Macau Grand Prix: Unveiling the Charms of the Far East Racetrack

Total area: Approximately 32.9 square kilometres. Population: Around 700,000 people (densely populated). Macao is a Special Administrative Region, with its GDP primarily supported by industries such as gambling and tourism. Despite its relatively small size, Macao hosts large-scale events like the Macau Grand Prix each year, comparable to Monaco, on its streets.

Macau Grand Prix: Unveiling the Charms of the Far East Racetrack

While Macau may not host an F1 event like Singapore yet, the Macau Grand Prix is an eagerly anticipated spectacle. Held at the end of November each year on the Macau Guia Circuit, the 6.2-kilometre street circuit weaves through the city, featuring challenging elements such as inclines, hairpin turns, narrow streets, high-speed curves, and long straights. It stands out as one of the world’s renowned tracks, demanding excellence from racing drivers.

The Macau Grand Prix is a unique event as it simultaneously hosts Formula races, touring cars, and motorcycle events, adding a diverse flavour that attracts drivers and racing enthusiasts from around the globe.

On the track, a series of significant turns stands out for their unique history and origins. The starting and finishing point of the track is near the Macau Grand Prix Building, a central hub for event officials, arbitrators, timekeepers, and media personnel.

1. Reservoir Bend: Located across from the Macau Grand Prix Building, the Macau Reservoir, built in 1938, not only supplies water to Macau for three months but also features a grandstand providing the best view for race starts.

2. Avenida da Amizade and Mandarin Oriental Bend: This is a tight inner bend after a high-speed curve, with the inner side being narrower and more challenging to navigate. Avenida da Amizade leads to the Lisboa Bend, and through extensive land reclamation, the area has seen the construction of numerous hotels and commercial facilities.

3. Lisboa Bend: Considered one of the most dangerous turns and a crucial overtaking point, Lisboa Bend often witnesses dramatic collisions. The grandstand here commands the highest ticket prices. Named after the Lisboa Hotel in the vicinity, built in the 1960s, it remains an iconic structure in Macau.

4. Mandarin Oriental Bend: Named after the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, this turn poses an additional challenge with its narrow inner side. The hotel is part of the overall transformation of Macau’s landscape.

5. Guia Hill Bend: Named after the Guia Fortress, built in 1629 to resist Dutch invasions. Today, this area includes the Macao Security Force Affairs Bureau and the headquarters of the Macau Army Club.

6. Hospital Bend: Named after the nearby mountain-top hospital and the pedestrian bridge connecting to it. The Hospital Conde de São Januário was completed in 1873 and now serves as the location of the United Nations University.

7. San Ma Lo Straight: This area comprises three luxurious residences: Bela Vista, the Headquarters of the Monetary Authority of Macau, and the location of the United Nations University.

8. R Bend: Named after the Moorish community, the area now hosts a mosque. Since the Ming Dynasty, Islamic people have been settling in Macau. The name of this turn brings a sense of nostalgia, intertwining history and modernity in the Macau Grand Prix, adding a deeper layer of charm to the event.

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