Get Ready to Rev Up: Estoril Classics 2023 is Here!
This year's edition of Estoril Classics kicked off today, already arousing a lot of interest among the public, who lined the paddock and Grandstand A, getting access to some new features, as well as seeing unforgettable machines on track, as is the tradition at the beginning of October at the Autodromo do Estoril.
It was under glorious autumn sunshine that the machines and drivers took to the track, kicking off what is already considered one of the most important classic motor racing events in the world.
As well as private tests, qualifications were held where the cars were tested to their maximum potential in an attempt to get their drivers as highly classified as possible for the races that will be held over the weekend.
Being able to see machines ranging from prototypes to Formula 1, GT and Touring cars, driven by iconic names such as Jochen Rindt, Helmut Marko, Ronnie Peterson, Alan Jones, James Hunt and many others, being pushed to the limit is a unique experience that today has already been witnessed by the large crowd that has already made its presence felt at Portugal's oldest permanent circuit, but tomorrow and Sunday a veritable flood is expected that will add even more colour to the whole event.
Those travelling to the Cascais circuit will also be able to experience the impressive displays of the Amicale Spirit of Speed motorbikes, whose engines roar around the 'Autódromo' in a fury of unforgettable sensations, especially for two-wheeled fans, who will be able to see machines that have made history in the main motorcycling championships in the MotoGP, Road Racing and Superbike disciplines.
But there are also last-minute novelties that will delight and excite all motorsport fans, who will be able to come into contact with some unique cars.
In the paddock, at the Liqui Moly stand, you'll be able to see a Jordan EJ15, the model that enabled Portuguese ace Tiago Monteiro to take third place in the 2005 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, becoming the first and only Portuguese to stand on the podium of a top category race.
In the paddock, you can also find the stunning Vantage AMR GT4 showcased at the Aston Martin stand, the car driven by Álvaro Ramos and Fernando Soares in the Iberian Supercars Endurance and the Campeonato de Portugal de Velocidade. This exhibit is a must-visit for enthusiasts and spectators alike.
In the Endurance Racing Legends race everyone will be able to see a Porsche 911 GT2 in which the Mello Breyner brothers competed in the 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans. Manuel, Tomáz and Pedro finished third in the LMGT2 class, but more importantly, they showed the way to other Portuguese drivers and since then the Portuguese flag has been a remained a constant at La Sarthe.
Those more familiar with the classic racing phenomenon won't miss the 1961 Jaguar E-Type Roadster 3.8, shared by Marc Gordon and Nick Finburgh in the Fifties Legends race. This car belonged to Manuel Nogueira Pinto, the renowned Portuguese driver who was active in the 1950s and 1960s.
Its historical interest isn't just important to the Portuguese, as it's one of the most valuable E-Types Roadsters in the world.
There are so many reasons to be interested that it's almost impossible for a true motorsport fan not to attend Estoril Classics, but it's only at the Autodromo de Estoril that you get a true sense of the strength of the history that competitions, cars and bikes carry.
Tickets for all three days are already sold out, but there are still a few single-day tickets for both Saturday and Sunday, with access to Grandstand A free of charge.
Pole-position for a Ligier in the Classic GP
Qualifying for the Classic GP took place today, with former Macau Grand Prix winner Soheil Ayari taking pole position.
Twenty-one cars took to the circuit to determine the starting grid for the first Estoril Classics fan-favorite F1 race, which will be held tomorrow at 16.05, and their drivers pushed them to the limit.
In the end, the Ligier JS21 driven by Ayari was the fastest, lapping in 1m35.059s, leaving the runner-up, the Tyrrel 011 driven by Jamie Constable, 1.6s behind.
In third place was Japan's Katsu Kubota, who in his Lotus 72, a model that won titles for Jochen Rindt and Emerson Fittipaldi, was the fastest in class A, pre-floor effect cars, sharing the second row with the Ensign MN181-B, driven by Laurent Fort.