famously tricky street track in touring cars and GTs, with Alfa Romeo and BMW, Augusto Farfus is well-qualified when it comes to Macau.

“Either you love it or you hate it,” he says. And Farfus is firmly in the former camp.

“I am a guy who likes flowing high speed tracks, and at Macau, besides Lisboa and Melco Hairpin, most of the corners are medium- to high-speed, or flowing corners,” explains the Brazilian, who has missed the last two iterations of the annual Grand Prix event held at the Guia circuit due to harsh travel restrictions imposed in light of the pandemic.

“When you have the car edgy and on a tendency of oversteer because of the bumps, that’s where I feel the most comfortable. If you bring me to a track where it is constant understeer, I’m not a huge fan. And that is a track where you have the car which always tends to step out. It’s where I somehow feel good.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly therefore, Farfus doesn’t hesitate in picking out the ultra-fast Mandarin right-hand sweeper leading into the first heavy braking zone at Lisboa as his favourite corner.

“In GTs, it can be flat, but you need massive commitment,” he says. “It’s a corner where you can really make a difference because if you get that one right, you can easily gain another three or four tenths just on the following straight from the momentum.”

Farfus made himself at home on the circuit straightaway, taking victory in the feature race of the 2005 World Touring Car Championship finale.

Farfus won at his first visit to Macau in 2005 with Alfa Romeo

Farfus won at his first visit to Macau in 2005 with Alfa Romeo

Photo by: Motorsport Images

“I remember back then at the press conference a journalist told me there was another guy who won Macau at the first attempt and that was Ayrton Senna,” Farfus recalls. “That means quite a lot. For me it was a very emotional and important achievement. And then since then Macau has always treated me very well.”

He won again in 2009, this time the reversed-grid sprint race, and took an emotional GT World Cup victory in 2018, the final race attended by long-time Schnitzer boss Charly Lamm before his planned retirement. He sadly died just two months later.

"Macau is about being opportunistic in qualifying with an incredible lap and getting lap one right. And that’s why Macau is so special" Augusto Farfus

“It goes without saying the last race with Schnitzer and Charly and winning the World Cup there is the cherry on top of the cake,” adds Farfus. “Then in 2019 I went again back and I didn’t qualify very well, we didn’t have a good BoP and we knew it would be pretty much impossible [to win].

“If you see the race result, there is the two Mercedes P1, P2 and I was P4 by a gap of 20 seconds. If you were very good in the last two corners, and Mandarin, you could kind of cover your back. And that’s what I did.”

To Farfus, the magic of Macau is not about the overtaking - “in touring cars it’s a bit more of you push, you bang, you squeeze” - but the special feeling of nailing a lap in qualifying, a preciously rare occasion due to the almost guarantee of red flags that scupper laps.

“Macau is about being opportunistic in qualifying with an incredible lap and getting lap one right,” he says. “And that’s why Macau is so special.”

Track evolution over the weekend is “massive” so being on it when the track is in a good condition - knowing you may not get another chance with red flags - is crucial for a good starting position.

“You cannot go out when the session is green and say, ‘I prepare the lap’. You go out and you push because you don’t know if you can have another one,” relays Farfus. “When the track is green, you go!

Read Also:

“It happened a couple of times in touring cars where do the lap, then the engineer says, ‘Let’s put another set and go again’. But in the car you’re thinking, ‘There’s no way I can improve that lap!’ You say, ‘Of course yes’ and you always try, but you know that lap you have put on, it is the lap.

“There is probably two or three tenths to shave off, but there is a massive wall waiting for you…”

Farfus relishes the challenge of a qualifying lap on Macau's sinuous streets

Farfus relishes the challenge of a qualifying lap on Macau's sinuous streets

Photo by: Sutton Images

Be part of Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Factory Mercedes ace Gounon joins RAM for 2022 British GT season
Next article Lucas Auer re-signed by Mercedes in GT3 roster for 2022

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe