Few, if any other, street circuits around the world can claim a 60-year history using virtually the same layout, but that is precisely what Macau's Guia circuit has achieved. Since 1954, drivers have threaded their way through its precarious twists and turns but while the circuit may have remained familiar, everything else in the former Portuguese enclave has evolved year-on-year; racers from the pioneering years would today find the surrounding area barely recognisable.
The original idea for the event came from a trio of local sportscar enthusiasts – Fernando Macedo Pinto, Carlos Silva and Paulo Antas – who hatched a plan for a motorised treasure hunt over coffee one morning in the Riviera Hotel. The event was to be purely for fun and small in scale – at the time Macau had fewer than 300 vehicles – but the group of friends realised they needed additional expertise to organise the event. They looked a short distance across the water to Hong Kong, where the local Motor Sports Club was more than happy to help.
Once they saw the planned route, the Hong Kong Club suggested it bore a striking resemblance to another famous street circuit, Monaco, and would make an ideal venue for a Grand Prix. When the Macau authorities were immediately supportive of the plan, the race began to take shape. The course was laid out along public roads, starting at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and following the harbour road down to the Lisboa Hotel, from there rushing madly between the houses and cliff-sides of the old town before returning back past a reservoir to the modern seafront.