As we enter the summer hiatus of the Iberian Supercars Endurance, let's take a look back at the first half of the season and identify five standout facts.
Entry Numbers Are Growing
In recent years, Supercars Endurance has experienced steady growth. In 2023, the level of interest generated by the series translated into a significant increase in the number of participants. In 2022, the average number of participants per race was 15, but this season, that number has risen to 22.
Excluding the Vila Real non-championship round, which counts solely towards the Portuguese national series Campeonato de Portugal de Velocidade, this year's entry numbers have soared to an impressive 26 cars per event.
These statistics reflect a remarkable increase of over 65%, underscoring the efforts of the series promoter in attracting drivers and teams not only from Spain and Portugal but also from other countries. Teams and drivers have joined from England, Slovenia, Finland, France, Mauritius, and Lithuania.
New Cars Strengthen the Grid
With the impressive growth of the Race Ready promoted series, many new cars make up this year's starting grid.
The most represented racing car is the Mercedes-AMG GT4, with five units in track in 2023. In 2022, Lema Racing fielded one of these cars, ultimately allowing Manuel Gião and Elias Niskanen to become GT4 Pro champions. However, this season, the Slovenian team is racing a second car, joined by Spain’s NM Racing Team with two cars and Portugal’s Racar with one.
While the German-built car wasn't exactly a novelty, the Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 that Araújo Competição is entering for Álvaro Ramos and Fernando Soares marks a series first.
BMW is another brand represented on the starting grid this year with the participation of two M4 GT4s, albeit from different generations. Speedy Motorsport has a brand-new G82 (the most recent generation) for José Carlos Pires and Francisco Abreu, while Batina Racing is competing with an F82 (previous generation) shared by podium finishers Sérgio Azevedo and Orlando Batina. The Bavarian automaker also fields an Autoworks Motosport BMW 240i Racing in which Borja Hormigos and Héctor Hernández have shown great competitiveness as they top the standings in the TC class.
In addition to all these cars, two brandnew cars arrived in the Iberian Peninsula - an Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 that Araújo Competição will enter for Ruben Vaquinhas and the BMW M4 GT4 (G82) that the same team presented in Vila Real.
New Class Structure Working Well
At the beginning of the year, the organization revamped the structure of the categories and classes for both competitions with the aim of ensuring greater competitiveness.This strategic move appears to have paid off, as all the classes have witnessed intense battles, leaving the titles race wide open at the midway point of the season.
This year's structure also offers the advantage of allowing drivers from diverse backgrounds to participate in the Supercars Endurance and Campeonato de Portugal de Velocidade, providing them with competitive goals and opportunities to vie for podium finishes or even victories in their respective classes.
Looking Into the Future
Portuguese motorsport ASN FPAK launched its Junior Team this season with the aim to provide young drivers with their first experience with racing cars and identify talent for the future.
The FPAK entered three Ginetta G40s in three rounds this season - Portimão, Jarama and Estoril - which are shared by Mariana Machado, Duarte Pinto Coelho, Duarte Camelo, Gabriel Caçoilo, Henrique Cruz, and Lourenço Monteiro.
These young Portuguese drivers have demonstrated impressive competitiveness behind the wheel of the Monteiros Competições-run cars, ensuring that their talent will continue to shine on Iberian tracks in the years to come.
Greater Audience and TV Viewership
The interest generated by the series has been steadily increasing, not only among drivers and teams but also among fans. In the early races of the season, the live race broadcasts on social media platforms have seen a growth in the number of viewers, as well as an increase in the number of followers on social media channels.
Even more significant is the rise in the number of fans who attend the circuits to watch the Supercars Endurance and Campeonato de Portugal de Velocidade joint-races. During the Jarama event, 21,000 spectators gathered at the Spanish circuit to watch the most important competition on the Iberian Peninsula, and Vila Real street circuit attracted a full crowd for the headline races of the 52nd running of the event.
Furthermore, the races are also broadcast on Portuguese sports channel A Bola TV, aiming to reach a wider audience and engage fans, thereby expanding the reach of the competition.