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.


Although the Macau Grand Prix had seen many exciting finishes over its history, none was more dramatic than the last lap collision of Leg 1 winner, and race favourite, Mika Hakkinen, with Leg 2 leader, and eventual winner, Michael Schumacher. Steve Hislop stormed to victory over Peter Rubatto in the Motor Cycle Grand Prix and Macau veteran Masahiro Hasemi's Nissan turbo blew away the competition in the Guia Race.

Popular Scotsman David Coulthard won the Grand Prix on aggregate time, despite finishing second to Spaniard Jordi Gene in the second leg of the 30-lap race. Third place went to young Christian Fittipaldi on his Guia circuit debut. World Championship rider Didier de Radigues nicely rounded off a distinguished career by taking the Silver Jubilee of the Motor Cycle Grand Prix, and setting a new lap record of 2:25.91. The Guia Race saw former F1 driver Emanuele Pirro take a close fought victory over Kurt Thiim and three times Le Mans winner Klaus Ludwig.

The 39th Macau Grand Prix saw the lap records of all major races smashed. Sweden's Rickard Rydell won the Formula 3 Grand Prix by just 1.57 over Portuguese driver Pedro Lamy, who set a new lap record of 2:19.26 in his Reynard 923 Spiess Opel. In third place was young Canadian driver Jacques Villeneuve. The Guia Race was a touring car thriller with four factory Mercedes and three BMWs all determined to claim victory. Although Mercedes driver Bernd Schneider set a blistering new lap record of 2:29.74, Emanuele Pirro made it back-to-back victories, with BMW team mates Joachim Winklehock and Roberto Ravaglia in second and third. The Motor Cycle GP saw a classic two-wheeled battle between the 500 cc Yamahas of Carl Fogarty, Jamie Whitham and Japanese ace Toshihiko Honma, with Fogarty taking victory on aggregate, Honma in second and Whitham third. Fogarty also set a new lap record of 2:33.94.

In 1993 the event moved to its new, multi-million dollar headquarters in a purpose built facility opposite the jetfoil terminal. Rickard Rydell returned to defend his title but after setting a new lap record of 2.17:40 he was forced to retire, paving the way for Jorg Mueller's win. Denmark's Tom Kristensen was second, followed by pre-race favourite Kelvin Burt. In the Motor Cycle GP, 1990 winner Steve Hislop took the chequered flag four seconds ahead of 1989 winner, Robert Dunlop, who also set a new lap record of 2.33:18. Hong Kong's Charles Kwan made it into Macau's history books with a staggering trio of wins, the most astounding of which was his victory in the 24-lap Guia race over Emanuelle Pirro, two-time winner of the event, and touring car veteran Jo Winkelhock. With wins in the Supercar Race as well as the Macau Cup Race, Kwan became the first man in the event's history to have won three races in one weekend.

After two previous attempts Germany's Sascha Maassen, took victor's laurels on aggregate time. Kelvin Burt, finished second while Jan Magnussen, who had started the race from 18th on the grid, came home third. The Guia Race saw Jo Winkelhock in his Schnitzer BMW, taking the chequered flag in both heats, with team mate Steve Soper second and Toyota's Tom Kristensen in third. Scotsman Steve Hislop, riding a 500cc Yamaha Grand Prix machine, took his third Motor Cycle GP victory. Just 2.97 seconds behind was Englishman Mike Edwards, with Phillip McCallen in third.

Ralf Schumacher emulated his brother's success at Macau and won the event despite a massive pile up in the second leg. Italian Jarno Trulli came home second and Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa was third. Macau's Andre Couto finished a credible sixth in his first ever F3 race. The Guia Race, which ran over two, 12-lap heats, saw Kelvin Burt take the win followed home by Steve Soper and Julian Bailey. The Motor Cycle Grand Prix saw a grandstand finish between 1994 runner up Mike Edwards and Philip McCallen, with Edwards pipping McCallen to the post by just over a tenth of a second. Consolation for McCallen came in the form of a new lap record of 2:33.259. Third was Swiss ace Andy Hofmann.

Following an amazing finish, when most drivers in the Grand Prix failed to take the chequered flag because of a last-lap incident, victory was awarded to British F3 champion Ralph Firman ahead of Max Angelelli and Jarno Trulli. In the Motor Cycle Grand Prix, Ulsterman Philip McCallen won the 15-lap race on his eighth visit to the Guia circuit after pulling open a near 14 second advantage over Scotsman Roger Bennett, the first lap leader. Michael Rutter was third home, while 1992 winner Mike Edwards set a new lap record of 2:33.07. Audi driver Frank Biela took victory in a drama-packed Guia Race, followed home by Australian champion Brad Jones and Toyota driver Michael Krumm in third.

After an action packed race which saw Frenchman Soheil Ayari's car launched into the air, Ayari drove a brilliant race to win the 44th Macau Grand Prix. Behind Ayari, Patrice Gay and Enrique Bernoldi were locked in a thrilling battle with Gay pipping Bernoldi across the finish by just two and a half seconds while pre-race favourite Tom Coronel had to settle for a new lap record of 2:15.950. Briton Steve Soper fully capitalised on the first leg retirement of BMW team mate Jo Winkelhock to win the Guia Race from Toyota's Michael Krumm, with Charles Kwan in third. Veteran Swiss road racer Andy Hofmann fulfilled his promises to win the Motor Cycle GP. Hofmann, on his 750cc Kawasaki, won the race by almost seven seconds ahead of 1996 winner, Phillip McCallen on a 500cc Yamaha. Shawn Higbee, on a Suzuki 900, took third, making him the first American privateer on podium for almost a decade.

Briton Peter Dumbreck won the closest ever Macau Grand Prix - and the closest motor race in history at that time - when he beat Brazilian Ricardo Mauricio by just 0.003 seconds. Dumbreck, who had finished third in leg one of the race, won the aggregate time-trial battle with Mauricio, and leg one winner Enrique Bernoldi, to claim overall victory. In the Guia Race, German Jo Winkelhock made up for the disappointment of losing victory in 1997 due to a mechanical failure, to take a dominant win. The BMW driver led both heats from start to finish to lead home Italian Max Angelelli and Australian Brad Jones. In the 32nd Motorcycle Grand Prix, Briton Michael Rutter stormed to victory, shattering the existing lap record by over 2.2 seconds, and heading home his Honda Britain team mate Ian Simpson by more than six seconds. John McGuinness cruised home third, with American Mark Miller in fourth place.

Briton Darren Manning dominated both legs of the 46th Macau Grand Prix to claim a convincing victory. He benefited from the first leg being halted following a spectacular multi-car collision, in which nobody was hurt, after he had dropped to third place on the road. At the restart, he got clean away before steadily pulling clear of his rivals, a strategy he reproduced successfully in the second leg. Behind Manning, Briton Jenson Button and Macao's Andre Couto were fighting an epic battle which ended in a collision which removed Couto from the race. Japanese driver Daisuke Itoh became his nation's first Macao F3 podium finisher, as he benefited from the high attrition rate to take third place. In the Guia Race, Germany's Michael Bartels claimed victory despite failing to take a win in both heats of the event. Bartels led from the start in the first race, but was beaten to the chequered flag by Australian Paul Morris in the second. German Oliver Mayer finished third, following Max Angelelli's retirement with a broken driveshaft. In the Motorcycle Grand Prix, England's David Jefferies made it second time lucky, with a win at his second time of trying. Jefferies headed home Swiss rider Andreas Hofmann, when the race was halted two laps early because of Hofmann's machine leaking oil. Third placed man was 1998 winner Michael Rutter.