I used to hold the perception that Macau is a gambling hub filled with casinos and high rollers with no place for someone like me with shallow pockets. Then I learnt of a particular richness that Macau also holds – not rich in the monetary sense, but rich in its motorsports culture.
The Macau Grand Prix is an annual racing extravaganza held on its tight and narrow streets that have witnessed one accident too many, year on year. Yet, the excitement remains and this prestigious motorsport event goes into its 59th edition later this year. Held every November, professional and gentleman racers from around the world, come to Macau to participate in different types of racing from Formula 3 to the World Touring Car Championship and motorbikes.
The streets of Guia have earned for itself a reputation of being probably the most demanding track in the world, to the extent that Formula 1 drivers are quick to name it as the most challenging and memorable circuit they have raced on in their careers. Reigning Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel said in an interview that the Macau Grand Prix during his Formula 3 period was “the most challenging circuit he has ever raced on in his entire career”.
During the rest of the year when the Macau Grand Prix is not being held, motorsport fans can get their adrenalin rushes at Macau Motorsports Club (MMC), a permanent circuit that hosts the high levels of kart racing like the CIK-FIA KF1 and KF3 Championships, as well as other karting races such as the Macau Kart Prix and the Asian Karting Open Championship (AKOC). A mere 10 minutes drive from luxury casino complex The Galaxy, go-karts can be rented for a go at the challenging 1.2-kilometre karting track.
I was just there last December for the fifth and final round of the AKOC where some of our local karters did Singapore proud. Andrew Tang was crowned Senior champion of the AKOC despite missing the last two rounds due to an injury sustained during the fourth round of the AKOC in The Philippines. Mohammad Nasri Naufal (Opai) almost won the Senior race but had to settle for second place.
He said, “I just turned 23 years old a week before the race and I wanted to give myself a birthday gift by winning this race. I almost won it and it was a very close race, but I was facing a tyre disadvantage – due to some miscommunication I ran the race on used tyres while everyone else was on new tyres. I first raced in Macau in 2006, also in the AKOC, and I won that race. In 2010 I raced in Round 5 of the AKOC at Macau too, coming in 4th. I had a feeling of winning this time and I was aiming to, but that’s racing! I really enjoy coming to Macau to race – it’s a really good circuit.”
Beyond motorsports, Macau also has another form of adrenalin rush that can be experienced at the Macau Tower. The adventurous may want to try the Mast Climb, Bungy Jump, Sky-Jump or Skywalk X from a height of hundreds of metres above ground. The Mast Climb takes one 100 metres up the mast’s vertical ladders to Macau’s highest summit of 338 metres where breathtaking views of Macau’s city skyline and all its neon lights await you. The estimated total time needed for the climb (ascent plus descent) is two hours, giving you a complete workout!
Pump your heart harder with the 20-second controlled descent from 233 metres above ground called the Sky Jump where one literally flies at 75km/h before slowing just as you near the ground. If you think you can take on braver stunts, go for the bungee jump or do the Skywalk X where you walk around the 1.8-metre-wide outer rim of the Tower.
After all that adventure, reward yourself with a good dinner at some of the world-class restaurants and a drink in one of the lavish lounges. When in Macau, do remember to try their Portuguese egg tarts too, especially the ones from Lord Stow’s.