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Charles Leong Wins COVID-Affected Macau Grand Prix

Road & Track logo Road & Track 11/22/2020 Fred Smith

The Macau Grand Prix is an oddity among the pantheon of historic international races. While most of these famous events are either the crown jewels of a domestic series or long-run races that have changed hands across a variety of high-level organizers over the decades, Macau has largely been a race for lower-level open wheel talent to prove themselves on a major stage years before their shot at racing at a higher level.

The race has been run with Formula 3 cars since 1983, a race won by none other than Ayrton Senna. In the time since, winners have included Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard, and Takuma Sato. Winners this decade include Formula E champion Antonio Felix da Costa and newly-signed McLaren IndyCar driver Felix Rosenqvist.

In other words, winning this race means something for a driver looking to make their way to Formula 1, sports cars, IndyCar, or any other major series they have their sights set on. Last season, it was even integrated into Formula 1's official third-tier feeder series, FIA Formula 3, as a non-championship round. This race is a big deal.

But this year, COVID-related travel restrictions have forced it to scale back significantly, and the titular, headlining race of the weekend was forced to be run with domestic Formula 4 cars rather than a global compliment of Formula 3 cars. This left the field to be made up of drivers competing in the Chinese Formula 4 Championship, a field entirely filled by drivers from China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

This is still considered an official Macau GP, and winner Charles Hon Chio Leong, who competed in the Formula 3 version of the race last year, will still be able to say that he is part of that pantheon with Senna, Schumacher, and da Costa. It is comfortably the biggest win of Leong's career, making him the third winner of the race to run under the flag of Macau, the first since 2000.

This being Macau, there was no shortage of chaos in the support races run throughout the weekend. In one lower level race, a driver briefly lost their steering wheel. Incredibly, they were able to stay under control with just one hand before re-connecting the wheel and continuing on in the race.

The next race at Macau, likely to again be an unofficial part of the official FIA Formula 3 calendar, should be held next November.


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