Changing Guias: 50 Years of the Macau Grand Prix

First run in November, 1954 as a club race for local motoring enthusiasts, the Macau Grand Prix has evolved into what many believe is the finest street circuit race meeting in the world. Here we look back at some of the highlights of the last 50 years.


The Macau Grand Prix was, for the first time, entered on the international racing calendar as a "national race with foreign participation," and was subject for the first time to the regulations published by the FIA for sports and grand touring cars. Scottish driver Martin Redfern, in his Jaguar XK SS, took victory in the seventh Macau Grand Prix with a time of 3:27:24.4. American Grant Wolfkill was second in a Porsche Spyder and Briton Jan Bussell was third in a Ferrari Monza. The 60-lap race saw the existing lap record broken 11 times in all - four times by Redfern, twice by Bussell and five times by Wolfkill, who set the new lap record of 3:17.20.

Thailand's Peter Heath, who along with Chan Lye-choon had almost been excluded from the event when the scrutineers failed their cars, went on to win the eighth Grand Prix in his Lotus 15. 26 seconds adrift was Bill Baxter in his brand new E-Type Jaguar, while Heinz Gosslar's Porsche Carrera finished third, one lap behind.

On his second outing at Macau, popular Filipino driver Arsenio "Dodgie" Laurel won the Grand Prix in his Lotus 22 Ford FJ and set a new lap record of 3:10.1. Second was Don Bennett in a Lotus S7, and third was Hong Kong's Albert Poon, on the first of many visits to the Macau Grand Prix rostrum.

With his 1963 victory, Dodgie Laurel became the first driver to win two consecutive Grands Prix. His Lotus also became the fastest car ever on the Guia circuit when it hit a top speed of 73.38 mph mid-way through the race. The Jaguar E-types of Bill Baxter and Teddy Yip, although four laps behind, were second and third respectively.

The 11th Macau Grand Prix saw an all-Lotus top three when Hong Kong's Albert Poon took victor's laurels in his Lotus 23, followed by John Kirk in a Lotus Elan and Steve Holland in a Lotus 18 Ford FJ. Poon also set a new lap record of 3:05.40. Argentine rally champion Eugen Bohringer won the 60-lap Production Car Race in a Mercedes 300 SE.

Of the record 40 entries received, only 24 would take the start of the 1965 Grand Prix. After a poor start, victory went to Hong Kong garage owner John MacDonald in his Lotus 18. He was followed closely by film-maker Grant Wolfkill in an E-Type Jaguar with Singapore-based Flt. Lt. Tony Goodwin's Lotus Elite in third. Poleman Albert Poon set a fastest lap of 3:07.60 before having to retire.

By 1966, the Macau Grand Prix's reputation had spread to Europe and for the first time an "imported" driver, in the form of Italy's Mauro Bianchi, won the event. Bianchi, in a Renault Alpine, drove 60 laps of the Guia circuit in a time of 3:12:23.20 and set a new lap record of 2:59.80. Albert Poon also set a record for number of Grand Prix rostrum visits when he placed second in his Lotus 23, while the Porsche Carrera of Japanese driver Shintiro Taki took third.

The first running of the Macau Motor Cycle Grand Prix saw Japan's Hiroshi Hasegawa take the chequered flag when his Yamaha RD 56 completed 30 laps of the Guia circuit in a time of 1:53:34.00. The Grand Prix also saw its first fatality when the car driven by race favourite Dodgie Laurel crashed and caught fire. The race was not stopped, although Teddy Yip withdrew his entry in sympathy, and was eventually won by Tony Maw of Malaysia in a Lotus 20B.

With the appearance of Japanese drivers Osamu Mochizuki and Osamu Masuko in their beautifully prepared Formula 2 Mitsubishi Colts, the event saw the debut of its first true single seater works team. Albert Poon in a Brabham Alfa took pole position for the 45-lap Grand Prix, with the two Mitsubishi Colts lining up next to him on the front row. Poon led for much of the race, but gearbox failure on lap 35 put the lead, and the win, into the hands of Singapore's Jan Bussell in a Brabham F2, while Japanese bike ace Hiroshi Hasegawa won the Macau Motor Cycle Grand Prix for the second successive year.

John MacDonald became the first - and only - man ever to have won both the Macau Grand Prix (1965) and the Macau Motor Cycle Grand Prix. Riding a Yamaha, MacDonald's winning time over 30 laps of the circuit was 1:45:31.50. Australian Kevin Bartlett took victor's laurels in the 16th Macau Grand Prix in his Mildren Waggott and set a fastest lap of 2:39.03.