Macau Grand Prix
The Macau Grand Prix is a motor-racing event held annually in November in the streets of Macau. It is known for being the only street circuit racing event in which both car and motorcycle races are held. Every year more than three hundred racing drivers and riders gather for the annual event.
One of the highlights of the race weekend is the Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix, which features many national Formula 3 champions and drivers around the world. Due to the challenging nature of the circuit, which consists of fast straights (a Formula 3 car can reach a top speed of 260mph at the end of this stretch), tight corners and uncompromising crash barriers, the Macau Grand Prix is famously known as one of the most demanding circuits in the world. Many current or former Formula One drivers have participated in the event early in their careers and some of them have won the prestigious prize. Famous winners include Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher, Takuma Sato and Riccardo Patrese.
Since 2005, the double-header Guia Race, which traditionally features touring cars from world-renowned car manufacturers, has officially become the final two races of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC).
The Macau Grand Prix was originally conceived in 1954 as a treasure hunt around the streets of the city, but shortly after it was suggested that the hunt's track could host an amateur racing event for local motor enthusiasts. The race continued as an amateur race until 1966, when Belgian driver Mauro Bianchi entered the race with a car by Renault Sport, mostly to promote Renault's image in Hong Kong. This led to more and more professional teams entering the Grand Prix.
The motorcycle race was introduced in 1967, and in that year the first fatal tragedy struck the race: double champion Dodjie Laurel was killed when he lost control of his car and crashed. This raised the alarm for more safety improvements for the race.
The first Guia race for touring cars was held in 1972. Macau's Guia Race for touring cars is a particular race for this category, as very few races with these cars are held on street circuits. Since 2005 the race has officially become the final two rounds of FIA World Touring Car Championship.
In 1983, it was decided by the organisers that since Formula Atlantic was becoming obsolete, the race would be held as a Formula 3 event. Initially, they wanted to run a F2 race, but as they were unwilling to make any large circuit modifications, which included cutting down trees, the organisers settled for F3. This turned out to be a right decision, given the fact that since then it has raised the reputation of the event in the motorsport world by attracting the best young drivers from Europe and Japan to compete in the event. The first F3 race was won by a young Ayrton Senna. The race in 1990 was a memorable one, as Michael Schumacher and Mika Häkkinen were involved in a controversial incident when they were in positions 1 and 2 going into the final lap. At the main straight just after the Mandarin Oriental Bend, Häkkinen hit the back of Schumacher's car and crashed out when he attempted to overtake Schumacher. Schumacher's car was able to continue with its rear wing damaged and eventually won the race with the best aggregate time. Other notable winners include Formula One drivers David Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher and Takuma Sato. Since the introduction of F3 races, the Macau GP has gradually become a stepping stone for many F3 drivers to higher class motor-racing competitions such as the GP2 series and Formula 1.
Teddy Yip was one of the main forces behind the Macau Grand Prix back in '70s and 80s, leading the Grand Prix to be one of the world's most famous motor racing events. The Macau Grand Prix parties he hosted for many years at his home also became a central part of the social aspect of the Grand Prix.
The Macau Grand Prix race weekend normally starts on a Thursday and ends on a Sunday on the second or third week of November. The first two days (Thursday and Friday) are generally scheduled for practicing and qualifying. All races are held on Saturday and Sunday, with the final rounds of the heavyweights Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix and the Guia Race (scheduled to be the final 2 rounds of the FIA World Touring Car Championship since 2005) held on the last day. Both the Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix and the Guia Race are sanctioned by the FIA and the winner of the Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix is awarded the FIA Intercontinental Cup. Apart from the two major races held at the race weekend, the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix is also one of the highlights of the weekend since it features former or current racers of the Superbike World Championship. Other races include the Formula BMW Pacific race, and for locals and Hong Kong drivers who want a slice of the action, Interport Race for novices, CTM Cup race the experienced.
Newly introduced into the 2008 race is the Road Sport Challenge for popular sport compact cars commonly associated with the tuner market, Macau GT Cup for GT3 cars.
Races that have been held in the past but have since been discountinued includes the ATCS race, Supercar Cup for road going exotic sports cars, the Formula V6 Asia race, the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia race, the scooter race for locals and in the past but on an less than frequent basis, a Jackie Chan endorsed race for celebrity drivers involving Mitsubishis, in which Chan hold a sponsorship deal with.
The Guia Circuit
Characteristics: A street circuit with a combination of fast straights and tight corners. It is recognised as one of the most challenging circuits in the world.
- Length: 3.8 miles (6.2 km)
- Minimum width: 22.8 feet (7 m)
- Formula 3 Lap Record: 2:11.744 (Marko Asmer, 2007/Dallara-Mercedes-HWA)
- Motorcycle Lap Record: 2:26.096 (John McGuinness, 2007/Honda CBR1000RR)
- Guia Race Lap Record: 2:29.253 (Steve Soper, 1997/BMW 320i)
- Porsche Carrera Cup Record: 2:27.343 (Darryl O'Young, 2007/Porsche 911 GT3 Cup)
- John MacDonald Only person who won all international races of Macau; Macau Grand Prix (1965, 1972, 1973 and 1975), Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix (1969) and Guia Race (1972).
- Jörg Müller 1993 Macau F3 winner; 2004 & 2006 Guia Race winner
Other famous GP participants
- Alan Jones 1976 4th, 1977, 1978 Pole Position
- Masahiro Hasemi 1982 Formula Atlantic runner-up & 1990 Guia Race winner
- Gerhard Berger 1983 Third; 1985 Guia Runner-up
- Jean-Louis Schlesser 1983
- Martin Brundle 1983
- Ivan Capelli 1984 5th
- René Arnoux 1985 6th
- Pierluigi Martini 1986
- Bernd Schneider 1986; 1987 3rd
- Jean Alesi 1986; 1987; 1988
- Damon Hill 1987; 1988 Runner-up
- Johnny Herbert 1987
- Karl Wendlinger 1988; 1989
- JJ Lehto 1988
- Alex Zanardi 1988; 1989
- Allan McNish 1989
- Mika Häkkinen 1989;1990 Winner of 1st leg; Fastest lap
- Mika Salo 1990 Runner-up
- Eddie Irvine 1990 3rd
- Keiichi Tsuchiya 1990
- Rubens Barrichello 1991 5th
- Jacques Villeneuve 1992 Third
- Giancarlo Fisichella 1994
- Jarno Trulli 1995 Runner up; 1996 3rd
- Pedro de la Rosa 1995
- Alexander Wurz 1995
- Nick Heidfeld 1996
- Juan Pablo Montoya 1996
- Mark Webber 1997 4th*
- Jenson Button 1999 Runner-up
- Sébastien Bourdais 1999
- Heikki Kovalainen 2002 2nd
- Nelson Angelo Piquet 2003, 2004
- Robert Kubica 2004 second, 2005 second
- Lewis Hamilton 2004 Winner of first race
- Nico Rosberg 2004 Second in first race
- Sebastian Vettel 2005 3rd
- Adrian Sutil 2006 3rd
- Kazuki Nakajima 2006
- Arsenio Laurel, the first two-time consecutive GP champion, was also the first casualty of the Macau GP when his car lost control and crashed on the wall. A bust of his likeness is on display at the Macau GP Museum.
- The Guia Circuit is featured in PC games 'RACE - The Official WTCC Game' and 'RACE 07 - The Official WTCC Game' from SimBin Studios.
- Albert and Diana Poon both started in the 1976 Macau Grand Prix. The only couple race the same race in the Macau Grand Prix history.<ref>Colour and Noise, 40 years of the Macau Grand Prix. by Philip Newsome. 1993. ISBN 9627460052</ref>
- 19 out of 22 Formula One drivers in 2007 had previously participated in the Macau F3 GP.
- The Guia Circuit was the setting for the motorcycle race in the 1989 Hong Kong movie All About Ah Long.
- Gerhard Berger considered the 1983 Macau Grand Prix the race of his life
- Due to its narrow nature and subsequent accidents in the Lisboa Corner, Emmanuel Pirro tried some laps in the opposite direction in 1989
- The F3 race once attracted active F1 drivers; Rene Arnoux competed in 1985, Ivan Capelli and Pierluigi Martini in 1986 and Julian Bailey in 1989
- In 1993, notorious Triad leader and competitor, Andely Chan, nicknamed "Tiger of Wan Chai" and was the leader of Sun Yee On gang, was shot dead with one of his mechanic in a gang hit at the parking lot of his hotel in the late night, several hours after he was disqualified of his second place of a race for local drivers, after illegal modification was discovered in his car.