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ESTORIL - TALES FROM THE PADDOCK


The concluding chapter of the 2023 Iberian Supercars Endurance unfolded at Autódromo do Estoril, marking the fourth and final event of the season. The Estoril Season Finale by NAPA offered a preview of the anticipated landscape for the 2024 season.



New cars looking towards 2024


The season finale was marked by the number of new cars making their series debut – a Racar Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4, a Lema Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4, and a Speedy Motorsport Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS CS.


The Aston Martin driven by newcomers Francisco Cruz and Pedro Perino showed remarkable progress throughout the event, securing the third position in the second Sunday race.


Spaniards Ignacio Cabezas and Arturo Melgar had a more challenging weekend with the Audi, but still left positive impressions, potentially serving as a good starting point for the future.


Bruno Pires, tasked with debuting the Speedy Motorsport-run Porsche, expressed enthusiasm for the performance of the Zuffenhausen-built car, securing a superb second place in the GT4 Bronze division in the opening race.



Championship lures Pedro Perino, Francisco Cruz and Racar


After competing in multiple seasons of Formula 4 Italia, Pedro Perino ventured into this year's European Le Mans Series, an endeavor he plans to undertake once again in 2024. In the interim, he gladly accepted the invitation from Racar Motorsport to participate in the Iberian Supercars showdown.


The Portuguese-Mozambican driver, partnering with Francisco Cruz in the Aston Martin, showed a good competitive level, stepping onto the podium in the second event's race. He admits he would like to be part of the 2024 season if the races do not conflict with his LMP3 program.


Francisco Cruz, who was also making his debut, expressed great enthusiasm for the competition. He is considering to join the series in 2024.


In addition to this Aston Martin and the Mercedes-AMG driven by Manuel Gião/Roberto Faria, Racar Motorsport showcased a third Aston Martin in the paddock that is expected to compete in the upcoming season.



Speedy Motorsport gets a Toyota


In addition to the BMW M4 GT4 and the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS CS, Speedy Motorsport will have a new car in 2024 – a Toyota GR Supra GT4 EVO.


The newly updated Japanese car was unveiled at the end of last year, entering the racing scene in 2023. It promptly showcased its competitiveness by securing the GT4 France Silver class title and claiming two victories in the GT4 European Series, both in the Silver class.


Toyota's participation in the Iberian Supercars ensures representation of seven out of the twelve GT4 regulation car brands, with only Alpine, Chevrolet, Ford, Lotus, and Nissan being absent from the lineup…for now!



Expanded TCR lineup


The final race of the season presented an impressive entry list – thirty-four cars – with the TCR division also benefiting, consisting of five cars.


In addition to Daniel Teixeira's Cupra TCR, who became the TCR champion in all divisions and categories he competed in, two more cars from the Martorell brand were on the track, one driven by JC Group Racing Team’s Beatriz Correia and José Correia, and another by series returnee Manuel Sousa.


The JC Group Racing Team duo achieved two podiums, while the Grupo TDS driver secured fifth and fourth places.


António Coimbra secured a victory in the first event, driving the Hyundai Elantra N TCR for Sports & You. Meanwhile, the father-and-son duo of Paulo Silva and Guilherme Silva, with the latter making his motorsport debut in the PDauto Audi RS3 LMS TCR, clinched a commendable second place in the second race.


This entry serves as a promising indicator for 2024, fostering the anticipation of an increase in the number of TCR cars on the track in the upcoming season.



The return of the audience to Estoril


The Autódromo Estoril was abuzz with spectators during the decisive round of the season.


Throughout the weekend, the paddock remained consistently packed with fans strolling among the motorhomes while the most significant competition on the Iberian Peninsula was off the track.


The sponsor of the season's final event, NAPA, played a pivotal role in this impressive turnout, attracting hundreds of fans to the Estoril circuit and organizing numerous activities for its guests.


Despite the early commencement of the first race at 9:40 am, all usual locations in the paddock, offering prime views of on-track action, were occupied, mirroring the scene for the second race.


Throughout the races, the audience's reactions to the most thrilling moments were palpable, and one of the standout moments of the year will undoubtedly be the applause received by Elias Niskanen and Nuno Pires during their embrace, following their exit from the title fight due to a collision with a competitor in the second race.



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