Best-Ever Line Up Announced for 52nd Macau Grand Prix Weekend


This year's Macau Grand Prix will boast the best-ever race line-up in its 52 year history. The Far East Classic will be held from November 17 to 20, 2005, on Macau's legendary Guia street circuit, and will include the FIA Intercontinental Cup of Formula 3, the final round of the all-new FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), the FIA WTCC LG - Guia Race of Macau, and the 39th running of the ever-popular Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix - Hotel Fortuna. In addition to the three prestigious headline events, the action-packed schedule also includes a further six races for touring, saloon, junior single-seater and sports cars. As motorsport in Asia continues to develop at a rapid pace, the Macau Grand Prix has strengthened its unique position on the international racing calendar. As Mr. João Manuel Costa Antunes, Co-Ordinator of the Macau Grand Prix Committee explains: "For more than two decades, since Ayrton Senna won the Formula 3 Grand Prix in Macau, the event has been the one race every young single seater driver dreams of winning. When it comes to deciding the best of the best in the unofficial "world cup" in the category each year, the attention of the international motorsport community - as well as the media - is firmly fixed on Macau. "In addition, for the first time this year, not only will Macau host a round of one of only three official FIA World Championships, the WTCC, it will also be the final – and possibly deciding – event of the most prestigious touring car series on earth." "The Macau race programme also includes a Motorcycle Grand Prix which has become famous across the globe and is often compared to the Isle of Man TT. The mixture of cars and motorcycles on the same bill is a true rarity and adds to the broad appeal of the event." Macau's Guia street circuit itself, often described as the "Monaco of the Far East", provides a real test for man and machine as well as a picturesque backdrop for the race weekend, adding to the event's uniqueness. Practice and qualifying sessions for the 52nd Macau Grand Prix will be held on Thursday and Friday (November 17 and 18), with the racing getting underway on Saturday morning, with the final chequered flag on Sunday afternoon. The FIA Intercontinental Cup of Formula 3 - for the most promising Formula 1 aspirants - will once again be held in the new format introduced last year. The 10-lap Qualification Race will be held on Saturday afternoon, with the 15-lap Grand Prix run as the grand finale of the race weekend, and 2005 international Formula 3 season closer, on Sunday. Following the successful re-scheduling of the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix from its traditional early-morning slot last year, the 15-lap race will immediately follow the Formula 3 Qualification Race on Saturday afternoon this year. The FIA WTCC LG - Guia Race of Macau is scheduled to begin late Sunday morning, and will be held as two separate races of nine laps each with a 15 minute break between races. Support races include events for international, regional and local competitors and on the programme are the Hotel Fortuna Trophy, the Macau Cup/Asian Touring Car, the 2005 Asian Formula Renault Challenge, the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia, and the Macau Grand Prix Committee Scooters Cup for Macau residents. In addition, the ever-popular all-Hong Kong race for Group N 2000cc cars, will this year have a brand new title sponsor and be known as the Macau 2007, 2nd Asian Indoor Games Cup. The exciting new games, the second edition of which Macau will host, were created by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) for its 45 member National Olympic Committees. The games include a wide variety of disciplines including extreme sports, aerobics, acrobatics and short-course swimming. Confirmation that the games will be staged in Macau, currently gearing up for the 4th East Asian Games later this year, is the latest feather in the cap of a city fast becoming a major regional venue for important sporting events. New to the regulations for the car races this year will be changes to procedures in the event of a race stoppage in order to keep the racing action flowing throughout the race days. The changes follow the latest Formula 1 rules on which the Sporting Regulations for the Macau Formula 3 event are based. Should the Clerk of the Course decide the race must be stopped, the red flag will be shown at all points around the circuit indicating to the drivers they must stop racing immediately. Previously, drivers would then proceed to the pits slowly, wait while the track was cleared and for the start procedure to begin again. The new regulations begin when the red flags are shown. Instead of returning to the pits, drivers will slowly proceed - in the same order as when the red flag was shown - until indicated to stop by race officials at the nearest practicable point. This point is known as the "red flag line". The cars line up in single file behind the line, and team personnel may then work on the cars and race officials will give ten minutes'notice of the restart. The race will restart from the "red flag line" behind the Safety Car, which will lead the field for one lap before pulling off allowing racing to resume. The new procedure will save considerable time, benefiting the teams, television broadcasters and spectators with more on-track action.
Entries for this year's Macau Grand Prix will be announced at a later date, but motorsport fans can expect to see the full compliment of FIA WTCC touring car stars, the leading drivers from the world’s top Formula 3 Championships, and the most daring road racing motorcycle specialists on the planet. Tickets for the Macau Grand Prix are on sale now, and may be purchased from the Macau Grand Prix Committee at email: macaugp@cgpm.gov.mo Price details can be found on the official website at www.macau.grandprix.gov.mo, and tickets range from US$19 to US$88 for race day seats. Two-day race ticket packages are available, as are concessions for students.



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