Sport Motor sport

Like father, like son

Ben Blaschke
Written by Ben Blaschke

This article first appeared in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of WGM.

Having watched his father grow the Macau Grand Prix into the internationally renowned motor racing festival it is today, Teddy Yip Jr is proud to be continuing the family legacy.

With a father beloved universally as the “godfather” of the Macau Grand Prix, Teddy Yip Jr was always wary of besmirching the family name.

It’s why, having seen it disbanded in 1992, it took another 21 years for him to finally rekindle his dad’s Theodore Racing Team.

“To be honest, at the start of my motor sport career I was very, very hesitant to use the brand,” Teddy Jr told WGM. “I absolutely did not want to do business riding off the name and the work that my Dad had put in. So I didn’t for a number of years and then when the 60th anniversary came around (in 2013) it just seemed like perfect timing given all the anniversaries lining up (Teddy Yip Sr passed away in 2003). It just made sense finally.”

It’s a decision that has already paid off in spades. Quickly reclaiming its mantle as one of the big guns of the Formula 3 scene, Yip’s rejuvenated Theodore Racing Team won the Macau Grand Prix in its first year back in 2013 and again in 2015. Last year they very nearly did it again, with 2015’s victorious driver Felix Rosenqvist returning for a narrow second-place finish.

For the 34-year-old, the team’s success since returning is a huge source of pride.

“To be able to bring my Dad’s brand into the 21st century and do what we’re doing now is personally very special to me,” he said.

“But also being successful in Macau … I’ve been coming here and have been part of the Macau Grand Prix forever so to be able to come back to Macau again these past few years and watch it evolve has been fascinating and really enjoyable for me.”

Macau, and specifically the Macau Grand Prix, is in Teddy Jr’s blood. He was a year old when Theodore Racing won its first Macau Grand Prix in 1983 and even after the family moved to London when he was six, would still accompany his father back to Macau each year for race week.

“One of my earliest memories of anything at all is wandering around the garage at my dad’s house watching him prepare the cars for the race,” he recalls.

“Even though I was only young I knew there was something important going on. I knew it was a big deal.

“But now that I’m in this industry myself I really get it a lot more, which is why to be able to bring my Dad’s brand into the 21st century and do what we’re doing now is personally very special for me. Also, to come to Macau year after year and watch it change is fascinating.”

Since relaunching Theodore Racing three years ago, the team has become a powerful player in the US IndyCar series, GP2, European Formula 3 and both the German and Italian F4 series. However, it is Macau that remains the pinnacle for Teddy Yip Jr.

“It really is the highlight of the year for me,” he says. “Being here in Macau, it’s so far removed from the sterility of Europe that we’re used to most of the time. Macau is really special.

“There is color, there is noise – all the things that motor sport people love about motor sport in the first place.”