Macau Grand Prix newsletter 2009-07-13

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56th Macau Grand Prix Programme Announced Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Macau SAR, the 56th Macau Grand Prix has a superb line-up of events more than fitting to the occasion. The three headline races are top of the November 19 -- 22 ...

56th Macau Grand Prix Programme Announced

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Macau SAR, the 56th Macau Grand Prix has a superb line-up of events more than fitting to the occasion. The three headline races are top of the November 19 -- 22 highlights, but as always a support programme, which showcases some of the best local and regional racing as well as several of the sport's brightest prospects, is also not to be missed.

The Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix is the official FIA Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup, the most coveted title in the category, and one every young driver dreams of taking. The unique Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix never fails to live up to its reputation as one of the most awe-inspiring twowheel street races in the world, while the FIA World Touring Car Championship -- Guia Race of Macau, the final round of the championship for the fifth time, is once again presented by long-time supporter Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, S.A.

The support programme includes a fascinating array of racing machinery piloted by an intriguingly diverse line-up of drivers.

The Macau GT Cup made its debut in spectacular fashion last year, with a grid made up of the region's leading Grand Touring car specialists and some of the most famous names in automotive industry. Following its enormous success, the race is back again for 2009, and GT fans can expect 10-laps of sportscar action at its best.

Macau's finest will have the opportunity to do battle with drivers from neighbouring Hong Kong as the two SARs go head -to-head in the Hotel Fortuna Macau/ Hong Kong Interport Race. Hong Kong will look to level the scorecard in the November 21 showdown after Macau took all three podium places after last year's inaugural race.

The 10-lap Macau Roadsport Challenge also returns to the programme for a second year, and the new fixture has already become popular amongst local racing enthusiasts, while the longstanding CTM Macau Touring Car Race gives over 30 Super Production drivers from across Asia the opportunity to compete on the famous Guia Circuit.

Formula BMW Pacific is back on the programme following its successful debut in 2008. The region's premier junior single-seater series is specifically designed to help young karters make a successful transition to single seater racing, and the Pacific's sister series in Europe has already produced current Formula One drivers Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Timo Glock and Adrian Sutil.

Spreading the Word: Macau Grand Prix Promotion

The Macau Grand Prix Committee (CGPM) and the Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) have designed an energetic and multi-faceted campaign to promote the 56th Macau Grand Prix both at home and abroad.

Promotion and information exchange was at the core of April's promotion at the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. A delegation of CGPM officials, led by Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Dr. Chui Sai On, travelled to Shanghai to meet with local government officials and promote the Macau Grand Prix.

Two Macau Grand Prix promotional booths were set up at the Shanghai Circuit and on Nanjing Road, where Formula 3 cars and Grand Prix Motorcycles were displayed alongside promotional materials about the Grand Prix and Macau's growing sports tourism industry. The racing simulator at the Shanghai International Circuit was a popular attraction, giving motorsport enthusiasts a taste of the Guia street circuit.

During the visit Dr. Chui met with the Vice-Mayor of the Shanghai Municipal Government Ms. Zhao Wen to discuss further cooperation in the area motorsport development, and in particular such aspects as marshal training, the overall quality of motorsport logistics and services, as well as the management and organization of large-scale sporting and motorsport activities. Ms. Zhao expressed appreciation for Macau's support, and the hope that the two cities will continue their co-operation.

Vice Minister of the General Administration of Sport of China and Director of the F1 Organising Committee Mr. Yu Zaiqing welcomed Dr. Chui and the CGPM delegation to Shanghai.

The CGPM's promotional display was also visited by the Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government, Ms. Gao Yan, who encouraged the CGPM to continue with its successful Macau motorsport activities.

The CGPM ensured the Macau Grand Prix was part of the 13th Shenzhen- Hong Kong-Macau International Auto Show, which took place from June 10 - 15 at the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Centre. Supported by trade bodies in all three cities, this unique auto show was the perfect place for the CGPM to present and promote the 56th Macau Grand Prix.

To promote the November races, the CGPM designed a special booth to distribute posters and leaflets about the Grand Prix. To add further interest -- and to give visitors the ultimate Macau Grand Prix experience -- a racing simulator allowed visitors to experience the challenges of the Guia Circuit.

As the 56th Macau Grand Prix moves ever closer, more exciting promotions will be rolled out both locally and across the globe.

Sponsors' Update

Macau Grand Prix supporter for over two decades, Yokohama returns as the Official Formula 3 Tyre Supplier, as well as Official Tyre for the FIA World Touring Car Championship.

For the fourth consecutive year, Motor Image (HK) Limited has been named Official Safety and Rescue Cars Supplier, and will provide high-performance Subaru vehicles for the event.

This year's confirmed race title sponsors so far include CTM, Hotel Fortuna and Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, S.A.

Twenty Years On: David Brabham

For David Brabham, winning the 1989 Macau Grand Prix wasn't just cause for jubilation -- his victory was vindication as well.

Controversy had marred the 1989 British Formula 3 season, and when David arrived in Macau, he had not yet been declared the champion, a decision which would not come until February of the following year.

So with a month between the end of a championship that would eventually be his and the Macau Grand Prix, David stewed. More than that, he focused on winning on the demanding Guia Circuit because victory there would help show who was champion -- no matter what the official British Formula 3 decision.

"Basically I didn't know what was going to happen in terms of the appeal and I was pretty determined by that time to go to Macau, stamp my authority and get the job done," says the youngest son of triple Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jack Brabham. "I was kind of going in the dark as I had never been there before."

His lack of familiarity with the Macau track was by no means a deterrent and David, now 43, remembers learning the circuit late at night, weaving in and out of traffic in a mini-moke with his thengirlfriend, now wife, Lisa. She was to play an integral role in his eventual victory.

Said David: "When I woke up the next morning, I said 'I'll tell you what the track looks like in my mind'." He then described a series of twists and turns, but when he got to one particular bend, he said it was a right turn. "No, left," Lisa corrected. David insisted it was right, but once he was back on the circuit, he realized his error.

David's qualifying didn't go as well as he would have liked, and in the first leg of the race (the event was run in two legs until 2004), he finished second behind none other than Michael Schumacher. In the second leg, he dropped down to third until lap three, when he got past both Julian Bailey and Schumacher to take the lead. He won the leg by 12 seconds, and the race overall.

"For a Formula 3 driver, Macau is the Holy Grail," he says. "I think everybody recognizes it's a tough race to win. It's still seen as the place for a young driver to demonstrate his talent. I was fortunate enough to win Macau and Formula 3, and then I went from Formula 3 to Formula 1. Macau can do that to your career."

November marks 20 years since David raced - and won - at Macau, two decades since he has laid eyes on the city. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the first of his father's three Formula One World Championship titles.

David continues to race, now in the American Le Mans Series and for Peugeot Sport in both the Spa 1000km and the 24 hours of Le Mans. He also runs a young driver programme called the MSA British Race Elite, and in 2008, two of his students competed at Macau: Sam Bird in the Windsor Arch Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix, and Alex Sims in Formula BMW Pacific.

David hopes to make a return to Macau this year, in part to support any drivers from his programme racing here, but also because he just feels like it's time to go back: "Sometimes you get a flashback, something you read or you bump into someone and it's always nice to think about Macau," he says. "The successes, I think you tend to linger on more than the defeats."

Dream a Little Dream: A Macau GP Fantasy Grid

If you could form a grid from any of the hundreds of drivers who have raced at the Macau Grand Prix, which would you choose? Listed alphabetically and not by grid position, some of the drivers on our list are legends firmly entrenched in Macau Grand Prix folklore, several have reached the highest echelons of motorsport after launching their careers at Macau, and others have left an indelible mark on this extraordinary event.

Gentlemen, start your engines!

Jean Alesi: The Frenchman competed at Macau three times from 1986 to 1988. His 12-year Formula 1 career finished in 2001, but he continued to race, first in the German Touring Car Championship and then becoming one of the several ex -Formula 1 drivers to join the Speedcar Series in the Middle East.

Kevin Bartlett: The 1969 Grand Prix winner arrived in Macau from Australia along with a team of crack mechanics and impressed from the very first practice session. Finishing a full two laps ahead of Albert Poon, Bartlett's dominance was such that his lap record bettered Poon's best by 10 seconds.

Gerhard Berger: 1983 will always be Senna's year, but Berger, along with Senna and Roberto Guerrero, made up one of the most notable Macau podiums of all time. After a Formula 1 career which spanned 14 years, Berger ( Pictured right, with Senna) was also a former owner of the Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula 1 team.

Jenson Button: This season's F1 darling took just one shot and Macau and came spectacularly close to the title, finishing just a few tenths of a second behind 1999 winner Darren Manning. The Brawn GP driver moved into Formula 1 a few months later after securing a drive with Williams.

Eddie Carvalho: Macau boasts an illustrious list of Grand Prix winners, but Carvalho holds the honour of being the first. Back in 1954, the inaugural race was four hours in duration and watched by an estimated 20,000 spectators, with private houses along the route packed with fans and the San Francisco barracks filled with soldiers watching the race.

David Coulthard: The Scotsman debuted in Macau in 1991, winning the first leg and, although Jordi Gene won the second race, the "Flying Scotsman" had done enough to take the overall victory for Paul Stewart Racing. Victorious in Macau, Coulthard was set for stardom.

Peter Dumbreck: Races in Macau are often decided by a split second, but Dumbreck's 1998 victory over Ricardo Mauricio was by just three-thousandths of a second, making it the Grand Prix's narrowest victory and the closest in motorsport history at that time.

Mika Hakkinen: The battle for the 1990 Macau victory came down to two men -- Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen. Hakkinen had dominated the first heat and, running behind Schumacher in the second, all he had to do was follow the German to the chequered flag to win on aggregate. However an uncontrollable urge to finish first saw the Finn attempt a pass, but with Schumacher anticipating the move, Hakkinen clipped the back of the leading car and was sent across the track and into the barrier. The post-incident angst was in full view when the Finn got out of his car and flung his gloves down on the track in disgust, while Schumacher breezed across the finish line.

Lewis Hamilton: Reigning Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton (left) contested the Macau Grand Prix twice; in 2003 and again in 2004. After finishing 9th in 2003, it looked as though a Macau victory was on the cards the following year when he won the Qualification Race. However, Nico Rosberg moved ahead of Hamilton off the start and a lap later, the pair both ran wide and hit the barriers. Hamilton eventually finished 11th.

Damon Hill: Hill's best result from his three Macau attempts came in the 1988 Grand Prix, when he finished second to Enrico Bertaggia. The former Formula 1 World Champion was in Macau for the 1987 race which was famously almost wiped out by Typhoon Nina.

Eddie Irvine: Before the Irishman went on to his Formula 1 career, Irvine took three shots at the Macau Grand Prix, the first in 1988, and then again in 1989 and 1990, despite having graduated to the F3000 Championship.

Alan Jones: 1980 Formula 1 World Champion Jones competed at Macau three times from 1976 to 1978, finishing just shy of the podium in 1976. Jones went on to a decade-long Formula 1 career and is the last Australian to have won the Australian Grand Prix. His son Christian, also a racing driver, competed in Macau in 2004.

Robert Kubica: The BMW Sauber F1 driver (below) was "discovered" in Macau after BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen made a visit to the Guia Circuit in 2005, and saw Kubica take pole for the Qualification. Victory was snatched from the Pole two laps from the chequered flag, but Kubica had already caught Theissen's eye...

Geoff Lees: The double Macau Grand Prix winner (1979 and 1980) spoiled Riccardo Patrese's quest for a hat-trick of Grand Prix victories. Ironically, two years later, as Lees was going for his own hat-trick, American Bob Earl surprised the field by winning the 1981 race and spoiling Lees' very own chance.

John Macdonald: Any man who wins more than one Macau Grand Prix deserves to be at the top of our list, but MacDonald takes the feat one step further. The Hong Kong (via Britain) garage owner is the only person to have won the Macau Grand Prix (a record four times in 1965, 1972, 1973 and 1975), the Motorcycle Grand Prix (1969) and the Guia Race (1972).

Tony Maw: The only man to have won the Grand Prix from the back of the grid, Maw can be called tenacious if nothing else. Having just qualified under the cutoff time (he was within 0.1 seconds of it), the Australian eventually took the chequered flag in a Lotus 20B, which he had actually brought to Macau with the intetion of selling it. Many, including Maw, were surprised at his victory, but nevertheless, a victory it was.

Riccardo Patrese: The Italian had a Formula 1 career that spanned three decades (from 1977 to 1993). In Macau, Patrese came within one position of completing a hat-trick of victories. After winning the Grand Prix in 1977 and 1978, he was poised to win a third time in 1979 when Geoff Lees spoiled the party.

Emanuele Pirro: The Formula 1 driver competed four times at the Macau Grand Prix from 1984 to1987. After leaving Formula 1, Pirro returned to Macau, where he competed in the Guia race, winning twice in 1991 and 1992.

Albert Poon: Poon's name is synonymous with the Macau Grand Prix and for good reason -- the Hong Kong driver holds the record for competing in the most consecutive Macau Grand Prix. Beginning with his first race in 1961, Poon (above) competed for the last time in 1982, the year before the race switched to Formula 3.

Andy Priaulx: Priaulx may be better known for his three FIA World Touring Car Championship titles (and would definitely make a dream Guia Race grid), but he also competed at Macau in the Formula 3 Grand Prix in 2001.

Keke Rosberg: The 1982 Formula One World Champion competed at the Macau Grand Prix in 1978, and he and son Nico are one of many fathers-and-sons who have raced at the Macau Grand Prix.

Nico Rosberg: The current Williams- Toyota driver's 2004 Macau race started off well when he finished second in the Qualification Race. However, his race was cut short after a coming together with good friend Lewis Hamilton.

Takuma Sato: Sato is one of just two Japanese racers to win the Formula 3 Grand Prix (the other being Keisuke Kunimoto last year). Sato is also only one of three drivers to have won the Macau Grand Prix and the Masters of Formula 3 in the same year (along with David Coulthard in 1991, and Alexandre Premat in 2004).

Michael Schumacher: Before going on to become seven-time Formula 1 World Champion, Schumacher (above centre) was victorious in one of the most remarkable Macau Grand Prix races ever (see Mika Hakkinen above).

Ayrton Senna: Senna ushered in the era of Formula 3 at Macau perfectly, winning the 30th Macau Grand Prix in 1983. The 1983 entry list contained many drivers who would go on to Formula 1, but Senna -- one of the greatest motorsport icons of all time -- remains Macau's most celebrated alumnus.

Sebastian Vettel: Red Bull driver Vettel made his Macau debut in 2005, finishing 8th in the Qualification Race and 3rd in the Grand Prix. A year later, he returned as BMW Sauber F1 Team's third driver determined to conquer the circuit. His hopes were dashed, however, when he was demoted to the back of the grid after requiring an engine change.

Jacques Villeneuve: The 1997 Formula 1 World Champion raced at Macau three times from 1991 to 1993, with his best result coming in 1992, when he landed on the podium with a third-place finish.

Mark Webber: The F1 Red Bull driver's only Macau Grand Prix was in 1997, and despite being one of the quickest drivers at the time, Webber finished fourth overall.

Grant Wolfkill: Wolfkill is on the grid for his toughness -- the American filmmaker was taken prisoner in Laos in 1961 and incarcerated for 15 months. He later documented his experiences in the book Reported to be Alive. Wolfkill raced at Macau in 1958 and in 1960.

Teddy Yip: The late Macau legend Teddy Yip is fondly remembered and often referred to as the 'father' of the Macau Grand Prix. Over several decades, Teddy (below) was involved with many different aspects of the event -- racing for several years, and then running a team, all the while the bon vivant of the event. While his personal best finish in the race was 3rd in 1963, he was also a winner on many occasions with his team, and it was with Theodore Racing that Ayrton Senna won his Macau Grand Prix title.

Know Your Racing -- Timekeeping

When it comes to the high-speed sport of motor racing, timing really is everything. Never mind being a couple of seconds off the pace, or even one-tenth of a second behind, often success is measured by the tiniest fraction of time. Take the 1998 Formula 3 race, for example, when Peter Dumbreck won the Grand Prix by the race's narrowest margin -- a paperthin three thousandths of a second.

Since 1988, MST Systems Limited has been providing the official timing, data and television graphic services for each practice, qualifying and race during the Macau Grand Prix. Their technical expertise means that they are at the forefront of computerized result services.

Each vehicle is fitted with a unique tagging system known as a transponder, which identifies each car to the timing systems, and enables analysis of performance over a complete event.

"We have a bespoke electronic system which uses an infra-red photocell at the timing line for maximum accuracy," says Dave Bettinson of MST Systems Limited. "This system is then aided by the cars and bikes, which are fitted with a transponder for identification and back-up timing."

Times are measured to one thousandth of a second and a specialized console is used to calculate time and speed, clocked at three points on the circuit and at pit entry and exit. Back-up of the system is automatic and is continuously used to produce verified timing.

Teams, drivers and riders glean important information from the time sheets, both on their personal performance, and those of their competitors.

The 'Speed Trap' sheet shows the speeds at the fastest point on a circuit. In the case of Macau, the speed trap is located 1.635km into a lap on the Guia Circuit, which is 200metres before the Lisboa corner. As each car passes this point, the speed at which it is travelling is recorded. However, the fastest car at the speed trap doesn't necessarily indicate a winner!

Another important performance indicator is the sector times. The Guia Circuit has three sectors or sections. The first sector begins at the start/ finish line, the second at Lisboa corner and the third section starts just after the Melco Hairpin. The sector times -- the time it takes each competitor to complete that section of the circuit - provide even more detailed information to allow competitors to understand where they can improve on their overall lap times.

"The racing teams find the sector times useful because they want to assess their own and also other competitors' performances through each lap," Bettinson says.

In addition to the sector times and speed trap speeds, the time keepers issue overall timing sheets for each practice and qualifying session and race, as well as lap-by-lap analysis, which shows each competitors' speed for every lap. This data allows teams and media to analyse performance in extraordinary detail.

In the high-speed, high-octane world of motorsport, where the difference between victory and defeat can come down to the blink of an eye, accurate, reliable timekeeping is crucial.

-credit: macu gp

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