MACAU – Ayrton and Michael Schumacher won the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix, a treacherous race on a street circuit. They went on to become legends in motorsport.
The historic race meeting is celebrating its 70th anniversary this week. It helped turn a sleepy Portuguese colony in the Far East into a party town known for its casino.
After a four-year break due to pandemic, the F1 circus may have moved from Las Vegas to Macau. However, the high rollers and petrol heads of Asia have now returned.
Macau is just an hour by ferry west of Hong Kong. It’s a place where you can find a mix of neon-lit 24 hours of entertainment and high-octane racing.
The resort is modeled after Las Vegas, complete with a replica of the Eiffel Tower. It also boasts the largest casino in the world as well as a gaming turnover that often exceeds Nevada’s Sin City.
It is a Grand Prix steeped with history, unlike the newest F1 stop in America.
In 1954, Macau’s economy was still in a slump after World War II. Its main exports at the time were fireworks and matches.
Macau’s growth was accelerated by the combination of Formula 3 racing, touring cars and motorcycles on Guia Street Circuit. The challenging (and sometimes fatal) 6.2km (3.85 miles) circuit is a balancing act between motorbike and Formula 3 races.
The track has been used as a testing ground for future F1 stars.
The circuit, which winds through Macau’s colonial and modern architecture and skyline, was a showcase for future world champions Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
In the paddock, Tim Huxley told AFP that if they are quick around here, then they will be quick anywhere.
It’s an indication of real talent.”
Hamilton, then 19 years old, was beaten by Robert Kubica in 2004. Rosberg finished fourth.
Luke Browning (a 21-year old Englishman with Williams Racing) set the fastest F3 time on his Macau debut.
Huxley added, “This race is one that many Formula One team chiefs are very interested in.” It really shows good potential.”