Macau Grand Prix 25th year anniversary
The very first name on the list of Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix winners is that of motor racing legend Ayrton Senna. This year, one young future star will become the 25th name on that list, joining the likes of Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher and Takuma Sato who have each taken the prestigious title on their way to international stardom.
Macau winners who are now knocking on the door of Formula 1 by competing in the GP2 feeder series include 2003 victor Nicolas Lapierre, 2005 champion Lucas di Grassi, and Briton Mike Conway who took victory in the Far East Classic last year.
Other former conquerors of the Guia Circuit have gone on to highly successful careers in other senior categories of racing.
Alexandre Premat, winner in 2004, is this year contesting the highly- competitive German touring car series, DTM, as well as the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours, having had a taste of Formula 1 with the Spyker MF1 Racing outfit at last year's Chinese Grand Prix.
Tristan Gommendy (2002) has carved a career in the US Champ Car series, while 1999 winner Darren Manning is currently racing in IndyCars. Andre Couto, who memorably became Macau's first, "home grown" Formula 3 champion in 2000, is competing in Japan's SuperGT series along with 1996 Macau winner Ralph Firman.
Further back, John Nielson, the man who followed in the footsteps of Senna at Macau, went on to win Le Mans in 1990, while Mauricio Gugelmin (1985) progressed to Formula 1 and then Champ Car. Martin Donnelly (1987) and David Brabham (1989) also made it to F1, as did Enrico Bertaggia (1988). Andy Wallace (1986) and Sascha Maassen (1994) are both competing in the prestigious American Le Mans series this season.
Jorg Muller (1993) went on to win the International Formula 3000 Championship in 1996, and is currently contesting the FIA World Touring Car Championship. He was runner up to Andy Priaulx, another former Macau F3 racer, last year.
However, it is not only the winners of the FIA Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup who have become household names. Seventeen of this year's Formula 1 field have raced at Macau, including Lewis Hamilton, Nick Heidfeld, Giancarlo Fisichella and Nico Rosberg. Former F1 World Champions Damon Hill and Mika Hakkinen have Macau on their CVs.
The entry lists for all the major international racing series, both open wheel and tin top, feature drivers who have tested their racing skills in one of the world's most famous Formula 3 races: The FIA Formula One World Championship, the FIA World Touring Car Championship, GP2, DTM, the Champ Car World Series, the IndyCar Series, the Super GT Series.. the list is endless.
In any given weekend, the chances are that on a race track somewhere in the world a former Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix competitor is making his mark, and this year a 25th name will be added to the history books of this legendary event. MGPC PR