Something for everyone in refurbished Macau GP Museum

2021-03-22 03:33     Comment:0

Lesley Wells

The media were given a guided tour of the refurbished Macau Grand Prix Museum (MGPM) in Nape on Friday which has new exhibits, virtual reality (VR) games, braille explanations and models for the visually impaired as well as barrier-free access. All these things allow petrol heads, fans of the Macau Grand Prix and fans of VR games to have an enjoyable couple of hours in the well-lit, spacious museum.

Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes and MGTO Deputy Director Ricky Hoi Io Meng gave the media a briefing about the refurbished museum before participants were given a guided tour.

Senna Fernandes said that the media were the first delegation to be shown around the museum before its planned trial opening in April and May. She said, “Later the tourism- and hospitality-related fields will be given field trips and asked for feedback after the visit to see if anything needs to be improved.”

She went on to say that the trial opening would be a chance for the guides to practise.

A trial opening of MGPM is slated to take place in April and May; tickets can be pre-purchased online by Macau residents and visitors to visit the museum on weekends and public holidays in April and all of May except Tuesdays when the museum is closed. During the trial operation tickets will be half price, that is 40 patacas for Macau ID card holders and designated groups, 80 patacas for non-residents, and free admission for children under 12 and seniors aged 65 and over holding a Macau ID card (BIR) and non-resident children aged 3 or under.

The Macau Post Daily asked Senna Fernandes if the 40 pataca price included non-resident workers to which she gave the emphatic reply, “The answer to that is no!”

Each admission ticket allows the ticket holder to experience all of the interactive games. There are a number of these games such as MotoGP VR race experience, where visitors can ride a motorbike around the Guia circuit, a G-force Challenge, Batak Reaction Challenge, Formula 3D Tangible Experience and an Immersive Race Day Experience.

The refurbished museum covers an area of 16,000 square metres which is six- times larger than the original MGPM and covers four floors. Hoi pointed out that each floor has a different theme.

Hoi went on to say that because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions there are some partially unopened exhibits and facilities like the F3 and motorbike simulators and waxwork figures of the racers because right now experts from Hong Kong cannot come to Macau. However, the public tender for the lease of the Museum Café is in motion.

4 floors of GP history

After the briefing the media was divided into groups, Cantonese speakers, English speakers, Portuguese speakers and Putonghua speakers, and set off with guides, speaking the respective languages, on a tour of the museum.

Compared to the museum before the refurbishment it is now much more spacious, notably brighter and the information provided far more detailed. The English-speaking guide was very knowledgeable and provided further information to that included on the exhibits.

The basement has a Race Day Experience section for Race Operations, Race Control, Race Face and the opportunity to pose on the podium with a trophy as well as being able to suit up from a computer generated selection. The exhibits on the floor are of the Guia Race, which began in 1972, and the GT Cup, which includes Rob Huff’s Lada Granta 1.6T which he won the 2014 FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) World Touring Car Championship.

On the ground floor the first thing that visitors see is the Triumph TR2 that Eduardo de Carvalho won the first ever Macau Grand Prix in 1954. There is also a gift shop with items designed by local members of the creative industry that are unique to MGPM.

Level 1 shows the Formula 3 winning cars of drivers like Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, Aryton Senna and Sebastian Vettel, all who went on to be F1 champions. There is also a section about Macau’s Teddy Yip and his Theodore Racing Team as well as Filipino Arsenio Laurel, who was the first two-time winner in Macau in 1962 and 1963 and sadly in 1967 was the first fatality on the Guia Circuit.

On Level 2, which is reached from the basement via an escalator, is a display of the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, which was first run in 1967. There is a hanging deconstructed motorbike, a MotoVR Race Experience Game and the bike that Ron Haslam, six time winner in six attempts, rode.

The man who broke Haslem’s record of six wins in 2012 was Michael Rutter who has become known as “The King of Macau” and won his 9th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix crown in 2019. One of his bikes is on display as well as those of Stuart Easton and Peter Hickman.

From the Motorcycle GP visitors walk down a sweeping spiral staircase back down to the basement.

MGPM is following the Health Bureau’s pandemic guidelines so visitors are required to wear a facemask, have their temperature checked and show their Macau Health Code on the day of entry.

For more information on MGPM’s trial operation visit the museum’s official website

The Triumph TR2 that Eduardo de Carvalho drove to victory in the 1st Macau Grand Prix in 1954. Photos: Lesley Wells

One of the bikes Michael Rutter rode to one of his nine victories in the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix.

MotoVR Race Experience.

F3 car that Michael Schumacher drove to beat Mika Hakkinen and win the F3 Macau Grand Prix in 1990.

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