Entry lists full of history at Estoril Classics
Imagine a museum that takes you through the history of motorsport from the 1950s to the 2010s... It's an appealing idea, but if you imagine the machines that have marked the history of motorsport battling it out on the track, then the scenario suddenly becomes passionate...
That's what Estoril Classics will be offering you on 6, 7 and 8 October.
All racing cars were designed with a single purpose - to push the limits in order to beat the competition and win on the track - which is why looking at them in a museum, although often a unique experience, is not a complete experience, as you miss the sound, the smell, the sensation of speed, realising how they can go to the limit.
Estoril Classics is, in essence, a competition museum in which every car that has made motoring history battles it out with its contemporaries for the same purpose for which it was designed - to win.
With their entry lists presented, although they may change, the eight Peter Auto competitions promise to bring to the Autódromo do Estoril machines that have marked the history of motorsport from the distant 1950s to almost the present day, covering Endurance and Touring car races.
The 1950s and 1960s will be represented by the Fifties Legends, Sixties' Endurance and The Greatest's Trophy series, each of which will bring dream cars to Estoril.
The first, with a chronological period that spans the 1950s and early 1960s, will feature the populars Mini Cooper S, the agiles Lotus 19 or the charming Austin Healey, machines that are part of the imagination of fans.
In Sixties Endurance - pre-63 prototypes and pre-66 GTs - the most impressive cars are the portentous Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé, the irreverent Lotus Elan, as well as the exuberant Porsche 904/6 Carrera GTS and the enchanting Jaguar E-Types.
If these are the cars that make Estoril Classics even more special, the machines entered in The Greatest Trophy - cars of exceptional rarity and value from the 1950s and 1960s - are sure to impress all motoring fans.
In a year in which Ferrari returned to the Le Mans 24 Hour race with a victory, there will be a Ferrari 250 LM at the Estoril Autodrome, the model that gave the Maranello marque its victory in the French classic race in 1965.
The Maranello manufacturer will also be represented by a 250 GT SWB, one of the most highly-rated cars on the market, and it will also be possible to see a beautiful Alfa Romeo TZ2 and an exotic Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage on the track.
Classic Endurance Racing will bring GT cars and prototypes from 1966 to 1971, a time of great innovation and technological advances in motor racing.
The historic Ford GT40 and the Lola T70 will be the highlights of this period, with several examples of these two models, but the interest doesn't stop there, with a Porsche 908 making an appearance, a machine that won at the Nurburgring and the Targa Florio.
Also having won the Sicilian classic, the Alfa Romeo T33/3 will make its debut in the Estoril Classics and, in itself, is worth a trip to the paddock to see it up close, follow its progress on the track and listen to the melodious singing of its three-litre V8.
The starting grid for this competition is completely full and there are still eight reserve cars, which shows the interest that Estoril Classics has generated among drivers and teams.
Classic Endurance Racing II grid will feature iconic cars that competed in endurance races between 1971 and 1981 and there will be many prototypes that made history during this period, such as the Lolas - in its various iterations - the Marches or the Chevrons.
Porsche will be represented by the 935, one of which will be driven by Zak Brown, the CEO of McLaren, who is returning to Estoril Classics after having taken part in the event in 2021.
The spectacular BMW M1 Procars will be another reason for interest in the competition, as they marked an era for motorsport fans.
The 1990s and the first decade of this century will be represented by Endurance Racing Legends, which will have prototypes and GT cars on its grid.
Cars such as the Dome S101 and the MG Lola EX264 LMP2 will be among the prototypes in this competition. The Ford GT GT1, Chevrolet Corvette, Aston Martin DBR9, Marcos LM500 and the very rare Lamborghini Diablo GT1 will be the headliners among the GTs, offering a very representative mix of the endurance races of the period.
While the history of endurance racing is well represented, that of touring car competitions is also a parade of emblematic machines.
The Heritage Touring Cup brings to Portugal the cars that competed in the ETCC from 1966 to 1984, the golden years of the championship.
BMW and Ford have been two of the most notable manufacturers in this category and the track will feature machines such as the 2002 Ti, 3.0 CSL or 635 CSI from the Bavarian brand. From the American side there will be examples of the Capri - both the 3100 Cologne and 2600 versions - Escort, Mustang 289 and Falcon Sprint.
A replay of the duels between these two brands is promised and with this diversity, it's unlikely that any fan will leave the event without catching a glimpse of a car they've always dreamed of.
Finally, there will be the 2.0L Cup, an one-make series for the Porsche 911 SWBs with two-litre engines. As always, the races promise excitement and uncertain results.
Any of the aforementioned cars would delight any racing enthusiast in a museum, but on the track, pushed to the limit and fighting for every centimetre of tarmac is a unique experience and opportunity.
Tickets for the paddock are already on sale (on the official Estoril Classics website, at BoL, and also physically at FNAC, Worten, El Corte Inglês and CTT Correios), and the organisation expects them to sell out before the start of the event, as more than thirty thousand people are expected over the weekend.
The access to grandstand A is free, while entry to the paddock will cost 20 euros on Friday and 30 euros on the other days, or 50 euros for the whole event, with holders being able to see the cars and teams up close, as well as all the paddock activities, including the "Pitstop Village".