Tag Archives: Macau

Will I ever get to Marshal Macau Grand Prix?

It’s no secret, I’d really like to volunteer for the Macau Grand Prix.

I’ve been wanting to marshal there since 2013 and so far to no avail… I have made contacts but it seems the rules in place favor locals because of the following three criteria:

  1. You must speak Cantonese to work the race.
  2.  You must participate in the training several months before.
  3. You must have a worker permit for Macau or Hong Kong.

I’m zero for three, naturally… but I still want to do it! I’ve visited the Guia International Street Circuit before and am absolutely in love with the place… and for whatever reason I feel confident one day this will happen for me even though I’ve been rejected since I started asking about it back in 2013…

So I thought it would be appropriate to list several reasons “WHY” I’d like to marshal at the Macau Grand Prix.

Reason #1: I really miss Asia!

I started my marshaling in Singapore. I loved coming back to marshal in Malaysia for many years. I even participated at the Korean Grand Prix as part of the Singapore GP visiting team. I really want to go back!

Reason #2: It’s a really unique event!

Macau Grand Prix is one of two International Motorsport events that don’t involve Formula 1! (and I’ve already done the other one: New Zealand Grand Prix) Macau is also unique because it’s the only major event in the world of Motorsport that features Open Wheel Racing… GT (Touring Car) Racing and Moto Racing on the same weekend, on the same circuit… you don’t see that too often these days. I want to see it in person.

Reason #3: The Guia Circuit is Amazing!

I have been to Macao and Seen/Driven on the Guia Street Circuit. It is spectacular. It is challenging. And it is very unique. I want to experience it in race trim. I want to see how the local marshals handle the incidents there. I want to hear the roar of the race cars going by at a million miles an hour. I want to be a part of it!

Reason #4: I want to check out the MX-5 Miata Scene in Hong Kong

Let’s face it, there’s no direct flights from the NYC metropolitan area to Macau. I would most likely burn some American Airlines miles to fly their Cathay Pacific partner to Hong Kong. And while in HK I totally expect to take advantage of the opportunity and organize some amazing Miata activities. The Miata club of Hong Kong is very active on facebook and I have no doubt I can work some contacts to enjoy a meeting with those enthusiasts in order to share my experience on this blog. I want to do a Hong Kong Miata meet as much as I want to marshal the Macau Grand Prix… it’s a must!

Reason #5: Foodie Tour!

I miss proper Chinese food. I miss the Cantonese food of Hong Kong. I want to sample some more of the Portuguese influence in Macau. I crave the food and the food culture that strives in this area of the world… I miss it so much… and the Macau Grand Prix would be a perfect opportunity to immerse myself back into that goodness full-on. I totally need this in my life right now (end of November).

So what stands in my way?

It’s not uncommon to have difficulties establishing the right contacts to get anything done in Southeast Asia. I was rejected for my very first volunteering attempt at the Singapore Grand Prix… but they reconsidered and it launched this amazing hobby of mine. I was rejected in Malaysia and now Sepang is one of my most favorite places to work at and Kuala Lumpur has that feeling of HOME that one day I want to make a reality (and move to live there). I’m sure once I find a key to the door of Macau it will become a place I will come back to. Even if it’s a one-time event, I’m sure I’ll enjoy the hell out of it and all the opportunities that surround that event/location.

Will Macau ever happen?

…stay tuned.

Rolex 24 at Daytona 2017 the Debrief

Rolex 24 at Daytona is my first major event of the 2017 season. The race itself was the second trip to Florida this year because I decided to participate earlier in the month of January for the “Roar before the 24” pre-race which was super exciting. The difference for the race for me was my role: I worked as pit & grid marshal.

Pit & Grid is an exciting position which I had first experienced while in New Zealand working a V8 Supercars race on the streets of Hamilton before they moved it to the Pukekohe permanent circuit. It was fun because it was so different, and because of the general proximity I had to the cars. There we were warned to watch our toes because the V8’s drivers would totally run over us on their way to their grid position. For the Daytona 24 hour event our services were not needed on the grid, or in the pits for that matter. I worked on the cold side of things in the paddock, making sure cars could leave the garages and enter or exit pit lane without running over someone else’s toes. So our job was really to be a spectator marshal. And after serving in this role at Pocono Raceway last year for an IndyCar event with Team Pocono, a race that doens’t normally use marshals, it was a preview into a role I totally would love to work more often.

I have made a ton of other posts already showing off the photos I took during some ad hoc grid walks (runs) and the up-close-and-personal look at the Mazda DPi cars which I really wanted to do. Or the acute gout attack that I got post-race that I am still recovering from more than two weeks later. So I’m not going to babble on about that. But I want to reinforce just how much this race was enjoyable this year, partly because of my assignment I think. The amount of cars was great. The amount of brand new cars was fascinating. And the crowds of spectators that came out to celebrate this event was very much impressive. I loved every moment of it!

I think this experience will effect my desire to work IMSA events again this season… perhaps as soon as March with a return trip to Florida to work St. Pete Grand Prix and Sebring 12 hour.

So stay tuned….


I’m also eager to come up with another international trip for this season, my goal is to marshal in a country where I haven’t marshaled before. This would be the big #16 and as always Asia is at the top of my list, I’d love to do Macau Grand Prix for the first time. But also Azerbaijan with Baku Grand Prix isn’t out of the question. But perhaps Latin America will finally make a list. I’d love to go to Brasil to to a Grand Prix there… or even better one of their Supercars events. Stay tuned for sure.

What Should My 15th Country To Marshal Be?

As I’m soaking in the sunshine in South Beach, Miami admiring all these beautiful people from all over the world, I can’t help but wonder what should the Fifteenth country for me to marshal be?

It’s quite the anniversary and an accomplishment in my book, but it’s also frustrating to figure out what to do. The best course of action, so to speak.

So what are my options?

I’ll start with what I’d like my options to be, and it’s something I’ve written about before. And they are the most unlikely places that I’d really like to marshal but that haven’t allowed me to marshal there yet. And they include Macau and Japan. Macau or Macao would be amazing to experience the Guia Circuit (which I’ve visited as a tourist before) during the Macau Grand Prix where all sorts of Motorsport takes to the street course over the same weekend, including Open wheel cars, Touring cars, and Motorcycles. That would be fantastic, but unlikely because 1. I don’t speak Cantonese to work there, 2. I don’t live in Hong Kong or Macau and don’t have the appropriate work visa to volunteer and 3. I cannot make any of their training sessions to qualify as a local volunteer, and they’re not open to visiting marshals which is a shame. It’s a similar situation in Japan to volunteer for the SuperGT series at Suzuka for example for Pokka 1000 which I thought would be a really cool event. Main issue there is I don’t speak Japanese and none of the locals are keen to babysit a foreign marshal even though there are Japanese marshals that travel to other countries to volunteer, they don’t reciprocate.

I have considered reaching out to the Bahraini marshals to see if I could join them for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku. That seems like a destination that would be quite memorable to visit. But I don’t know how likely they are to accept me as a volunteer.

Recently I considered Mexico as a convenient place to go to next. I’ve worked with a number of Mexican officials at the Long Beach GP, the Canadian and US GP’s and other events in the US. But when I reached out to my Mexican contacts I was made to understand that it was “impossible” to volunteer in Mexico because they were oversubscribed on marshals as soon as their GP was announced. Bummer!

Perhaps Brazil would be a logical choice? Well, the only thing that has stopped me from going to Latin America so far is the outrageous VISA fees. I can’t imagine paying $160 or $180 dollars for a visa when I normally don’t spend that much on flights. So that’s not really at the top of my list thus far.

So the logical choices that I’m left with are the Netherlands or Austria which both host a series I am extremely interested in: DTM. I would love to do the German touring car series in either one of the countries because I’ve already made contacts with both organizers and have worked with plenty of Dutch and some Austrian marshals to know I would be able to manage my volunteering trip there quite easily and conveniently. But which one should I focus on?

That’s the dilemma I’m faced with before I walk a few steps to the amazingly warm waters of the Atlantic and float around for another hour enjoying the opportunity I jumped on to book a cheap flight. Note to self, I ought to sign up for the Miami ePrix to have a better excuse to come back to South Florida to marshal Formula E, although last year that opportunity seemed quite hush hush, because only select few were invited, treated well with hotels that the organizers provided and payment for their work, which is pretty unusual in US volunteering…. maybe that’s why I wasn’t invited?

The Wishlist

With a crappy station assignment for the upcoming USGP in Austin the thoughts of “is it still worth it?” loom as I’m about to depart for Texas early next week. Of course it is! One potentially disappointing trip will not deter me from continuing to volunteer. Especially when there is something better to look forward to. This post therefore is my “Wishlist” – the events and places I would really like to marshal in the near future, in no particular order.

I believe I have narrowed the list down to just five (5) items. However before I proceed to list them, I should cover a few places and events that, while I’d love to volunteer I probably most definitely could. And some that I have lost interest in for a variety of reasons. This should illustrate the way I look on volunteering at this point in time, which would be an interesting concept to revisit at a later date especially to compare how feelings change with time and experience.

kirribilli australia sydney

To start, there are a few places I’d really really really like to marshal. High atop that list is the Spa 24 hour race – the feature event of the Blancpain Endurance Series (BEC) at the famous Spa-Francochamps circuit in Belgium. I can totally see myself going there if only I could get all the ducks in correct order. Malaysia Merdeka 12 hour endurance is definitely high on that list of races I “could” marshal also. I love Malaysia! I love everything about it and cannot wait to work with my friends again in Sepang. And to visit Thailand or Singapore on the way over there. The Bathurst 1000 would be nice to do, because it too is the pinnacle of Australian V8 Supercars series. I have yet to do the Dubai 24 hour race, my first visit to the UAE made a great impression and I genuinely look forward to returning one day.

The “would be nice” list:

f-belgium Spa 24 hour Blancpain Series at Circuit Spa-Francochamps

f-malaysia Malaysia Merdeka Asian GT at Sepang International Circuit

f-australia Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercars at Mount Panorama

f-uae Dubai 24 hour at the Dubai Autodrome

f-hungary Hungarian Grand Prix F1 at Hungaroring

There are also events which I would NOT bother pursuing. Chiefly among them is Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. I feel that way not just because it was a total pain in the ass experience the last time I attempted to put my name on the volunteer list there. But mainly because there are much better events at the Yas Marina Circuits that I would focus on. And to be honest I would return to do the Gulf 12 hour in a heartbeat, because I really enjoyed the circuit and the racing the last time I worked there. Monaco Grand Prix is also not on my list at all, even though everyone suggests it as a “dream” destination. I wouldn’t event attempt it, not just because it would require to learn French, lose a lot of weight and have to audition through a very physical obstacle course with a heavy fire bottle on my shoulders. That actually sounds like fun. But more importantly because of the arrogant atmosphere surrounding the recruitment process and the perceived recruitment processes spread like fire word of mouth at events I’ve participated at already. I have found myself enjoying Sports Car events far more than I do Formula 1. I would however, totally do a new (to me) F1 circuit like the Hungaroring especially since I was invited directly to participate there. Similarly, I would love to volunteer at the Virginia International Raceway (VIR) since I’ve been invited to marshal there many times now. But the one event I would like to start with isn’t actually open  to volunteers like me and instead is handled by VIR employees which bumps this track off my wishlist.

The “no thanks” list:

f-uae Abu Dhabi Grand Prix F1 at Yas Marina Circuit

f-monaco Monaco Grand Prix F1 at the Monaco Street Circuit

f-usa Oak Tree Grand Prix TUSC at Virginia Int’l Raceway


I think since I started my marshaling hobby in Singapore, there are two prominent places on “The Wishlist” in Asia and both have rejected me. But, I will not be deterred and aspiring to volunteer there will hopefully get me a more welcoming result in the future. As I’ve mentioned before since Western teams eagerly participate in the series there, there’s no reason for a non-local to marshal there either. So without further ado, I present to you…

The Wishlist:

f-macau The Macau Grand Prix – Guia Street Circuit is a very desirable destination for me personally. I have visited, driven on (albeit on a shuttle bus) and walked the actual street circuit used for this fantastic event. It is one of two country Grand Prix in the world that are not affiliated with Formula 1. And I have done the other one already, which just happens to be New Zealand Grand Prix. It is also one of the few events in the world featuring both car and bike races over the same weekend. Not only that but you have sports cars, open wheelers and motorcycles using the same circuit to compete. Talk about variety!

f-japan Pokka 1000 – Suzuka Circuit also turned me down because I don’t speak a lick of Japanese. Boo Hoo… Despite a very international field of drivers participating in this SuperGT endurance race who like me, probably don’t speak a lick of Japanese either. But what a fantastic event it is. You’ve got the best of Japanese technology on display with the GT500 field and a healthy mix of European and Asian tech in the GT300 field. Would totally love to be there one day wearing orange overalls and a white helmet with a big smile on my face.

f-germany DTM! The German spec supercar series is like a dream to marshal even though everyone I have spoken with about it, suggests that the atmosphere is reduced to Formula 1 style dictatorship where everything is controlled and mostly forbidden by the organizers. The good news, my not speaking German would not be a deal breaker. So there’s a shimmer of hope and a strong desire to volunteer for a DTM race in it’s current glory before it is completely changed… (like the upcoming races for the Australian V8 Supercars series). Worst case scenario I could probably marshal DTM without a language barrier at the Moscow Raceway. But I’d prefer Germany.

f-brazil Stockcar! The Brazilian Stockcar is no NASCAR of South America. While a Chevy Sonic or a Peugeot 206 stuffed with a big V8 obviously differentiates it from the American Toyota Camry, watching clips of the Brazilian races on YouTube makes me want to participate. Sure the language would be a problem, but much like Germany I think the locals would be welcoming and allow me to play. The location doesn’t particularly matter to me, though Interlagos in São Paulo would be an obvious choice for a number of sentimental reasons. One day I shall make it happen.

f-southafrica The African 6 hour. There’s something about South Africa that really intrigues me. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a bunch of people from there at various Australian, New Zealand and British events (and by British I will lump the Gulf 12 hour into this experience as the busload of Brits were imported to marshal at Yas Marina circuit specifically for that event). And I can’t wait to visit the actual country and some of their famous circuits. There was a time when even Formula 1 ran there, but with current level of competition between Asian, Middle East and American circuits… it seems SA has been forgotten. The African 6 hour keeps the legacy alive, featuring a good grassroots level machines from Sports Cars to Prototypes in a form of I guess Radicals and home grown variety. I really want to go there and join the team in orange at least once in the near future.


I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to be rejected… And yet when it comes to Motorsports rejection is quite a common thing. It’s important to manage your expectations when attempting to volunteer for various events because rejection is a definite possibility.

My only real rejection letter (e-mail) so far came from Singapore GP. I know what you’re thinking, how could that be…. you’ve worked the past few SGP events. This is true, but when I first applied I received a response stating that I was not selected but that I was added to a waiting list and should a spot open up I will have an opportunity to join the organization as a marshal. I could only but speculate why I received such a response, and whether or not it’s a common tactic used to make the event seem far more oversubscribed than it really is, but it certainly worked for me. Rejection makes you desire something even more when it’s harder to obtain. A forbidden fruit.

I’ve caught a lot of flack for criticizing ATCUAE the organization behind the marshals at the Abu Dhabi GP in the United Arab Emirates for preventing me from applying in the first place. It sure felt like a rejection even though I didn’t even fill out an application, a crucial first step and requirement to be properly rejected. Since voicing my complaints I’ve learned that the way the process works there is each applicant receives a tabard number and even though not everyone gets selected or more importantly actually follows through with their commitments to show up as a marshal, once that finite number of applicants is reached no more are accepted as candidates for the “security clearance” and that was my case. Did I decide to apply too late? Not really. I first learned of an opportunity to marshal in Abu Dhabi from a British expat working there whom I met while marshaling the Malaysian GP. He suggested I join him at the UAE event and who was I to say “No?” I was quite happy with the idea of exploring a new country. But as the event drew closer and I never heard back I began to make my own inquiries, and that’s when I learned I couldn’t apply. I have to say I was really glad when I wasn’t rejected for the Gulf 12h. Granted I wasn’t strictly going to the UAE but instead wanted to piggyback the event onto an already exciting trip to the Bahrain 6h of WEC and my first Asian Le Mans Series event at Sepang in Malaysia, Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi made a fantastic impression on me.

Sometimes you get rejected even when they ask you to come back. This happened to me with the Canadian GP. Last year and the year before it, I documented my trip by taking and sharing photos on social media and this blog alike. This was not to the liking of my post chief who nearly a year after the event took place complained of my camera use (and by camera I mean a discreet cell phone shot here and there, and not a full blown Digital SLR like one of our Canadian colleagues on the rescue team who had that thing whipped out for an entire F1 session at a time, and no one said a peep even though everyone saw it) So I was invited to come back (please come back and bring friends who can marshal we really need you) but only on condition that I never take pictures again, a probation if you will. What’s the sense in returning to that? Part of the perk of volunteering is keeping a visual memory of your participation in the form of pictures or video. I’m certainly not condoning blatantly mocking the rule, but I’m not spending the money to travel and the aggravation of getting harassed at the border year after year just to take mental pictures. (as was suggested) No thanks!

More recently I wanted to try my hand at marshaling for the SuperGT series on their home turf in Japan. Pokka 1000 an endurance race held at the famous Suzuka Circuit was my goal. I reached out to some folks I knew and was introduced to the person organizing the marshals there who quickly and confidently rejected the whole idea I could join their team as a visiting marshal. “Not possible!” Why? officially because I don’t speak Japanese. And would not be able to make any of their prior training sessions to be up to par to their standards. But more realistically I will venture a guess that nobody wants to deal with a liability. And being a foreigner pretending to know how a particular organization runs, in any official capacity – as a volunteer marshal, makes me a liability. Nobody wants to be stuck babysitting a guest, who doesn’t speak the language, will probably require help finding accommodation locally, and need to be transported to and from the track to make the early morning meetings. It’s a lot easier to say “No!” than to say “Yes!” and then worry about the logistics.

car show odaibaToyota City Showcase where I watched the 2011 Japanese GP, next to the big lot on Odaiba where I attended my first JDM car show.

odaiba tokyo car show

Similarly, now that the United States GP and Macau GP don’t share the same dates for their race weekend, I reached out to the organizer of marshals for the Guia Circuit to see if they’d have me, but the response was very similar to that from Japan. Since I don’t speak Cantonese and will not make any of their training modules, I am not a welcome guest to their marshaling crew. And that’s that.

Ironically it took a lot of convincing for me to finally volunteer the Malaysian GP. There not only language but religion were a major obstacle which were overcome because when it comes down to it, the role of a marshal doesn’t change from country to country. I’ve worked alongside people whom speak different languages in many countries, including the United States. English is a pretty universal language nowadays in Motorsport and most of the drivers and riders racing along the streets of Macau can only be addressed in English in an emergency situation, I’m fairly sure strictly speaking Cantonese to them will have little effect. If racers are encouraged to perform their craft abroad so should the marshals.

macauShuttle bus to the Macau Ferry Terminal along the front straight of the Guia Circuit… on a quick visit to Macau & Hong Kong.

guia macau

I have been to Japan during the Japanese GP weekend, and while I watched the race from Suzuka on a big screen at a Toyota Superstore in Tokyo, I’ve always thought that one day I may come back as a marshal. I got to walk around parts of Guia Circuit on a visit to Macau, even drive down the front straight on a shuttle bus back to the ferry terminal/airport, and there too I thought one day I will come back wearing orange. I guess that day will have to wait.

So if there’s any Japanese marshals currently working at Suzuka who would like to take responsibility for me and help me marshal along-side them (while translating what’s happening) I would love to join. Similarly if there are Macanese marshals willing to do the same for the Macau GP, I would love to hear from you! I will be happy to share my experiences from those events here on this blog in the naive and straightforward fashion I share all my other opinions.

PS. I know marshaling as a foreigner in Suzuka isn’t impossible. I know this because there was an Aussie marshal I worked an SBK Superbikes event at Phillip Island who wouldn’t stop yacking about his experience volunteering at Suzuka. Though as expected he was quite critical of the event due to the lack of language, him and a friend were basically spectators while the locals did everything. Go figure!