18-21 OCTOBER 2012 - PORTUGUESE EVENT GROWS INTO MAJOR NEW HISTORIC RACING WEEKEND.
Thanks to the enthusiasm of historic racers for the exhilarating circuit set in the rocky hills of southern Portugal, the annual October historic racing weekend at the Algarve International Autodrome is being relaunched in 2012 as a major European event, with the new name of the Algarve Classic Festival.
“Since the Autodrome was completed in 2008, our annual historic motorsport event has become increasingly popular across Europe,” says Circuit Director Paulo Pinheiro. “Recently, we have heard from a small number of race organisers and racers who were concerned that the event would no longer be run every year; but this is not the case. We can say with certainty that the Algarve Classic Festival is a firm fixture for 2012, and will be an annual event from now on. We are very proud of our challenging, 4.7km circuit. Drivers love to tackle its steep hills and technical corners, while the stark beauty of the locality and the high chance of hot sunny weather is – I feel sure – more than a small part of the attraction for their friends and families. The Algarve Classic Festival is set to grow and grow.”
The first Algarve Classic Festival, on 18-21 October 2012, will include such races as the Stirling Moss Trophy for pre-’61 sportscars and sports-racers, the Motor Racing Legends Pre-War Sports Car Series, the JD Classics Challenge for Touring Cars from 1966-85, the U2TC for under-2-litre Touring Cars, the ‘1000km’ for pre-’72 sports-racing, Touring and GT cars, and the GT & Sports Car Cup for pre-’66 GTs and pre-’63 sportscars.
Duncan Wiltshire of Motor Racing Legends, who is bringing three of these races to the Algarve in October, comments, “When we first came here in 2009, we weren’t sure how our racers would take to the Portuguese circuit which rises and falls a startling 106 feet and presents a technically tricky challenge to the drivers. Some competitors took to it straight away, while others were, at first, a bit surprised. There are blind brows and steep drops, strung together by corners with complex changes in camber and the odd tightening double apex. But by the end of that first weekend we were hearing comments along the lines of ‘It’s as good as Spa or the Brands Hatch GP circuit’ or simply ‘Bloody fantastic!’ Now, Algarve is always one of our racers’ favourite events of the year.”
Meanwhile, Carol Spagg of Historic Motor Racing News, who runs the U2TC and ‘1000km’ races, is just as delighted that the annual racing weekend has been relaunched as an even bigger and better festival: “There were rumours over the future of this event, but I have been down in the Algarve and seen the optimism of all involved in the project, from circuit owner Paulo Pinheiro himself, to marshals and caterers, and I’m very sure we will have a very successful race meeting and a very warm welcome from all of them. The drivers love the circuit and we have already taken more entries this early in the year than we had last year.”