Originally conceived in 1954 as an amateur event for local motoring enthusiasts, the Macau Grand Prix is today a race meeting to which the world's leading Formula 3 and touring car drivers, and road and endurance racing motorcycle riders, vie for entries. Each November more than 200 competitors as well as thousands of motor sports fans descend on the city for the world-famous international street circuit race meeting which features both car and motorcycle races.
This year the event will be held from the 13th to 16th of November.
One of the three headlines races is the Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix - the FIA Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup, which sees a field of 30 leading drivers from the various national championships compete for the unofficial world cup of Formula 3. For these young superstars of tomorrow, a win at Macau can guarantee the driver a place in a top GP2 team or, in the case of exceptional talent, an immediate invitation to move up to the pinnacle of motor racing, Formula 1.
This year Macau celebrates the 26th running of its Formula 3 Grand Prix, the first of which was won by the late Ayrton Senna in 1983. His win put the Grand Prix firmly on the worldwide motor racing map. Multiple F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher quickly established himself as the hottest property in F1 after his win in 1990, while David Coulthard's victory the following year brought him to the attention of the F1 fraternity. More recently, 1999 runner-up Jenson Button jumped from the Macau podium straight to Formula 1, as did 2001 winner Takuma Sato, and Robert Kubica took the fast track to F1 as a result of his podium finish at Macau in 2005. Arguably the fastest rising racing star in recent motorsport history, Lewis Hamilton, raced at Macau twice, winning the qualification race in 2004.
In 2007, the Macau Grand Prix once again staged the final - and deciding - rounds of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. After the spectacular Macau season climax, which saw Andy Priaulx crowned as World Champion for the third consecutive year, the series once again returns to Macau and the 2008 title-winner will be decided on the Guia Circuit.
Having celebrated its 41st anniversary last year, the unique Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix has become known as one of the world's leading road racing events. Often mentioned along with other famous road races such as the Isle of Man TT and the North West 200, Macau boasts a truly international field and the Guia Circuit has become known in motorcycle circles as arguably the most demanding in the world.
In spite of its growth as an event of international standing, Macau has not forgotten its roots and there is a full compliment of support races to cater for the strong interest in motor sport from local enthusiasts.
THE GUIA CIRCUIT
Length: 3.8 miles (6.2 km) Minimum width: 22.8 feet (7 m)
Characteristics: A street circuit with an exhilarating combination of long, fast straights and sharply twisting corners. It is recognised as one of the most demanding circuits in the world.
Formula 3 Lap Record: 2:11.744 (Marko Asmer, 2007 / Dallara Mercedes-HWA)
Motorcycle Lap Record: 2:26.096 (John McGuinness, 2007 / Honda 1000cc)
FIA World Touring Car Championship Lap Record: 2:32.517 (Gabriele Tarquini, 2007 / SEAT Leon TDI)
Guia Race Lap Record (pre-2005): 2:29.536 (Steve Soper, 1997/BMW 320i)
Number of races: 8 (6 car/2 motorcycle)
Number of competitors: 281
-credit: macau grand prix committee