Macau GP

70th edition of Grand Prix to return to double-weekend format

The 70th edition of the Macau Grand Prix, to take place in November this year, will likely mimic the 60th edition when the local GP event was extended to two weekends, covering a total of six days.

The information already hinted at by Pun Weng Kun, president of the Sports Bureau and coordinator of the Macau Grand Prix Organizing Committee (MGPOC), was reaffirmed on Sunday by the same official during a sidelines interview with the media during the Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macau Cup football event at Taipa’s Olympic Stadium.

“[This year’s anniversary GP event] will be similar to the 60th-anniversary edition. We are planning to launch activities for two consecutive weekends, including the racing events as well as other promotion-related events,” Pun said, adding, “the focus of our work at this moment is to bring back world-class racing competitions.”

He also said that for the time being, the ongoing negotiations to resume the international events, namely the FIA-related competitions, are “running smoothly and very positively.”

As reported by the Chinese news media Macao Daily, Pun also stated that he feels very confident that the Formula 3 World Cup will be able to return to the Guia circuit this year, adding that the MGPOC is committed to bringing back also other events, such as the FIA GT World Cup.

For the time being, the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) has not yet announced any tentative dates to resume the F3 World Cup although the 2023 racing season calendar was released some time ago, presenting a 10-race events season ending in Monza, Italy on the first weekend of September. This timing allows a potential resumption of the local GP event in November.

FIA WTCR Macau Race as an annual one-off?

Currently, as part of major restructuring, the FIA WTCR has been discontinued, and, for the time being, there are no events scheduled for 2023, with the racing category to be finally replaced by the FIA ETCR, a similar format event but running fully electric vehicles.

Still, talking with specialized media Touring Car Times late last year, the Discovery Sports Events head, François Ribeiro did not rule out the possibility that the WTCR category cars will continue to run (potentially until 2025) as a one-off annual event.

“The introduction of 100% sustainable fuel was central to this. Unfortunately, it has become apparent that 100% fossil-free fuel is not yet compatible with the production engines used in the TCR category because it puts too great a demand on mechanical components,” Ribeiro said, adding, “With more and more corporate sponsors not wishing to be associated with a category that does not use fossil-free fuel, we have very real concerns that this will have a negative impact on WTCR grid numbers next season, which have already been compromised by the global health pandemic, the war in Ukraine and weakened economic outlook. A future one-off annual event will help to address these concerns.”

Although Ribeiro did not reveal that the potential “one-off annual event” could be related to the Macau GP, the Times learned from well-informed sources in the touring car racing world that, “it is a serious possibility.”

Precisely one year ago, the Times questioned the MGPOC on the potential inclusion of electricity-powered vehicles (EVs) in the local GP. At the time, the MGPOC said that the Macau GP might consider including races featuring EVs, if this type of racing event would gain more popularity and if it is feasible for the Guia circuit to have them.

“We are open to the idea of hosting more variety of races at the Macau Grand Prix in the future as we look to continue the long, distinguished history and to preserve the rich heritage of this prestigious event,” the MGPOC also added in their response.

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