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Revving it up

Grand Prix competitors and enthusiasts descend on Guia Circuit for 62nd edition of annual Macau event

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 November, 2015, 10:15am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 November, 2015, 10:15am

Macau comes alive every autumn with the roar of sports car and motorcycle engines, as drivers, riders and enthusiasts descend on the former Portuguese enclave for one of the world’s most exciting sporting events.

The Macau Grand Prix takes place on the Guia Circuit on the third weekend of November each year, and is the only street circuit in which cars and motorcycles compete. The 62nd annual edition, from November 19 to 22, has attracted 231 drivers from 31 countries, including 59 locals. Practice and qualifying take place on Thursday and Friday. Racing will be on Saturday and Sunday.

Top contenders from the International Automobile Federation (FIA) Formula 3 European Championship and All-Japan Formula 3 championship will compete for the chance to race in the Macau Grand Prix on November 22. The favourites include 2014 winner Sweden’s Felix Rosenqvist, two-time winner Edoardo Mortara from Italy and 2011 champion, Spaniard Daniel Juncadella. Others in contention are Japan’s Kenta Yamashita and Mitsunori Takaboshi, Nick Cassidy of New Zealand, and Italian driver Antonio Giovinazzi.

Riccardo Patrese, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard are among the big names to have won the event.

The demanding 6.2km-long and 7m-wide Guia Circuit combines long, fast straights with sharp, tight corners. The surface can be bumpy, and there are not many spots where it is possible to overtake another car.

The circuit has two distinct features. There is more than 30 metres between its highest and lowest point, and drivers can reach speeds of 270km/h on the longest stretch.

One of the highlights of the event is the Macau Formula Three Grand Prix, which attracts some of the world's top drivers, including many champions. The winner of the Macau Formula Three Grand Prix is awarded the FIA Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup.

The first Macau Grand Prix was held in 1954 in the form of a treasure hunt. It was soon decided to change it into a race, which continued as an amateur event until 1966, when professional Belgian driver Mauro Bianchi won. More professionals showed up in the ensuing years.

Motorcycle races were added in 1967. Touring car races were added in 1972. The Macau Grand Prix has been the official final two rounds of the FIA World Touring Car Championship since 1983. The Road Sport Challenge was added in 2007. The Macau Grand Prix has been sponsored by the Suncity Group for the past 14 years.

There are two main grandstands for spectators. The main grandstand is along the pit straight. The other is at the Lisboa Bend, which features a 90-degree curve. As one of the few spots where drivers can overtake – and because of its narrow width – pile-ups are frequent at the Lisboa Curve. Many enthusiasts consider the Lisboa Bend the best vantage point.

The Macau Grand Prix Museum opened in 1993, to celebrate the race’s 40th anniversary, and has become popular with fans. It was renovated for the 50th anniversary, and is located next to the Macau Wine Museum.

The cost of tickets ranges from 50 patacas for free seating on practice days to 900 patacas for numbered seating in the Lisboa Stand on race days.

For more information go to: http://www.macau.grandprix.gov.mo/cgpm/subpage/index.php?id=131&lang=en

Club Cubic is hosting a Grand Prix After Party from November 19-22, with F3 simulators and a different DJ every night including Official Red Bull DJ Dean Fuel from South Africa. Doors open at 11.30pm. Admission costs 205 patacas, which includes one standard drink. Admission for all Grand Prix crew pass holders is free.