Battle Preparations – A check-in from the Macau Grand Prix

Macau_GP_14 (3)There’s a small handful of international motor racing events, about ten or so, that sit on my personal bucket list. Through Any Given Reason I’ve been lucky to visit a few, and as time and circumstance allow I hope to one day attend them all. Competing would be the dream, but lets be realistic here. You’ve gotta pick your battles, so for the moment just attending and experiencing in person is more than enough.

Macau_GP_14 (1)The Macau Grand Prix has been at the top of that list for quite a while now, and as I sit here in my tiny hotel room (with both a telephone and a ‘No Admittance’ sign mounted on the wall above the toilet – go figure?) typing this story, I’m excited to finally be here. This place, and this race, is unique. It’s the Wild West meets the actual West.

Macau_GP_14 (5)It’s all a little bit cowboy – the ridiculously long and narrow street circuit (just 7m wide at one point!) usually turns into a crash fest, and the underground carpark pit paddock is full of heat and fumes and sweat. Nowhere else in the world could you use a circuit like this even for a club sprint, but at Macau there’s a round of the European Formula Three Championship and FIA World Touring Car Championship on this weekend. I love it.

Macau_GP_14 (6)The racing hasn’t even began yet and already it’s like nothing I’ve seen. I ‘obtained entry’ to the underground paddock today and had a good look around at the machinery. I’ll save the details for the full event report, but there’s a few interesting choices in terms of vehicles. It will be fascinating to see how they perform.

Macau_GP_14The Guia Circuit’s hairpin is easily the tightest in world motorsport, but is impossible to get to when racing is on. There’s only four grandstands, all near pit straight, that you can buy tickets for. Everything else is fair game, although without proper media accreditation (which is incredibly difficult to get) it’s going to be a challenge to get any decent photos. Between the catch fences and the large blocker panels put up by the organisers in the obvious places it will be tough, but I’m hopeful I’ll be able to secret-squirrel around and see what I come up with.

Macau_GP_14 (4)Either way, it should be an experience to remember. If any of you have been and have any tips or pointers on where to go, I’d love to hear from you.

Macau_GP_14 (2)Words and photos by Andrew Coles

And a few clips to get you in the mood for a weekend of street circuit action:

Watch to the end to see Macau’s unique recovery process:

And, the famous:

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Andrew Coles:


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