With Windsor Arch title sponsor for the third successive year, this time as the Star River‧Windsor Arch 57th Macau Grand Prix, the event once again made history with its first ever double Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix winner, and the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix lap record smashed.
In the 27 editions of the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix since the late Ayrton Senna won the first race in 1983, never before had one man won twice.
Having made his Macau debut in 2007, Italy’s Edoardo Mortara returned the following year to finish runner-up. In 2009 he clinched victory, but once was not enough for the reigning Formula 3 Euro Series champion. Mortara vowed to claim two FIA Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup titles.
Mortara took pole position for Saturday’s qualification race. Off the grid, he did not make the best of getaways as he faced an early challenge from front row starter Valtteri Bottas, before losing the lead to Daniel Abt. However, he retook the lead into Lisboa Bend, and from there built up a comfortable cushion.
Lap three saw Vanthoor grab second from Abt, which he held until the flag. Abt meanwhile faced intense race-long pressure from the chasing pack. Merhi pulled off a bold overtaking move around the outside into Lisboa on Lap eight to grab third place, however his hopes of a podium were dashed when he slowed with a suspected puncture. That gave the position back to Abt, with Bottas coming home fourth.
The results set the grid for Sunday’s 15-lap Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix, and Mortara led away cleanly from pole and defended well into Lisboa, holding off Abt who had jumped ahead of front-row starter Vanthoor. But almost immediately the safety car was called out following a start-line incident.
The race restarted on lap three, and Mortara found himself under pressure from Abt and Vanthoor, with the pair swooping past him on the run down to Lisboa. But just a few corners later, leader Abt got it badly wrong at the Solitude Esses swiping the wall and bouncing into the barriers. With his car stranded, another safety car was called.
Mortara had better luck at the second restart on lap seven as he drafted past Vanthoor on the run to Lisboa. Vanthoor could do nothing to close the gap, and Mortara sailed across the line and into the Macau Grand Prix history books. Second was Vanthoor, with Bottas taking the final podium place.
In the FIA World Touring Car Championship – Guia Race of Macau – Presented by Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, S.A., there was plenty of drama before any of the cars even took to the track.
While the stage had been set for a championship showdown between points leader Yvan Muller of France in a Chevrolet Cruze LT and triple FIA WTCC Champion Andy Priaulx of Britain in a BMW 320si, the 2010 Drivers’ Championship was actually decided away from the race track.
Chevrolet won an appeal lodged at the FIA International Court of Appeal in Paris against a decision to allow Priaulx and team mate Augusto Farfus to use sequential gearboxes at the penultimate round in Okayama, Japan. The two drivers’ subsequent exclusion from those results gave Muller an unassailable points lead, so he arrived in Macau as the new FIA WTCC champion, the second title of his career.
However, the FIA WTCC Manufacturers’ Championship, the Yokohama Independents’ and Teams’ Trophies, and the FIA WTCC Rookie Challenge titles were all up for grabs at Macau.
Chevrolet’s Rob Huff snatched pole position for the start of the penultimate round of the season, leading home SEAT driver Norbert Michelisz, although the Hungarian moved down to seventh on the grid after a five-place grid penalty. Muller lined up alongside Huff on the grid.
Huff boosted his chances of finishing runner-up in the FIA WTCC Drivers’ Championship with a dominant victory in the first of the two races. He made a perfect getaway from pole at the rolling start to keep the lead, but the safety car was called out almost immediately following an incident.
When racing resumed at the start of lap five, Huff got away cleanly once again to build up a lead over Muller that he would keep until the flag. He was two seconds clear at the start of lap 10 when the safety car was called out again.
SEAT’s Tiago Monteiro shadowed second place Muller throughout the race, but could do nothing to overhaul the Chevrolet driver, while behind them there was a big battle for fourth. Gabriele Tarquini eventually came out on top after overtaking the struggling Augusto Farfus on the run down to Mandarin on lap eight. Farfus then lost another place to Michelisz the following lap to eventually finish sixth.
The result secured the 2010 FIA WTCC Manufacturers’ Championship for Chevrolet.
In the final round Michelisz secured his maiden win in the championship after surging past pole position man and Yokohama Independents’ Trophy winner Kristian Poulsen of Denmark at the original start, before a red flag was put out after a crash.
After a safety car restart, Michelisz was able to extend his margin over Tarquini, who managed to hold off Huff in a result that secured the Italian second place in the FIA WTCC Drivers’ Championship.
Having started eighth, Huff got up to sixth early on – and was then gifted a place by Muller on lap three, who was well aware of the battle for second place in the championship. Huff then overtook Farfus on lap six to go third but, despite closing right up on Tarquini by the final lap, he could not find a way past. That result meant he ended the season with the same points as Tarquini, but with less wins, it was his rival who finished ahead of him in the standings.
In the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix – 44th Edition, six time winner Michael Rutter came to Macau seeking a record-breaking seventh win, while two time champion Stuart Easton was on the hunt for his third Macau title.
Rutter claimed a dramatic pole position on the very last lap of the final qualifying session ahead of Easton. Another British rider, John McGuinness, was third fastest on the IGT/sorrymate.com Honda.
Rutter may have started from pole, but it was Easton who took the flag in the 44th running of one of the world’s most challenging motorcycle street races. However, he had to beat off a strong challenge from Rutter in the first part of the race until it was red flagged after six laps following an incident. At the restart, Easton made a second attempt to open up a gap over Rutter, until his rival closed in again and threatened to catch and pass the Scot.
Easton responded by quickening his pace, setting a new lap record on the seventh lap, breaking Rutter’s spirit. Toye grabbed a dramatic third place within sight of the finish line after Britain’s Simon Andrews struck mechanical problems on the final lap.
In the Macau GT Cup, Japan’s Keita Sawa took his second victory in the race after a dominant lights-to-flag run in a Lamborghini LP560 GT3, almost 15 seconds ahead of Hong Kong’s Marchy Lee in an Audi R8 LMS GT3, with Briton Danny Watts, also in an Audi, third.
The battle of the SARs in the Hotel Fortuna MAC/HKG Interport Race was won by Alvaro Mourato for Macau. Compatriots Jeronimo Badaraco and Wong Ka Hong took the remaining podium positions, giving the city a clean sweep for the third successive year.
In the CTM Macau Touring Car Race, Hong Kong’s Paul Poon took the flag ahead of Lo Ka Fai and Andy Yan, while the incident-filled Macau Road Sport Challenge was won by Japan’s Manabu Orido in a Nissan GTR-R35, followed across the line by Macau’s Sun Tit Fan and China’s Tan Wei, both driving Mitsubishi Evo 9s.
In the last ever Formula BMW Pacific race, it was Carlos Sainz Junior, son of the former World Rally Champion, who took victory ahead of his Eurointernational team mates Tomoki Nojiri of Japan and Tom Blomqvist.
Before racing got underway, the drivers and riders from the three headline races were given a chance to experience the cultural side of Macau during the traditional Wednesday meet-and-greet event. Visitors and local residents alike were able to see the competitors trying their hands at Chinese calligraphy, identifying Historic Center of Macau UNESCO World Heritage sites, and limbo dancing with two ‘pandas’ representing Giant Pandas Kai Kai and Xin Xin, a gift from Beijing to the city.
The carnival atmosphere which sweeps Macau during GP month was enhanced by a visit to the city by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao just before the event, while the city also celebrated its first ever Gold Medal in the Asian Games, being hosted by neighbouring Guangzhou.
Medallist Jia Rui led a pre-race on-track cultural parade on Sunday, waving to the crowds from an open-top electric car and leading a Dragon Dance, Portuguese folk dancing troupe, and song and dance performances.
With new chapters of history written, a lap record broken, and four exceptional days of racing, the Star River‧Windsor Arch 57th Macau Grand Prix will go down in history as one of the most exciting yet.
The 58th Macau Grand Prix was one which will be remembered for decades to come. Even by the highest standards of international motorsport, it was nothing short of phenomenal, setting new records and attracting more international attention and acclaim than ever before.
On the famous Guia Circuit, motorcycle legend Michael Rutter set a new record when he took his seventh victory, finally going one better than two-wheel hero Ron Haslam, Daniel Juncadella became the first Spaniard ever to win the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix and the FIA F3 Intercontinental Cup, and the 2011 FIA World Touring Car Championship came right down to the wire in the final race of the season.
However, even before the event got underway, a new record was set with the Grand Prix attracting an overall title sponsor, in the form of long-time supporter “SJM” and, for the first time in its history, race sponsors for each of the seven events on the prestigious calendar.
“SJM” took title sponsorship for both the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix and the two final rounds of the 2011 FIA World Touring Car Championship, which celebrated 40 years of the Guia Race, while City of Dreams teamed up with the 45th Edition of the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix. Star River●Windsor Arch lent its name to the increasingly-competitive Macau GT Cup, while Grand Prix regulars CTM and Hotel Fortuna were back as race title sponsors. Newcomer Suncity Group snapped up naming rights to the Macau Road Sport Challenge.
Adding another feather to its cap, the Grand Prix played host to the two final rounds of the new FIA Formula 3 International Trophy, the final round of which was also the FIA F3 Intercontinental Cup.
Federation International de L’Automobile Deputy President Graham Stoker visited Macau for the first time, and was impressed with what he saw on and around the Guia Circuit.
A new record was set for ticket revenue, the 54,000 spectators who flocked to the stands helping to generate MOP10 million in ticket sales, while no fewer than 65,000 people attended the Grand Prix, including teams and 1,000 media from 240 media organisations.
Even the rain, which had threatened to disrupt the busy programme, saw organisers adeptly revise the schedule so that Sunday featured an unforgettable programme of all three headline races plus the sportscars. Spectators were treated to very possibly the most exciting, diverse and prestigious line-up of races ever run in a single day.
With one of the most impressive entries in history, the “SJM” Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix was bound to be a thriller from the outset, and it didn’t disappoint.
2011 F3 Euroseries runner-up Marco Wittmann of Germany maintained the strong form he had shown in the earlier free practice to take provisional pole position early on. Newly crowned Euroseries champion Roberto Merhi of Spain, determined to conquer the Guia Circuit this time, also topped the time sheets during the session, but the German eventually bettered his lap by 0.064 seconds to secure pole position for the 10-lap Qualification Race, the penultimate round of the FIA International F3 Trophy.
Merhi was later penalised with a seven place grid penalty for an incident with Felix Rosenqvist in the first qualifying session, which meant exciting Portuguese youngster Antonio Da Costa started alongside Wittmann.
New GP3 champion Valtteri Bottas of Finland and fellow GP3 driver, Briton Alexander Sims made up the second row of the grid.
Wittmann dominated the Qualification Race, getting away perfectly from pole and only once briefly forfeiting the lead to Felipe Nasr, who had started from the third row. Da Costa fared less well after failing to get away due to a broken first gear.
Behind Wittmann and Nasr, Merhi was on a charge moving from 8th on the grid up to fourth by the end of the opening lap. Despite his best efforts though, Merhi couldn’t find a way past Nasr who crossed the line in second under the Safety Car. Bottas finished fourth ahead of Carlos Huertas of Colombia.
After a thrilling 15-lap battle for victory, Daniel Juncadella triumphed in the “SJM” Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix having made the most of a Safety Car restart to grab a lead he never relinquished.
Running fourth early on, Juncadella jumped two places following a Safety Car period on lap five, passing early front runner Wittmann after a slipstreaming battle following another Safety Car period on lap 10.
From there, Juncadella extended his advantage over second placed Nasr until the third and final Safety Car period on the final lap guaranteed him the win when the race could not be restarted. Wittmann, who had started from pole but had dropped down to fifth at one stage, recovered to finish third.
The drama began on the grid when Merhi stalled and was hit from behind by Richie Stanaway, with Laurens Vanthoor caught up in the incident. Bottas had threatened for the lead early on before he hit the wall at Lisboa and was forced to retire.
Kevin Magnussen escaped serious injury after a high speed crash into the fencing at Mandarin Bend after he clipped the back of William Buller’s car and was launched into the air, while Carlos Sainz and Hywel Lloyd crashed while attempting to avoid the incident.
The FIA World Touring Car Championship – Guia Race of Macau – Presented by “SJM” was no less dramatic.
Title contender Rob Huff and German Franz Engstler took pole position for the two final races of the season.
Huff edged out drivers’ title rival and Chevrolet team mate Yvan Muller in the first run in Q2, fighting off painful cramp in his leg to secure pole for the first race by 0.268 seconds.
Gabriele Tarquini took third in his Lukoil SEAT in his final lap of the session, to finish ahead of Hong Kong’s Darryl O’Young and Macau regular Tom Coronel in a BMW.
Setting up a thrilling climax to the season, and keeping his championship title hopes alive, Rob Huff took victory in the penultimate race of the season. In a race affected by two Safety Car periods, Huff held off a strong challenge from team mate Muller to deliver the crucial win.
Huff had edged ahead at the original start which was delayed for one lap after the cars had not formed up properly for the rolling start. However, the Safety Car was called out almost immediately after an incident between Macau driver Andre Couto and Alain Menu.
The race restarted at the beginning of lap five, but the Safety Car came out again when O’Young and Mehdi Bennani collided at Lisboa. At the restart on lap eight, Huff held his advantage over Muller to the flag as the pair pulled away from Tarquini in third.
Huff continued this superb form by winning the second race – the season finale – but it was his team mate’s third place finish which saw Muller crowned champion for the second successive year.
Starting from third, Huff set about moving to the front of the pack after slotting in behind fast starter Coronel and Michel Nykjaer on the run down to Lisboa. Huff then dived past Nykjaer to grab second place, and closed in on Coronel, successfully taking the lead on lap three. However, behind them Muller was making progress too, climbing to fourth on lap three.
The Safety Car was called out after a crash at Mandarin, after which Huff extended his lead to finish 4.6 seconds ahead of Coronel. Muller overtook Nykjaer at Lisboa to secure his place on the podium and the 2011 title.
With rain disrupting the programme for the City of Dreams Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix – 45th Edition, it was a relief for the riders to get the qualifying session under way on Saturday afternoon.
Michael Rutter, on the RidersMotorcycles.com Ducati 1200, was on the hunt for a seventh Macau title, looking to finally better the existing record he had shared with Ron Haslam since 2005.
Rutter proved masterful in qualifying, grabbing pole position with a lap just eight hundredths of the scorching qualifying time of a year earlier, and more than three seconds faster than closest challenger, John McGuinness on the Roadhouse SMT Honda 1000.
Ian Hutchinson, who was making his return to competition after recovering from serious injuries in a racing accident in the UK, put in a superb performance to record the third fastest time on his Swan Yamaha 1000. Rutter’s team mate, Martin Jessopp was fourth quickest in the 45-minute session.
With the Grand Prix run on the Sunday, the riders lined up on the grid in front of the 24,000-strong crowd, all eager to see if Rutter would write his name in the Macau history books.
Although Rutter had the advantage of pole position, it was Hutchinson who stormed off the grid and into the lead off the start. McGuinness too managed to get by the veteran in the run to Lisboa, with Jessopp following suit.
While Hutchinson set about building a gap from his rivals, Jessopp, McGuinness and Rutter were engaged in a three-way battle, with McGuinness dropping back down to fourth. Rutter was on a charge, and on his finest form, moving up to second and catching Hutchinson fast.
Closing in fast, Rutter grabbed the lead from Hutchinson on lap four, with team mate Jessopp moving up to second.
To a roar of approval from the crowd, Rutter proved he is the most successful rider ever on the Guia Circuit, taking his seventh victory with a margin of 4.772 seconds from Jessopp, Hutchinson and American rider Jeremy Toye.
Another history-maker, Italy’s Edoardo Mortara continued his mastery of the unforgiving Guia Circuit by winning the Star River●Windsor Arch Macau GT Cup in his Audi R8. Having won the last two Formula 3 Macau Grands Prix, the first man ever to do so, Mortara proved he could dominate in a GT car as well as a single seater.
Having taken pole position with a lap more than three seconds faster than two-time race winner Keita Sawa of Japan in a Lamborghini LP-560 GT3 and more than 4.5 seconds quicker than Briton Danny Watts in the new McLaren MP4, Mortara led from start-to-finish in the 10-lap race.
Macau’s Rodolfo Avila finished fourth in the Team Jebsen Porsche 911 GT3 R, ahead of Japan’s Tomonobu Fujii in the Aston Martin DBRS9, in a race which was red-flagged after a multi-car incident at Mandarin and then restarted behind the Safety Car.
Hong Kong driver Samson Fung won the CTM Macau Touring Car Cup ahead of team mate Paul Poon, each in a Chevrolet Lacetti. Poleman Leong Ian Veng of Macau finished third in a Honda Accord CL7, but had the consolation of setting the fastest lap of the 12-lap race.
The Hong Kong SAR was also triumphant in the Suncity Group Macau Road Sport Challenge, with Phillip Yau taking victory by 3.452 seconds in his Nissan GTR35, ahead of Japan’s Tatsuya Tanigawa in a Mazda LA-SE3P RX-8 and Kenneth Look in a Subaru Impreza GDB Ver8.
Pole-sitter Charoensukhawatana Nattavude of Thailand led for much of the race in his Mitsubishi EVO9, but suffered mechanical problems and eventually finished 14th.
In the Hotel Fortuna MAC/HKG Interport Race, Macau’s Chou Keng Kuan held off fast-charging countryman Alvaro Mourato to take a lights-to-flag victory. Chou, Mourato and Hong Kong’s Billy Lo, who finished third, put on an exciting show, which saw Mourato cross the line just two hundredths of a second behind Chou.
After nine thrilling races and countless new records set, the teams, sponsors and fans all agreed: the 58th Macau Grand Prix – Official Sponsor “SJM” was definitely one to remember.
Marking the 30th running of the famous Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix – the official, and only, FIA F3 Intercontinental Cup – the 59th Macau Grand Prix, again officially sponsored by long-time supporter SJM, was both dramatic and emotional.
The SJM Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix saw the city crown its first Portuguese champion, after a stunning drive from Ferrari protégé Antonio Felix da Costa. His victory also earned his team Carlin the very first Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix Team award.
However, it was Macau rookie Alex Lynn who made an early impression, taking pole position for Saturday’s Qualification Race. Fourth fastest in Friday’s first qualifying session, Lynn improved his time by six-tenths of a second to secure pole position for the 10-lap race, the results of which set the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
In the race though, da Costa asserted his authority with a comfortable win. The driver, who returned to Formula 3 at Macau after winning races in both GP3 and Formula Renault 3.5 in 2012, started from second place on the grid but barged into the lead at Lisboa on the opening lap. He took the chequered flag with a margin of 1.5 seconds from Swedish star Felix Rosenqvist, who made a brilliant start to jump from fourth on the grid and into a very early lead.
Lynn meanwhile lost two places at the start, but settled into third securing a second-row start for the Grand Prix.
The battle for fourth was hotly contested between Carlos Sainz Junior, son of the former World Rally Champion, 2011 winner at Macau Daniel Juncadella, Harry Tincknell and Pascal Wehrlein. At the flag, that was the order, and the grid was set for the 30th running of the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix.
It was a case of déjà vu for da Costa in the race when Rosenqvist once again got by at the start. But a perfectly executive move at Lisboa saw him sweep back into the lead. Once out in front, da Costa was able to control the race, a bust of speed following a mid-race restart setting him up for the historic victory.
Rosenqvist, who had taken the fight to da Costa all weekend, crossed the line second, with Lynn continuing his impressive form as best rookie by taking the final podium place.
While Wehrlein also continued to impress, securing fourth ahead of the more experienced Felipe Nasr, it was not a good Macau outing for Juncadella. The Spaniard lost any chance of following in the footsteps of Edoardo Mortara with back-to-back wins when he was forced out of the race with suspension failure on the fourth lap.
For da Costa though, the roar of approval from the most enthusiastic crowds Macau has seen must have been deafening as he crossed the finish line to become the first Portuguese Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix champion in history.
In the FIA World Touring Car Championship – Guia Race of Macau – Presented by SJM the action was even more intense, with the 2012 championship title going right down to the wire in the final race of the season.
After a spectacular weekend in Shanghai before coming to Macau, Briton Rob Huff had put himself back in serious title contention, and he continued that form by topping the time sheets in practice then taking pole position for the start of Race 1, ahead of fellow Chevrolet drivers Yvan Muller and Alain Menu.
However, disaster struck in the first race when Huff hit the wall and retired while leading, Muller inheriting victory followed across the line by Menu. That let the pair reduce the gap to Huff in the championship chase to just 17 points from Muller and 19 from Menu. With 25 points at stage in Race 2, it was a nail biting moment for the substantial contingent of Huff supporters.
The situation was just as tense in the Yokohama Trophy, with the top three drivers - Norbert Michelisz, Pepe Oriola and Stefano D’Aste – all failing to score after being involved in an incident on the opening lap.
Darryl O’Young took his maiden Trophy win, with Tiago Monteiro chased the Chevrolet works cars for the entire race, finishing third and giving Honda their first podium in just three FIA WTCC appearances.
Race 2 victory went to Menu, but second place for Huff was enough to secure him the 2012 FIA WTCC title. The world watched breathlessly as he took his Chevrolet Cruze through the final two laps of the Guia Circuit, tears streaming down his face, and crossed the line to take his first FIA WTCC championship as Chevrolet exited the series.
O’Young rounded out a successful weekend by taking his second successive Yokohama Trophy victory after a series of incidents that eliminated Alex MacDowall, Michelisz and Oriola. Michelisz secured the 2012 title.
Of the record eight Macau entries, 2000 Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix winner and Japan Super GT regular Andre Couto was top, finishing Race 2 in an impressive 11th place. Jo Rosa Merszei was also a credit to the city with a 13th place finish in Race 2, racing at the highest level of international touring car competition.
In the legendary Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, the two-wheel ‘King of Macau’, Michael Rutter, was on the hunt for a lucky eighth victory aboard an SMT Honda. Having secured his name in the history books in 2011 when he took set a new record of seven Macau wins, he was looking to go one better.
The Briton set the fastest times in both qualifying sessions, but team mate John McGuinness was also on winning form, the only other rider to take provisional pole. Third fastest overall was 27-year-old Martin Jessopp, second in Macau in 2011, on a Riders’ Motorcycles Ducati.
With rain interrupting the schedule, the 46th Edition of the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix was run on Sunday, after the end of the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix.
As the strong field of more than 20 riders roared off the grid, Rutter was untouchable, putting on a masterclass display of wheel-perfect racing. Making his hallmark fast start, he was never really challenged until Jessopp recovered from his poor start to fight his way back up to second, charging up from fourth in just a single lap.
However, Rutter was already too far ahead to catch and Jessopp had to settle for second place once again. Simon Andrews on an Ice Valley BMW claimed a strong third after some very quick laps early one, his best result so far at Macau.
Rutter’s win, and McGuinness’s seventh place finish, earned their SMT Racing team the inaugural Macau Motor Cycle Grand Prix Team Award.
The City of Dreams Macau GT Cup vividly demonstrated how the race, after just five short years, has already become one which every top sportscar driver and manufacturer wants to win.
With an entry list which included a former Formula 1 drivers and Le Mans 24 Hours stars, all eyes were still on Edoardo Mortara. Dubbed ‘Mr. Macau’ after his record-breaking back-to-back Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix victories and his dominant win in last year’s Macau GT Cup, the Audi R8 LMS ultra driver was not to have things all his own way in 2012.
When Lucas Di Grassi shot to the top of the timesheets in his Ferrari in the first of the two qualifying sessions, Mortara was furious. Di Grassi was making his career GT debut at Macau, returning to the city for the first time since winning the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix in 2005.
Mortara responded with a scorching lap in the second qualifying session to go almost a second quicker than Di Grassi’s best time. Newly-crowned Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion Alexandre Imperatori was third fastest in a Porsche 911 GT3 R, setting his best time but crashing shortly afterwards and bringing out the red flags. Race winner in 2009 and 2010, Keita Sawa of Japan, was fourth fastest in another Porsche, ahead of Danny Watts in a McLaren MP4.
Although starting the race from pole, Mortara lost the lead to Di Grassi at the start although he reclaimed it on Lap 4. The Safety Car was called out on Lap 6 after an incident and, when it pulled off, fans were treated to a truly spectacular two-lap sprint to the flag.
Mortara held firm, with Di Grassi crossing the line behind him in second, but the Brazilian was adjudged to have jumped the start and was handed a 60 second time penalty.
That promoted Imperatori to second on his GT debut on the Guia Circuit, with Watts third. Japan’s Akira Iida finished fourth in a McLaren ahead of Romain Dumas in a Porsche 911 GT3 R.
The CTM Macau Touring Car Cup, China Dragon Racing’s Paul Poon Tak Chun took a lights-to-flag victory, fending off a late charge from second placed Andy Yan Cheuk Wai of Team Pro Spec who crossed the line just two tenths of a second behind. Third was Michael Choi Koon Meng for Prince Racing.
The Suncity Group Macau Road Sport Challenge was won by Macau driver Sun Tit Fan. Thailand’s Nattavude Charoensukhawatana stormed to a strong second place in the 10-lap race for ShenZhen Dyno King Racing Team, while Hong Kong driver Yam Chi Yuen finished third. The Mitsubishi EVO9 proved dominant, taking the top three places, with China’s Han Han in a Subaru Impreza STi in third. Top Macau finisher was Un Wai Kai in fifth in a Mitsubishi EVO8.
In the battle of two cities, the Hotel Fortuna MAC/HKG Interport Race, it was Chou Keng Kuan of Macau who won honours for the host SAR, successfully defending his crown after a thrilling 10-lap race. Hong Kong’s Alex Hui Ka Tai took second, with Alvaro Mourato of Macau snatching the final podium place.
Between the seven action-packed races, fans were treated to some special events on track, with a trio Formula 3 cars representing both the event’s rich heritage and exciting future taking to the track. The 1954 Cooper MK VIII 500 F3 car represented the year the Macau Grand Prix came into being, while the 1983 Ralt-Alfa Romeo RT3 was the very same car driven by racing legend Gerhard Berger in the first Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix that year. The 2012 Dallara Volkswagen F312 launched this season represented the exciting future of both the Macau Grand Prix and the Formula, and the car was driven by the man who was later to claim the Team award, Trevor Carlin.
Also on track was exciting motorcycle stunt rider Oliver Ronzheimer, known as ‘OllyR’, his extraordinary feats on a Kawasaki delighting the crowds.
Celebrating its Diamond Jubilee, the Macau Grand Prix pulled out all the stops for the 60th running of one of the most revered weekends on the annual motorsport calendar. Thirteen races were held over two weekends, while promotional events and celebratory activities took place off track with the entire city coming together to celebrate the Star River‧Windsor Arch Macau Grand Prix.
The celebrations got underway with the inauguration of the impressive new Race Control Tower on November 7. Completed in only 7 months, and reflecting the unmistakeable yellow and black Armco barrier, synonymous with the Macau Grand Prix, in design, the inauguration was officiated by Mr. Cheong U, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macau Government and President of the Macau Grand Prix Committee, and Engineer João Manuel Costa Antunes, Coordinator of the Macau Grand Prix Committee.
Anticipation ahead of the Grand Prix grew with a traditional ‘Bai Sun’ blessing, held at the official opening ceremony of the Supercar and Road Sport Show at Tap Seac Square, and the occasion was honoured with the attendance of Dr. Chui Sai On, Chief Executive of Macau. In addition to the four-wheel competition vehicles, visitors and residents alike were able to get a close-up look at some of the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix bikes at a show at Friendship Square.
Reflecting the historical element of the Grand Prix’s Diamond Jubilee, an impressive display of vintage cars and motorcycles was held at the Venetian Macau, with the vehicles travelling in convory to the Guia Circuit on the Sunday of both weekends.
The first weekend saw Roger Leung in a Honda Euro R clinch victory in a dramatic CTM Macau Touring Car race in wet but rapidly drying conditions. Leung crossed the line ahead of fellow Hong Kong driver Law Wai Lung (Honda Civic FD2) and Macau driver Lui Man Fai racing a Honda Integra DC5.
With wet conditions, the race started under the Safety Car for two laps before Hong Kong’s Andy Yan (Chevrolet Lacetti), who earned pole position in Saturday’s qualifying ahead of Leong Ian Veng of Macau and Thailand’s Tin Sritrai, could get racing underway. With the drying track conditions, Yan decided to come in at the end of lap four to change from wet to slick tyres, handing the race lead temporarily to Leong.
As racing got underway, Kenneth Look snatched the lead from Leong. The two battled hard and on the penultimate lap, but contact ended both of their races, allowing Leung and Law to storm past with Lui taking a hard-fought third-place finish.
The Hotel Fortuna MAC/HKG Interport Race was won Hong Kong driver Billy Lo Kai Fung of Holiday Racing Team in an incident-filled 10-lap race in the wet ahead of Macau driver Alvaro Mourato of Team Endless and HKR driver Lo Sze Ho of Hong Kong.
Saturday’s qualifying session saw Macau’s Chou Keng Kuan, the 2012 winner, take pole position, with Lo starting alongside him on the front row. Sunday’s wet race started behind the Safety Car and just as racing got underway, the Safety Car was called out again. Racing restarted on lap five, only for the Safety Car to be called out again.
The race was re-started on lap seven, only for Chou to be involved in an incident with Chiu Hiu Fong. The race was stopped, handing the win to Lo.
The Audi R8 LMS Cup crowned Adderly Fong of Hong Kong 2013 champion in Macau after the Kamlung Racing driver took third place in the final round of the season, behind guest drivers and Brothers Racing team mates Edoardo Mortara of Italy and André Couto of Macau, each former winners of the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix.
Mortara earned his fifth victory on the Guia Circuit after starting from pole position and taking a dominant win in wet conditions that saw the race start behind the Safety Car. With Mortara and Couto pulling a gap in front, there were several battles further down the field, including between Audi Ultra Team driver Cheng Cong Fu and Hong Kong driver Marchy Lee of Audi GQ Racing Team. Lee won got by on lap seven, before Cheng crashed at Lisboa, and set about closing the gap to Fong. With laps fast running out, Fong held firm to take the final podium position ahead of Lee, Rahel Frey of Castrol Racing Team and Cheng, who recovered from his incident to finish sixth.
The season finale of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia took place in Macau for the first time, with pole-sitter Max Wiser of Italy taking top honours ahead of Hanss Lin of Chinese Taipei and Japan’s Toshiyuki Ochiai.
While the chasing pack attempted to get close to Wiser, he proved too strong for the competition, repeatedly setting fastest laps to extend his lead and eventually crossing the line with an impressive 4.369 second margin.
The Formula Masters China Series (FMCS) race provided the region’s top junior single seater talent with the opportunity to gain valuable experience on the Guia street circuit, an advantage should they return to Macau in future to contest the FIA Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup.
Although new FMCS champion Aidan Wright of Meritus GP led the field in practice, an error early in qualifying saw start the race from the back of the grid. Meanwhile, 16-year old Akash Nandy of Malaysia dramatically snatched pole position in the final minutes of qualifying, the Cebu Pacific Air by KCMG driver beating team mate Dan Wells.
The wet race started behind the Safety Car and when racing got underway on lap four, Nandy held the lead to take a flawless lights-to-flag victory. Wells did his best to stay close to Nandy and the pair pulled away from the rest of the field. Third across the line was Hong Kong driver Shaun Thong, 18, who made his FMCS debut in Macau with Eurasia Motorsport.
The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia returned to the Guia Circuit for the first time since 2007, and nine-time FIA World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb made his Guia Circuit debut as a guest driver.
Saturday’s qualifying session for the Porsche 911 50th Anniversary Carrera Cup Asia saw LKM Racing driver Keita Sawa of Japan take pole position ahead of team mate and newly crowned 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion Earl Bamber, with Loeb third quickest in the session.
In heavy rain, the race started behind the Safety Car and as it pulled off at the start of lap three, Bamber was on the attack immediately getting by Sawa to grab the lead. Loeb then loomed large in Sawa’s mirrors, passing him on the same lap.
The Safety Car was called out once again after an incident, closing up the field. At the restart, Bamber got away well and set about building a gap from Loeb, eventually taking the flag 4.227 seconds ahead of the Frenchman. Martin Ragginger of Team Eagle – Jiejun & Junbaojie had meanwhile overcome a challenging qualifying session to get by Macau driver Rodolfo Avila of Macau and Sawa to take the final podium spot.
The second weekend saw past, present and future came together when the River●Windsor Arch Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix was won by Briton Alex Lynn, racing for Theodore Racing by Prema, with the legendary racing outfit making a return to the event. Second to Lynn was last year’s victor, António Félix da Costa of Portugal with Carlin, while Brazilian Pipo Derani of Fortec Motorsport made his first appearance on the podium with a third-place finish.
Although he had started from third on the grid for Saturday’s Qualification Race, Lynn secured pole position for the Grand Prix by taking victory ahead of GR Asia with Mücke driver Felix Rosenqvist of Sweden, second in 2012, and Ferrari protégé and newly crowned 2013 FIA Formula 3 European champion Raffaele Marciello, racing with D88.com Prema Powerteam.
In the Grand Prix, Lynn proved masterful, leading from start to finish as he held off Félix da Costa, who had started from fourth on the grid but quickly found himself in third when Rosenqvist retired after an opening lap incident. While barely a second covered the pair throughout the second half of the race, Lynn showed nerves of steel to take his first Macau win at just his second attempt.
Félix da Costa moved up from third to second getting by Derani on the run to Lisboa following an early restart. Derani’s third-place finish took a bit of good fortune. The Fortec driver had just been passed by Marciello, but the Italian crashed out of the race at R Bend four laps from the flag.
Fourth and fifth in the race were a pair of Britons; Alexander Sims of Three Bond by T-Sport leading home Carlin’s Jordan King, the best-placed rookie who set the fastest lap of the race with a 2m11.547s.
For the ninth consecutive year, the season finale of the FIA World Touring Car Championship was held in Macau, and the 2013 season ended with a bang as new champion Yvan Muller celebrated his successful season with a win in Race 1, while Briton Rob Huff racing with ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, who had sealed the 2012 championship in Macau, triumphed in the second race. Muller arrived in Macau having won an unprecedented fourth FIA WTCC title in Suzuka, Japan, and with the championship won, he was focused firmly on rounding out his season with a Guia Circuit victory.
The Frenchman, driving with RML Chevrolet, started the race as the hot favourite, having qualified a second clear of the field. On the opening lap, Muller pulled a 1.7 second gap to cruise towards a trouble-free victory. Behind him, the battle for second was significantly tighter, with Honda’s Tiago Monteiro edging Huff for second place. Fourth in Race 1 was Norbert Michelisz (Zengõ Motorsport), ahead of Britons and bamboo-engineering team mates Alex MacDowall and James Nash, who clinched the Yokohama Trophy title.
Honda driver Gabriele Tarquini missed the first race after requiring an engine change following the morning’s warm-up session and started Race 2 from the back of the grid.
Race 2 brought plenty of spills and thrills as Huff claimed an amazing sixth victory on the Guia Circuit amid plenty of drama. Following two lengthy stoppages, the first coming just seconds into the race, Race 2 got underway with ROAL BMW driver Tom Coronel leading the way. But a lap later the race was halted for a second time and when the race re-started it was a four-lap sprint to the end. Huff barged past Coronel on the run to Lisboa on the second lap to set up the win. Second on the podium was Spaniard Pepe Oriola, with Coronel taking the final spot on the podium.
The new Eurosport Asia Trophy was awarded for the first time in Macau, with the honour of top Asian driver in the races in Japan, Shanghai and Macau going to Japan’s Yukinori Taniguchi.
The legendary Star River‧Windsor Arch Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix saw a fairy-tale comeback for Briton Ian Hutchinson, who returned to competition after an 18-month layoff due to injury.
The Milwaukee Yamaha rider grabbed pole position for the 47th edition of the Far East Classic in a stunning last-gasp pole that denied eight-time winner Michael Rutter of SMT Racing his 10th pole position. Just over five-hundredths of a second separated the pair, with Honda TT Legends rider John McGuinness rounding out the top three.
Saturday’s Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix saw Hutchinson get off to a slow start from pole and was fourth going into Lisboa, but immediately set about recovering his position, first getting by John McGuinness, and then by Gary Johnson of Quattro Plant Motorsports before passing eight-time winner Michael Rutter and immediately opening a gap to complete an incredible comeback and cement his name in the Macau history books.
Rutter finished second in the shortened 11-lap race, denied a ninth victory this year, with Johnson earning his first career Macau podium in third. McGuinness made an excellent start to lead into Lisboa, but finished fourth ahead of James Storrar (DMR Racing). In just its sixth year, the Macau GT Cup has already become an important fixture for the world’s top sports car drivers, including the man dubbed ‘Mr. Macau’, Edoardo Mortara. Mortara topped the time sheets in practice before setting a record-setting provisional pole time in the first qualifying session for the City of Dreams Macau GT Cup. However, in the second qualifying session, German Maro Engel of Erebus Motorsport, in a Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, stormed to pole, becoming the first driver in the history of the race to drive a 2m18.651 lap.
The race got underway from a rolling start, with Engel getting away well and Alexandre Imperatori of Team StarChase in a Porsche 911 GT3 R 4.0 in hot pursuit. An incident at Lisboa brought out the Safety Car and Engel led the field from Imperatori, Erebus Motorsport driver Renger van der Zande, Mortara and United Autosport driver Danny Watts. As the green flags came out, Mortara was on the move and, while Engel looked set for the win, a flat front tyre saw his race ended when he retired at Maternity.
Imperatori was now in the lead, but Mortara, up to third by lap 9, moved up a place a lap later. The penultimate lap saw Mortara seize the lead while Watts, who had started from eighth on the grid, finished second, after an impressive charge, ahead of Imperatori.
The popular Suncity Group Macau Road Sport Challenge saw Macau driver Sun Tit Fan in a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO10 take a confident win in a shortened race to defend his crown. Having earned pole position the day before, Sun got away cleanly at the start, while his KFS Racing Team mate Yam Chi Yuen (EVO9) got past Japan’s Tatsuya Tanigawa of Vang Iec Racing Team (Mazda RX-8) to go second.
The race was not without its dramas and on lap six, Brian lee Ching Hsin of GT Racing Team crashed at Fisherman’s, bringing out the Safety Car and the finishing order was set as of lap 7.
The Scirocco R China Masters Challenge welcomed Macau heroes back to the Guia Circuit for a special race in celebration of the Macau Grand Prix Diamond Jubilee. Mike Conway, the 2006 Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix winner, was the quickest in practice, but in qualifying it was Alain Menu, a multiple winner at Macau with the FIA World Touring Car Championship, who took pole position. Four time Macau winner Duncan Huisman qualified second, with Conway posting the third fastest time of the session.
The drama-filled race saw Menu lose out to Huisman off the start, with the Dutchman in the lead by the time the front-runners had reached Mandarin Bend. An incident between Steve Soper and Stefan Johansson brought out the Safety Car and by the time the front-runners had completed a lap, Menu and Emanuele Pirro had both pulled into the pits having sustained damage in the incident.
When the green flags came out again Huisman led from Nicola Larini. A battle for third ensued between Conway and Tim Harvey, while Martin Donnelly, 1987 Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix champion, and David Brabham, 1989 Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix champion, battled for fifth.
On the penultimate lap, Conway took third from Harvey, while Brabham secured fifth place. Up at the front, Huisman pulled clear of Larini and, as the chequered flag came out, the Dutchman earned a fifth victory in Macau.
The Cotai Strip Resorts Lotus Greater China Race saw Charoensukhawatana Nattavude and his daughter Charoensukhawatana Tanchanok make Macau history as they took the winner’s and third-place podium spots respectively.
Eighteen-year-old Tanchanok had taken pole position, ahead of her father and Hong Kong’s Alain Li.
After a rolling start, the field of Lotus Elise CR racing cars headed into Turn 1 led by Tanchanok ahead of Nattavude. Nattavude, a former winner at Macau, demonstrated his experience of the Guia Circuit and overtook his daughter at Lisboa to take the lead. The chasing pack, including 1964 Macau Grand Prix winner Albert Poon, were close behind.
Poon attempted an ambitious move on Tanchanok at Lisboa which saw the Hong Kong legend spin and crash out of the race, moving Ho Hon Keong and Wei Chao Yin up the order. Tanchanok recovered well from the incident with Poon and was hot on their heels again. Her tenacity paid off when on the final lap she claimed third place, behind her father and Ho.
With 13 races over two action-packed weekends and plenty of off-track activities held across the city, the 60th Macau Grand Prix Diamond Jubilee Festival celebrated the Grand Prix’s great history while looking ahead to its exciting future.
As the Macau Grand Prix entered its seventh decade, the 61st running of one of the most esteemed weekends on the motorsport calendar celebrated the completion of six decades as well as the 15th anniversary of the Macau Special Administration. While these were each major milestones, it was the enduring passion, spirit and dedication of the people of Macau that made the Suncity Group 61st Macau Grand Prix one to remember.
In the blue riband Suncity Group Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix – the official FIA Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup – Sweden’s Felix Rosenqvist of Mucke Motorsport finally stood atop the podium, having finished second in 2012 and seeing his 2013 race end just as soon as it started. In 2014, the 23-year old started Sunday’s Grand Prix from pole position having won Saturday’s Qualification Race and, although he briefly lost the position at the start, he was soon back in the lead and from there took a well-deserved victory. Second on the podium was Rosenqvist’s team mate, Lucas Auer of Austria, while Macau rookie Nick Cassidy of New Zealand finished third with Three Bond with T-Sport.
In the Grand Prix, Rosenqvist got away slowly off the start and fell down the order as Auer led the field on the run down to Lisboa. Auer, however, braked slightly too late and ran wide, allowing the cars behind him to go through. However, Carlin’s Tom Blomqvist and Prema’s Esteban Ocon, who arrived in Macau having won the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, clashed on the apex of Lisboa. Ocon hit the barriers at San Francisco, taking Blomqvist with him, and triggering a pile-up.
At the restart, Rosenqvist got away cleanly, but Auer was right behind him and got past on the run to Lisboa. But the Austrian again braked slightly too late and ran deep through the corner, allowing Rosenqvist and Cassidy through.
Rosenqvist began to pull away, with Cassidy and Auer locked in a battle for second place. Auer overtook the rookie New Zealand driver on Lap 13. Spaniard Roberto Merhi, who stepped back to Formula 3 in order to compete at Macau, finished fourth, while Prema’s Nicholas Latifi rounded out the top five.
Celebrating its 10th season, the FIA World Touring Car Championship once again held its double header season finale at Macau and, as it has for the past decade, the 2014 season ended in spectacular fashion. While Argentinian José María López wrapped up his first FIA WTCC title prior to arriving in Macau, the Citröen driver was still eager to make a strong impression on his Guia Circuit debut.
López grabbed pole position after a thrilling shoot-out in Friday’s qualifying. The new qualifying format saw the top five drivers after Qualifying 2 take part in a shoot-out in Qualifying 3 and, although López faced tough competition from his team mates Yvan Muller and Sébastien Loeb, the Argentinian’s efforts were enough to secure pole for Race 1. Hugo Valente secured pole position for the top 10 reverse grid Race 2, the final race of the season, having qualified 10th in Qualifying 2.
López dominated the first race, leading from lights to flag, setting a new lap record in the process and scoring his tenth FIA WTCC win of the 2014 season. López got off to a strong start and was able to get through Lisboa clear of his rivals; by the end of the first lap he had pulled a 1.6 second lead from Hungarian driver Norbert Michelisz. Michelisz was under pressure – first from Loeb, who later dropped down the order to sixth, and then from Honda’s Gabriele Tarquini, who could not find a way past. Michelisz held with Tarquini, Tiago Monteiro, Muller and Loeb all lapping closely together but none of them quite able to find room to pull off a move.
Lada driver Rob Huff won a dramatic Race 2 to cap off the thrilling 2014 season, with Muller and pole-sitter Valente rounding out the podium in second and third place, respectively. Monteiro made a brilliant start from fourth on the grid to go into the lead, with Huff and Muller behind him and Valente dropping down to fourth after running slightly wide at Lisboa.
The Safety Car was called out on Lap 8 after China’s Ma Qing Hua hit the barriers at Fishermen’s Bend and, at the restart on Lap 10, Monteiro got away well to hold the lead. However, half way through the lap, his Honda slowed with a power-steering problem and Huff was handed the lead. While Muller pressured Huff, the Briton held on to cross the finish line just 0.344 second ahead of the Frenchman to take his second win of the season.
The Suncity Group Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix – 48th Edition saw Stuart Easton on his PBM by The Venetian Hotel Kawasaki ride to a dominant victory – his fourth in as many attempts. Easton had last raced – and won – in Macau in 2010, following wins in 2008 and 2009, and returned to the Guia Circuit for the first time in 2014 after a three-year absence.
Second across the line was eight-time Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix winner Michael Rutter on a Milwaukee Yamaha who was locked in a race-long battle for second. Martin Jessopp on a Riders Motorcycles BMW was third on the podium.
Easton set the fastest time in the second qualifying session to take pole position for Saturday’s race, with Rutter, who had taken provisional pole after the first qualifying session, second fastest overall. Rounding out the top five was Lee Johnston, last year’s winner Ian Hutchinson and James Storrar.
In Saturday’s 15-lap Grand Prix, Easton immediately began pulling a gap, increasing his advantage by over a second a lap on every lap but the last.
However, behind him a white-knuckle thriller was underway. Hutchinson launched an early bid for glory at Lisboa but made a mistake and took the escape road. He would retire on the first lap.
Although Rutter started slowly, he was soon up to second place in pursuit of Easton. After clipping the wall, Rutter decided second place would have to do, but was then forced to defend his position first from Lee Johnston, then Gary Johnson and finally Jessopp. Behind Jessopp were Johnson and Johnston, fourth and fifth, respectively.
In just seven years, the Macau GT Cup has become one of the most eagerly anticipated races on the annual sportscar calendar, and the line-up for the 2014 running of the event was the best in the race’s short history.
German Maro Engel, who led last year’s race until suffering a puncture in the closing stages of the race, returned to Macau in a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 for another attempt to clinch victory. Engel topped the time sheets in practice ahead of the Audi Race Experience drivers Edoardo Mortara and Laurens Vanthoor, but it was the man dubbed “Mr. Macau” – three-time GT Cup and two-time Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix winner Mortara – who took provisional pole in the first qualifying session.
Mortara’s lap time held after the second qualifying session, but Vanthoor was just 0.024 second behind making it an all-Audi front row. New Zealand driver Earl Bamber in a Porsche was third quickest and would start on the second row alongside Engel. Hong Kong driver Darryl O’Young in an Aston Martin and Engel’s team mate Renger Van Der Zande made up the third row.
At the rolling start, Mortara and Vanthoor were set on closing the door to Bamber and, while the pair ensured that Bamber had no chance to grab the lead, they were taken by surprise when both Engel and Van Der Zande shot by and into the lead. Engel powered ahead with Van Der Zande in second and Mortara, Vanthoor and Bamber giving chase.
Two laps from the flag, Augusto Farfus of Brazil in a BMW Z4 GT3 overtook Bamber to go fourth. On the final lap, Bamber and Takeshi Tsuchiya, in a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, ran wide two abreast at Lisboa Bend and the pair stopped just short of the barriers, dropping them both down the order.
The popular Macau Road Sport Challenge was once again action-packed from start to finish with the race for modified road cars seeing intense competition. Macau driver Wong Wan Long in a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 10 took the win the 10-lap race. Second on the podium was fellow Macau driver Lo Kai Fung in a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO7, with Chinese driver Sun Zheng rounding out the podium in a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9.
Starting from pole, Wong was soon overtaken by Japan’s Mitsuhiro Kinoshita in a Nissan GTR34. Mid-way through the race though, Kinoshita made a mistake at Lisboa, prematurely ending his race and giving Wong the lead. Wong held onto the lead to the chequered flag to cap off a strong weekend.
The long-running CTM Macau Touring Car Cup once again delighted fans and drivers alike, and new for 2014 was a change to 1,600 cc (1.6T) competition cars rather than previous 2,000 cc models, in line with the direction of international touring car competition. This year’s thrilling race saw Hong Kong driver Andy Yan take a dominant win ahead of Thailand’s Nattavude Charoensukhawatana and Macau driver Patrick Chan. All three competed in Peugeot RCZ cars.
Yan started the 12-lap race from pole and got off to a strong start, holding the lead with Nattavude in pursuit. On Lap 5, Nattavude spun and touched the wall, losing his place to Chan who had been in third. Yan continued to strengthen his lead, while Chan and Nattavude were locked in a battle for second. With two laps to go, Nattavude, a multiple winner at Macau, found a way past Chan to take the runner-up spot.
New to the support race programme this year was the Chinese Racing Cup, which featured drivers from Mainland China, Chinese Taipei and the Hong Kong and Macao SARs. Promoted and coordinated by automotive associations of the four territories, the race provided a platform for drivers to race against each other while promoting the spirit of friendship and sportsmanship.
Hong Kong driver Samuel Hsieh won the Chinese Racing Cup ahead of fellow Hong Kong driver Kenneth Look and China’s Guo Hai Sheng rounding out the podium in third.
In the drama-filled nine-lap race, pole-sitter Ho Hon Keong of Macau had an incident at Lisboa on the opening lap, ending his race and bringing out the red flags. At the restart, Hsieh moved into the lead, while Look won a battle to finish second.
On Grand Prix Sunday, the Macau Grand Prix Committee paid a special tribute to the hard work, passion and expertise of the local residents who have made the event such a resounding international success by staging a special parade just prior to the start of the Suncity Group Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix.
The parade included some of the countless Macau residents and the vehicles which each year ensure the Grand Prix is staged to the highest standards, and not only celebrated 15 years of the establishment of the Macau SAR, but also showcased the impressive force and team spirit behind Macau’s biggest annual international sporting event, which has won both the city and its residents resounding global acclaim.
With seven thrilling races over an action-packed four days and plenty of off-track activities held across the city, the Suncity Group 61st Macau Grand Prix ushered in the Grand Prix’s seventh decade in impressive style.
The 62nd running of the Macau Grand Prix saw the event endowed with even greater kudos from the motorsport world governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), when the city’s GT showcase was designated the FIA GT World Cup for the first time.
The new Macau GT Cup - FIA GT World Cup joined the prestigious Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix – FIA F3 Intercontinental Cup, the Guia Race of Macau, for the first time run to the new 2.0T touring car spec, and the legendary Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix as the four bill-topping headline races. Once again sponsored by the Suncity Group, the 2015 race programme featured a total of eight races, with the CTM Macau Touring Car Cup, Macau Road Sport Challenge, Suncity Lotus Celebrity Cup Race, and Chinese Racing Cup joining the four headliners for a sensation four days of high-octane thrills on the 6.2km Guia street circuit.
Leading the entry in the Suncity Group Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix was 2014 winner, Sweden’s Felix Rosenqvist, who returned to Macau as the newly crowned FIA F3 European Champion in a bid to emulate Edoardo Mortara, at the time the only two-time winner of the Macau Grand Prix over the 32 years in which it had been run for F3 cars.
Rosenqvist was handed victory in the Qualification Race, which set the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix, after on-the-road winner Antonio Giovinazzi was penalised for a collision with Daniel Juncadella. Pole position man Rosenqvist had got away cleanly at the start, as Juncadella slotted in behind him on the run down to Lisboa. But through that corner, Giovinazzi managed to muscle himself inside Juncadella and, as they battled side-by-side on the run to San Francisco Bend, contact was made.
Juncadella was spun in to the barriers before being collected by several of his rivals, which forced the Safety Car to be called out.
At the restart on lap three, Giovinazzi capitalised on the slip stream to slot past Rosenqvist and grab the lead before Lisboa. The Carlin driver then pulled clear, with Charles Leclerc staying in touch in third place.
At the front, the gap between Giovinazzi and Rosenqvist stayed just above one second before a final lap push brought them closer together. With one last effort, Rosenqvist was close enough to get in to Giovinazzi's slipstream on the run to Lisboa but could not quite find a way past. Then a mistake by Rosenqvist at the Melco hairpin, where he locked up, left Giovinazzi clear at the front to win by 1.9 seconds.
However, Giovinazzi was dramatically dropped to 10th in the results after the stewards deemed him responsible for the clash with Juncadella – meaning Rosenqvist won the Qualification Race and secured pole for the start of the Grand Prix.
Rosenqvist became only the second man to win the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix in consecutive years after a dominant performance. He got away well from pole position at the start, but front row starter Charles Leclerc managed to draft past him on the run to Lisboa – and pulled off a breathtaking move around the outside to grab the lead.
Rosenqvist was back in the lead at the start of lap two though, when Leclerc lost momentum after making a mistake at the final corner. However, Leclerc repeated his earlier move to get around Rosenqvist once again in to Lisboa and set about trying to build a lead.
The race was red flagged at that point after a huge crash involving Gustavo Menezes, Yu Kanamaru, Mitsunori Takaboshi and Ryan Tveter left debris all over the track at Fishermen's Bend.
Leclerc led away at the safety car restart, but the van Amersfoort driver was swallowed up by both Rosenqvist and the third-placed Sam MacLeod on the run in to Lisboa. That moment gave Rosenqvist some breathing space at the front and he was able to edge himself clear over the next few laps. By the time Leclerc had got past MacLeod, with another brilliant pass around the outside in to Lisboa on lap seven, Rosenqvist was 2.5 seconds up the road.
Leclerc was able to cut in to Rosenqvist's advantage but not at a quick enough rate – and the pair crossed the finish line 1.1 seconds apart.
MacLeod's hopes of a podium finish were dashed on lap eight when he brushed the wall at Police, which meant Alexander Sims grabbed a top three place.
Antonio Giovinazzi made a brilliant recovery from his 10th place start to finish fourth with Markus Pommer fifth, ahead of Santino Ferrucci and Alessio Lorandi.
In its eighth year, and now the official FIA GT World Cup, the SJM Macau GT Cup brought together the best in the GT3 category amongst its top class field.
Five marques were entered as eligible to win the FIA manufacturer title: Aston Martin, Audi, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.
Defending Macau GT Cup champion Maro Engel of Germany returned to Macao looking to become the first winner of the new FIA title, and was joined on the Mercedes AMG Driving Academy team by Dutchman Renger van der Zande, second at Macau in 2014. ‘Mr. Macao’, Audi Sport Team Phoenix driver Edoardo Mortara, arrived determined to add to his tally of three Macau GT Cup and two F3 Macau Grand Prix wins.
Maro Engel of Germany secured pole position for the SJM Macau GT Cup – FIA GT World Cup Race after being handed victory in the Qualification Race when Aston Martin’s Stefan Mücke was given a post-race 10-second time penalty. Mücke had won the race on the road, but the stewards ruled afterwards that he had not complied with Safety Car restart regulations, and the penalty dropped him to third on the grid.
Pole-sitter Engel took victory in the SJM Macau GT Cup – FIA GT World Cup after an eventful, shortened race which saw René Rast in the new Audi R8 LMS finish second and Stefan Mücke in the Craft Bamboo Aston Martin third. Mercedes-Benz earned the inaugural FIA GT World Cup for Manufacturers.
As the lights went out for the rolling start, Mortara made a brilliant getaway and stormed into the lead, but Engel snatched back the advantage in the run down to Lisboa and set off to pull a gap from his rivals. Behind him, Mercedes AMG Driving Academy team mate Renger van der Zande also made a good start, getting by first Stefan Mücke in the Craft Bamboo Aston Martin and then Mortara to go second.
As Mücke challenged van der Zande, the pair came together resulting in bodywork damage to the Dutchman’s car. A door to door moment going in to Lisboa Bend let Mortara through as they ran wide at Lisboa.
The Safety Car was called out on lap 14 after Thailand’s Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak crashed heavily at Paiol, snatching away Engel’s hard-earned, eight second advantage and closing up the field.
As the cars circulated behind the Safety Car, a multi-car pileup ensued at Moorish Hill after John Shen’s Porsche 997 GT3R hit the barriers. That brought out the red flag and the result was called as at the end of Lap 14, with Engel first followed by Rast and Mortara. However, Mortara was later judged to have jumped the start and handed a 20 second penalty which dropped him down to sixth, handing third to Mücke.
A new era dawned in the 42-year history of the Macau Guia Race in 2015, with the latest generation of touring cars invited to compete on the Guia Circuit, and two drivers stood out as hot pre-race favourites: Seven-time winner, Briton Rob Huff, and three-time Macau champion Alain Menu. However, with a strong field packed with talented newcomers, the outcome of Suncity Group Macau Guia Race 2.0T was wide open.
Rob Huff and Macao newcomer Stefano Comini took a win apiece on the Sunday after a series of crashes depleted the field.
Huff had dominated the first race of the day, despite coming under threat on the first run down to Lisboa when Comini and Jordi Gené got either side of him on the drag away from the start.
After a brief safety car period to clear up the wreckage from a pile-up triggered when Francisco Mora crashed at Mandarin, Huff pulled clear again to finish the first race 7.8 seconds ahead of Gené, with Comini and Pepe Oriola finishing third and fourth.
Huff's hopes of taking a double were dashed right at the start of the main Guia race when he and Gené clashed on the run through the first left-hand kink. Both men were pitched in to the barriers and there was chaos as the pursuing cars ploughed in to the wreckage. Ten cars were eliminated and, with the circuit blocked, there was no choice but to bring out the red flag.
At the restart after a short safety car period, Comini led away cleanly but came under intense pressure from Oriola. The pair rubbed door panels several times at Lisboa in their fiercely fought battle, but the matter was finally settled on lap eight when Oriola ran in to the back of Comini under braking for Lisboa.
Although making it around the corner, Oriola's car slowed almost immediately and he came to a stop shortly afterwards with smoke pouring from his engine. Comini went on to win the race, his debut Guia Circuit victory.
Four previous Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix winners were among the impressive entry for the 49th running of the Far East Classic: Stuart Easton, Ian Hutchinson, Michael Rutter and John McGuinness.
However, it was Peter Hickman who upset the form book by taking a spectacular win in a race that was closer than the final margin of 6.2 seconds would make it appear.
Second place for Martin Jessopp was scant reward for his hard work and pace throughout the weekend. Convincingly fastest in qualifying and warm-up, he took a gamble on opening enough of an early advantage on a softer tyre to maintain his lead to the end of 12 laps, but by half-distance the dice had fallen in Hickman’s favour and Jessopp had no reply, though he was far enough ahead of the rest of the field that his second place was never under threat.
After a 12-lap battle, Michael Rutter finished third, adding to his vast array of silverware earned at Macau but missing out on increasing his record eight-win tally by just under ten seconds – that was the margin between first and third places on an afternoon when a dozen riders all tried their hardest to get on the podium.
Throughout the race Rutter was involved in a ferocious battle with a virtual who’s who of motorcycle road racing, swapping places with Gary Johnson, with 2013 winner Ian Hutchinson occasionally intruding in his attempts to get on the third step of the podium. Meanwhile, Honda duo John McGuinness and Conor Cummins held a watching brief that was never more than fractions of a second behind as the race unfolded through an unbroken sequence of dramatic laps.
It was the seasoned McGuinness, the most successful road racer of his generation, who provided the final thrills, swooping past Gary Johnson on the wrong side of the tarmac at the endless left-hander of Dona Maria in a move worthy of a bid for victory, easily the most breathtaking moment in thirty minutes of exceptional racing.
The four support races also provided plenty of excitement for the sell-out crowd which packed the grandstands.
In the CTM Macau Touring Car Cup it was Paul Poon who took victory, capping off a strong weekend for the Hong Kong driver. Poon started the 12-lap race from pole position and never relinquished his lead. Second on the podium was fellow Hong Kong driver Samson Fung Man Wai, with Macau’s Chou Keng Kuan in third.
Macau’s Leong Ian Veng won the ever-popular Macau Road Sport Challenge for modified road cars, taking the chequered flag by less than a second from Mitsuhiro Kinoshita of Japan. Third on the podium was Macau driver Lo Kai Fung. Leong started the nine-lap race from pole position, having also topped the time sheets in free practice, and led the 26-strong field from lights to flag. On the opening lap, the Safety Car was called out following a multi-car incident. When racing resumed on the lap 5, Leong held the lead, with Kinoshita and Lo behind him.
Hong Kong driver Sin Ling Fung won the inaugural Suncity Lotus Celebrity Cup following a thrilling 10-lap race. Starting from fourth on the grid, Sin quickly moved up to third and began battling with pole-sitter Mak Ka Lok of Macau and Vincent Chao Wai Yew of Hong Kong for the lead. Sin took the lead on Lap 3 and began to build a gap, ultimately taking the chequered flag by 5.203 seconds. Chao got past Mak on Lap 5 to take the runner-up spot, with Kevin Liu Chun Ki of Hong Kong taking the final podium position after getting by Mak in the closing stages of the race.
Ho Hon Keong, representing the Automobile General Association Macao-China (AAMC), won the second edition of the Chinese Racing Cup. Ho started the race from pole position and by the end of the 10-lap race had built up a nine-second lead. Second on the podium was Cui Ye, racing for his local motorsport governing body (ASN), the Federation of Automobile Sports of the People’s Republic of China’s (FASC), with Lo Ka Chun, representing the Hong Kong Automobile Association (HKAA), finishing third. The race featured drivers from the FASC, the Chinese Taipei Motor Sports Association, the HKAA, and the AAMC racing in in identical BAIC Motor Senova D70cars.
As the final chequered flag fell on the 62nd running of the Macau Grand Prix, the city celebrated what had been one of the most successful in its history: Sell-out crowds, record online and TV viewers from all four corners of the world, and eight thrilling races showcasing some of the most talented drivers and sophisticated racing machinery on the planet.