Aussie Brookes is a big-name addition to the line-up for the 55th edition of the invitation-only motorcycle race (November 16-18), which is back to full strength this year after most of the top names skipped the event in 2022 due to prohibitive quarantine measures that remained in place as part of Covid-19 restrictions.
The famous motorcycle race in southern China did not take place in 2020 or 2021 because of the pandemic.
Brookes will add Macau to his impressive road racing CV after competing successfully at the Isle of Man TT and North West 200.
The 40-year-old Bringelly man, who finished fifth in the Senior TT in June, will ride a BMW M1000RR as he tackles the 3.8-mile Guia course for the first time.
Brookes said: “The Macau Grand Prix is going to be interesting. Obviously, I have a career of road racing with results at the North West and the Isle of Man TT, but Macau is different from those races – it’s more like a short circuit with walls, as opposed to a public road so to speak.
"The real true road racing event is the Isle of Man TT, and the absolute pinnacle of racing extremes you know what you can achieve from a motorcycle is achieved in short circuits, so having never ridden at Macau before, that’s where my head’s at.
"I see it being more like a short circuit – let’s say a smoother, more refined ground to ride on but obviously surrounded by walls. It’s a really different mindset to go to the event in.
"I can’t make too many predictions or have any ideas going forward because I’ve never been to the event, never watched the event or been there before,” he added.
"It’s Faye’s [Ho] hometown and it means a lot to her, so I’m honoured that she would be happy to put a bike out for me to race.
"I’m looking forward to the experience. You know, results-wise I wouldn’t put any expectations on myself because having never been there before I can’t imagine what it will be like, but I certainly look forward to the challenge.”
Team owner Faye Ho holds a strong hand at her home race with three-time winner Hickman set to line up as the pre-race favourite, while the evergreen Rutter is the most successful rider ever at Macau with nine victories.
Hickman said: “I’m super excited to get back to Macau this year, the last time I raced there was in 2019, which was four years ago now, so I’m really looking forward to getting back out there.
"With the FHO Racing team it’s going to be a special one; it’s Faye’s home event and the first time the team has raced there, so it’s going to be really cool.
"It’s great to have Josh making his debut there, it’ll be interesting to see how he gets on with a brand-new circuit such as Macau, but after a few laps he’ll get his head around it. We’ve got a strong three-man team and it’ll be fun having Michael with us too.”
Rutter was classified as the winner of a controversial race in 2019 from Hickman, which was declared a result based on positions after only one lap following a second red flag stoppage.
“I’m looking forward to going back to Macau, the last time I raced there was in 2019 which turned out to be a short race with just one lap,” he said.
"Heading back this year with FHO Racing is quite a big deal, they’re the biggest team in the UK and after their success at the Isle of Man TT races, we should be in for some good results.
"I’m looking forward to being team-mates with Josh and Peter. I’ve raced against them so much in the past so although it’ll be highly competitive, the three of us will be a strong team.
"A huge thanks to Faye and the team for the opportunity, it’ll be great to be back racing at Macau with FHO Racing and with my long-term sponsors Bathams also onboard; it would be great to secure win number ten.”
Davey Todd is another leading contender as he prepares for a one-off ride with Northern Ireland team Burrows Engineering/RK Racing, also riding a BMW M1000RR.
Todd, who rode for John Burrows’ team in his first full season of road racing in 2018, has signed for TAS Racing to ride the Milwaukee BMW in the British Superbike Championship and major road races in 2024.
Paul Jordan from Magherafelt will ride a BMW S1000RR for the Zero Up Racing Team by Penz 13, while Australia’s David Johnson – a previous podium finisher at Macau – and Dominic Herbertson lead the charge for Dafabet Kawasaki.
Brian McCormack from Tramore in Waterford is entered on the Roadhouse Macau FHO Racing BMW as he makes the trip to the Far East for the first time since 2019.
Erno Kostamo, last year’s winner, returns on a BMW S1000RR along with 2022 runner-up David Datzer (BMW M1000RR), fellow IRRC rider Lukas Maurer (Kawasaki) and Austria’s Julian Trummer (WH Racing powered by Dynobike Honda).
England’s Phil Crowe (BMW M1000RR), Sam West (moto-hub.co.uk by MGM Macau BMW S1000RR) and Rob Hodson (Honda Fireblade) are also entered, while newcomers include three-time Manx Grand Prix winner Michael Evans (Suzuki) from the Isle of Man, Mark Goodings (Kawasaki) and Switzerland’s Olivier Lupberger (Team Lupi by Heiger Motorsport Kawasaki).
Free practice takes place on Thursday, November 16 with qualifying on Friday, November 17. The 12-lap race takes place on Saturday, November 18.
Also this year, the FIA Formula 3 and GT World Cup races are back on a packed schedule for the first time in four years.