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Excitement and Great Crowds Underline Estoril Classics' Success


The Estoril Classics 2019 proved again a great success. This event, which happens around Cascais, aims to bring together fans from over Europe for a Classic Extravaganza. It assembled all main Historic racing categories in Audromo Estoril – F1, Sports Car, Motorcycles, Touring cars and GT. These were joined by the arrival of “Rally of Portugal Historique”, whichended with a traditional slalom in the Main Grandstand. The event also included a Concour d’Élegance in the beautiful Casino Estoril gardens.

The success of the event was underlined by a large crowd at the Autodromo do Estoril and by races and racing machines that will certainly leave fond memories for the fans who gathered at the oldest Portuguese permanent racing circuit.

The day started with the car clubs exhibition in the circuit, followed by the Spirit of Speed – FIM 70th Anniversary, with a group of over 40 Historic Grand Prix motorcycles flashing in the track, featuring the presence of Mr. Giacomo Agostini and his MV Agusta. The competitive “breakfast” was ”served” to the public already crowding the stands by Mini Trophy, celebrating MINI’s 60th Anniversary, which gathered seventeen cars and promised strong emotions.

In the first race, after intense fights and uncertainty until the chequered flag, the winner was Philippe Quirière, who was joined at the podium by Fernando Soares and Jorge Correa. Claudio Mota was the strongest by less than tenth of a second in the Mighty Mini Trophy for Group 1 Minis. The second race was held at the end of the afternoon and the recipe was the same. Emotional and intense fighting in the pack nothwithstanding, the French driver would win again, followed by Fernando Soares and António Silva. In the fierce fight between the Minis from the Mighty Mini Trophy, Paulo Leitão won by less than tenth of a second.

If the Mini impishness impressed the crowd, the following category, the Classic F1 Pre-1986 was all about the senses – the striking engine noise, the colours, the speed, left everybody impressed, even thogh all the cars already were over 30 years old. In the first race, the striking Martin Stretton’s Tyrrell 012 was be the best, followed by the classic Lotus 91-07 from Katsuaki Kubota and by Jamie Constable’s Shadow DN8, after a good fight between the Japanese and the English drivers. The second race took place in the afternoon, after lunch, and the Autodromo do Estoril’s stands were full to feel again the F1 engines’ power. Martin Stretton won again, with his Tyrrell, followed by Frank Lyons’ McLaren M26, who had retired in the morning. Jamie Constable repeated the morning’s third place with his Shadow, as Katsuaki Kubota was forced to retire with gearbox problems in his Lotus. The FIA Lurani Trophy proved again, how impressive the old -time junior formulas are. The Formula Junior singleseaters showed that still can provide good performances, with the victory of Richard Bradley (Brabham BT2), followed by Mark Shaw (Brabham BT6) and Bruno Weibel (Lotus 22).

In the Iberian Historic Endurance, the 50s’ single seaters were replaced by the prototypes, GT and touring cars’ exotics. with the The podium had a representative from each category, with Carlos Barbot, in Merlyn Mk4, in the top step, Miguel Ferreira / Francisco Carvalho, in Ford Escort RS 1600, in second, and James Guess / James Hilliard, in Ginetta G10, in third.

After the car clubs’ exhibition and the 60th MINI anniversary, with more than 200 cars in the track, the rally cars were back in the Autodromo do Estoril main straight for another slalom. Ari Vatanen and Mikko Hirvonen impressed with their driving skills at the wheel of the cars they had driven in the past – Opel Manta 400 and Ford Focus WRC, respectively. The afternoon opened with a visit to the Formula 1 past, with the HGPCA F1 – Pre 1966, with Brabham, Lotus, Cooper seizing centre stage. Jon Fairley in a Brabham BT11 won, beating Andrew Beaumont after a close fight. Sid Hoole, in a Cooper T66 F1, completed the podium. F1 continued to shine with the second race from the younger singleseaters.

From the top car racing category, the event moved on to to the racing machines that recall the best times of Le Mans 24 Hours. Max Hilliard and Nick Padmore, in Chevron B19, won, beating John Spiers Osella’s PA3 and the Lola T292 driven by Carlos Tavares. The competitive weekend ended with the touring cars, the Group 1 Portugal. João Diogo Lopes was the best, in a Ford Escort RS 2000, followed by André Castro Pinheiro’s Jaguar XJ8 V12 and the Ford Escort RS 2000 from Paulo Vieira.

With the night falling at the Autodromo do Estoril, it was time for the car clubs show their cars on the track, as the audience remained in the stands until this year’s Estoril Classics’ last minute.