Tradition and Speed: Iberian Historic Endurance at Estoril Classics
Capacity grid at Iberia's biggest classic car festival
Index de Performance once again offers exclusive Cuervo Y Sobrinos watch
Liqui Moly joins the party
The Iberian Historic Endurance, the most prestigious classic car competition on the Iberian Peninsula, will once again be staged at Estoril Classics, an event that has already become a benchmark in the international scene of major classic events.
With more than eighty pre-entries, Race Ready had to make a careful selection in order to put together an excellent starting grid for the 7th edition of Estoril Classics, where the diversity of vehicles is emphasised, with forty-five Touring and GT cars, separated into five classes, which spread their magic on various national and international stages between 1965 and 1976.
The starting grid, which includes thirteen different makes of car and drivers from ten nationalities, is made up of iconic models from the world of motor racing, from Ford's unstoppable GT40 to Porsche's 911, Jaguar's E-Type, Lotus's Elan or Alfa Romeo's GTAm, joined by smaller rarities with less of a track record but just as impressive, such as the Ginetta G4R or Merlyn Mk4.
For Diogo Ferrão, the CEO of Race Ready and promoter of the Iberian Historic Endurance, this will once again be a special race weekend: "The Estoril Classics has already become a 'must do' in Europe, and therefore the most anticipated event for our participants from the Iberian Peninsula. We had to make a careful selection of participants, giving priority to the diversity of models, on-track behaviour and frequency of participation, and we managed to put together a very high quality entry list."
With a qualifying session on Saturday afternoon, the 50-minute Iberian Historic Endurance race will close the busy Estoril Classics 2023 weekend at 5.30pm on Sunday.
GDS: Spotlight on the little ones
The Gentlemen Driver Spirit (GDS) class, which includes all vehicles equipped with engines up to 1300cc and all Touring cars up to 2000cc, brings together an assortment of vehicles that includes three Porsche 911 SWB - 'the worlds most famous 2.0L Porsche' - for the two Garagem João Gomes teams, Pedro Moryon/José Carvalhosa and Nuno Nunes/Piero dal Maso, and the Spanish pair Carlos Beltran/Pablo Tarrero from the Nou Onze Team.
The father and son duo Alberto and Tomaz Velez-Grilo will be racing their BMW 1800 TiSA, a model that appeared in the mid-1960s as a necessity for the Bavarian carmaker to make a name for itself in touring car racing. Eternal rivals Alfa Romeo will have two worthy representatives, a Giulia Ti Super for the Portuguese trio Rui Bevilacqua/António Magalhães/Nuno Veiga, and a Giulia Sprint GTA for the Japanese duo Masami Fujita/Kei Ando, the first Asian duo to compete in Historic Endurance at this event.
Finally, João Neves will line up in a Datsun 1200, a car that speaks volumes to generations of Portuguese enthusiasts who enjoyed the fiercely contested Datsun one-make cup races in the 1970s and then the early 2000s.
H-1965: Diversity at its peak
As the name suggests, this is the class for cars built up to 1965. Some say that it was in the 1960s that the most elegant cars in history were built and, perhaps because of this, it's no coincidence that some of the most appetising cars on the starting grid will appear in this category, such as the Jaguar E-Type shared by Rhea Sautter and Andrew Newall, the Shelby Cobra Daytona of Frenchmen Brice Pineau and Olivier Muytjens, or the imposing Ford Mustang of Dutch enthusiast Bart Uiterwaal.
In addition to the Porsche 904/6 shared by Thorkild Stamp and Michael Holden from Denmark, there will also be the stylish 356 owned by Frenchman François Guerin and the Iberian duo of Guillermo Velasco and Francisco Freitas. Their SC model is renowned for its iconic Gulf decoration. Furthermore, you'll find the 356 Speedster, painted white just like the one famously driven by actor James Dean, belonging to former French sailor Vincent Tourneur. He stands out as one of the few paraplegic drivers who compete in classic races.
Completing the H-1965 line-up will be three Lotus Elans, all very well driven by Carlos Alberto Oliveira, Francisco Albuquerque and the Swede Per-Ake Forsvall.
H-1971: Braves of the platoon
With a rich history spanning over 110 years, Alfa Romeo will be showcasing its legacy through five cars bearing the iconic GTAm designation. From Hamburg, Germany, specifically from Fernandes Oldtimertechnik, two meticulously maintained GTAm are making their way to the event. One will be piloted by the duo of Volker Hichert and Bjorn Ebsen, while the other will be driven by Christian Oldendorff. RP Motorsport team, boasting the largest representation on the starting grid, will be fielding two additional GTAm cars—one for the duo of Jorge Santos and former national speed champion Alcides Petiz, and another for the Spanish driver, Roberto Diaz-Rincon. José Oliveira, who made a significant appearance at Le Mans Classic this year, adds to the lineup with his GTAm, supported by Rosário Classic.
In a class as diverse as this one, it's no surprise that we'll come across a few Porsche models, including the beloved 914/6 of Manuel de la Torre, Franck Biraben's 911 R, and two 911 2.5 ST cars driven by Vincent Jimenez and the trio of Piero dal Maso, Guilherme dal Maso, and José Carvalhosa.
For those with a taste for unique automobiles, Jorge Guimarães' Volvo 121 is a true gem, just like the two BMW 2800 CS cars driven by Domingos Sousa Coutinho, Luís Vasconcelos (known as "Licas"), and Luís Sousa Ribeiro. Their cars are known for their impressive and spectacular performance. Behind the wheel of a Ford Escort Twin Cam, a Group 2 car that once raced in Portugal under the skilled hands of Francisco Santos, you'll find Manuel Ferrão and Tiago Marques.
H-1976: Porsche Dominance
The first car from this group to cross the finish line in the last two years will not be present. Lars Rolsner's Porsche won't be participating, but several other 911 RSs will be on the starting grid. Four of them have been prepared by Aurora Motorsport, the sports division of the renowned Garagem Aurora. Cláudio Vieira, Bruno Santos, and Pedro Bastos Rezende will be behind the wheel of their 911 3.0 RS, while Mário Meireles and Vasco Nina, winners of the "3 Heures de Pau," will compete with their 911 2.8 RS. The duo Bruno Duarte and Filipe Silva Jesus are also placing their bets on their 911 3.0 RS. The Weissach team is completed by the 911 2.7 RS of the Frenchmen Rémi Guillot and Matthieu Izidi, previously seen at the Grand Prix de Pau.
Standing out from the predominantly Zuffenhausen-produced cars is the Ferrari 308 GT4, which will be driven by its owner, César Freitas, notably for the roar of the V8 engine from the Maranello stable.
GTP & Sportscar: The icing on the cake
This is perhaps the class that has been home to the most unusual cars over the years. For this special race, the starting grid will once again feature Palle Pedersen's Ginetta G4R, which took pole-position at the 3 Hours of Spa this summer, the witty Lotus Seven of João Mira Gomes and Nuno Afoito, or the Alfa Romeo Ti Super, powered by a 2-0 litre block used in the United States, of the very experienced Paulo Rompante. Also returning is the Merlyn Mk4, a small, lightweight prototype built in the UK by Carlos Barbot's Colchester Racing Developments, a car with which the Foguete Racing driver won the 2019 Estoril 250km.
However, the most eye-catching cars for the many spectators attending the event will be the two Ford GT40s. After good results in the past behind the wheel of a Ford Mustang, Paulo Lima has set his sights on a legendary car in world motorsport this season. The other GT40 is a first for Historic Endurance. Danes Otto Reedtz-Thott and Jakob Holstein will share the wheel of a car that was born from the ashes of the Comstock Racing Team's GT40 MK I, tragically destroyed at the 1966 Sebring 12 Hours.
Index of Performance: Classification that offers a Cuervo Y Sobrinos
With the motto "Relaxed Historic Racing" and the aim of providing lively classic races for Gentlemen Drivers at the best events and circuits in southern Europe, there is no Historic Endurance event in which the Performance Index is not awarded. Often, the winner of this classification comes from the ranks of smaller cars, taking home a beautiful example from the prestigious Swiss watchmaker Cuervo Y Sobrinos. In this edition there are several candidates for the coveted prize, where the winner will not be the first to cross the finish line, but the one who performs the best on the track, depending on age, cylinder capacity and body type. As such, the Porsche 356, the Datsun 1200 or the Lotus are favoured over more performing cars.
Liqui Moly joins the party
Renowned as one of the foremost international classic events, the highly anticipated Estoril Classics is set to make its grand return from October 6 to 8, hosted at the iconic Estoril Circuit. In an exciting development, Liqui Moly, a global leader in lubricants, additives, and chemicals with a rich history deeply entwined with the motorsport world, takes center stage as the esteemed premium partner of the Estoril Classics and the prestigious Historic Endurance racing series.
This partnership not only reflects Liqui Moly's strong affinity with Historic Endurance drivers and teams but also underscores its commitment to engaging with the thousands of enthusiastic visitors who converge at the event each year. As a visible testament to this collaboration, the Liqui Moly logo will prominently feature across all official communication platforms. From promotional posters, including moopies and billboards, to the illustrious podium where drivers jubilantly celebrate their triumphs following each race at the hallowed grounds of the Autódromo do Estoril, Liqui Moly's presence will be unmistakable.