ROWE RACING has closed its fantastic 2023 season with another podium at the FIA GT World Cup in the former Portuguese colony of Macau. BMW M works driver Augusto Farfus from Brazil piloted the BMW M4 GT3 with the number 11 and partially golden shimmering foiling to third place on the spectacular and unique street circuit in the gambler’s paradise on the south Chinese coast. After the third triumph at the 24 Hours of Spa, the double victory at the opening race of the GT World Challenge Europe in Monza and second place in the overall standings of the Endurance Cup, as well as the second place at the 24h Nürburgring, the race was another highlight in this extraordinary year for the team from St. Ingbert. In ten starts in 2023, ROWE RACING achieved four victories and five additional podiums.
Augusto Farfus, who won the FIA GT World Cup in 2018 and had twice triumphed at the 6.12‑kilometer‑long Circuito da Guia in the Touring Car World Championship, showcased his class and experience in the high‑caliber field. In the end, “Gustl” only had to yield to the Italo‑Swiss duo Raffaele Marciello and Edoardo Mortara. Thus, three of the five previous winners occupied the podium places. Laurens Vanthoor, who was second in the last awarding of the GT World Cup by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) before a three‑year Corona break with ROWE RACING, finished sixth. Maro Engel retired from second place due to a technical defect.
Augusto Farfus had to fight his way forward on Sunday just as he had in the qualifying race the day before. At the rolling start, he initially got away well from position four but then lost a lot of momentum due to contact in the first left turn and fell back to sixth place. However, he kept his nerve and waited for his chance, which came after the only safety car phase at the restart into the tenth lap. While Maro Engel could not accelerate and unintentionally slowed down all drivers behind him up to the start-finish line, Augusto Farfus then also passed the Spaniard Daniel Serra and thus moved up two positions. When BMW M works driver colleague Sheldon van der Linde had to head to the pits with a tyre damage a round later, he took over third place and confidently brought it home.
“With the podium at the Macau premiere of the BMW M4 GT3, we can be satisfied. The field at the FIA GT World Cup was extremely strong, and Augusto Farfus, with all his experience, drove to third place against the high‑caliber competition. Congratulations to him and the ROWE RACING team,” said Andreas Roos, Head of BMW M Motorsport: “The BMW M4 GT3 has once again proven that it is good for top placements on all tracks worldwide. We will come back and then hopefully fight for the victory.”
Already on Saturday in the qualifying race, Augusto Farfus showed a spectacular catch‑up. Right from the start, he moved up from eighth to fifth place despite slight contact with the guardrail. Later, after a wall contact from Dani Juncadella, he passed the Spaniard with a millimeter perfect manoeuvre, which even cost him the left outside mirror, thereby securing fourth place.
Hans-Peter Naundorf, Team Principal ROWE RACING: “To return to the podium directly after a three‑year hiatus of the FIA GT World Cup at the comeback in Macau is a fantastic achievement and a great season finale. We are thrilled to achieve such a result together with a driver like Augusto Farfus and BMW M Motorsport in such a strong field. Everyone on our team can be proud to be among the absolute best. Today’s race was our best performance this weekend, and Augusto truly deserved the podium. Congratulations to Raffaele Marciello, who won with a flawless performance. A big thank you goes to the organizers in Macau, the FIA and the SRO for reviving this great event, with high‑caliber drivers, numerous ambitious manufacturers, and such a show. It was a unique experience for all of us.”
Augusto Farfus (#11 ROWE RACING BMW M4 GT3): “This is a great way to end the season. I can leave Macau, this very special and always emotional place for me, with a smile. On Saturday, I managed to get myself into fourth place, putting me in a position to compete for the podium in the Main Race on Sunday. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much space on the outside at the start and nearly had an accident. After that, I took a more cautious approach and hoped for a restart after a yellow phase. That did happen, and I was able to use it to make up a position. Sadly, Sheldon van der Linde Sheldon and Maro Engel had problems ahead of me, which, of course, was good for me and brought me to third place.”