The Jarama Classic was the stage for the second season of the Iberian Supercars Endurance Championship and the Campeonato de Portugal de Velocidade.
McLaren Artura debut
SMC Motorsport made its debut at the Circuito del Jarama with the impressive McLaren Artura in the Supercars Endurance race.
The Spanish team took advantage of the race weekend at the Madrid circuit to showcase its new car adorned with the colors of Gulf, one of the event's sponsors. However, they did not participate in the race since they have not yet acquired the necessary technical package for the McLaren to compete as a GT4, currently being in one-make trophy configuration.
Spanish driver Tomás Pinto, who finished third in the 2022 GT4 Pro category, piloted the Artura during the free practice sessions. He managed to set the third fastest time of the session, just six-tenths of a second behind Elias Niskanen, who drove the Mercedes-AMG GT4 for Lema Racing and secured the top spot.
SMC Motorsport currently has two McLaren 570S GT4 cars entered for the championship. However, they are considering the possibility of expanding their presence by configuring the Artura as a GT4 car.
Cesar Campaniço returns the paddock
César Campaniço is one of the most successful Portuguese drivers, having even won the Campeonato de Portugal de Velocidade five times.
In Jarama, Campaniço who leads Team Novadriver was lending his vast experience in circuit racing to the young drivers of the FPAK Junior Team - Lourenço Monteiro, Duarte Pinto Coelho, Henrique Cruz, Mariana Machado, Duarte Camelo and Gabriel Caçoilo.
The drivers, who were present at the Spanish circuit behind the wheel of the agile Ginetta G40, demonstrated a remarkable improvement throughout the two-day event. This progress was clearly evident in the performances they displayed on the track.
Crowd fills Jarama
The Jarama Classic was a success, with over twenty-one thousand people visiting the Madrid circuit during the two-day program.
The program included various events such as the Historic Endurance and Carrera Los 80, in addition to the CRM Racing Series competitions. However, the headline event was the Supercars Endurance race. The large audience that circulated through the paddock had the opportunity to have close contact with the cars, while the stands located in the middle of the circuit were the preferred places to watch the races.
There were three teams and seven Spanish drivers participating, with three of them hailing from Madrid. Fans enthusiastically cheered for their countrymen and became excited with every overtake, often expressing their excitement alongside the roaring sound of the engines.
Fernando Soares racing suit
Fernando Soares made a special appearance at the Circuito del Jarama wearing a unique racing suit. The suit in question was that worn by Nicki Thiim during his victory in the GTE Pro class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2020, while driving an Aston Martin Vantage AMR GTE.
As a race driver of the Araújo Competition Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4, Soares is a passionate fan of the British marque. During a visit to the iconic La Sarthe circuit in 2019 to witness the world endurance classic, he had the opportunity to meet Thiim and was impressed by the Danish driver's approach to motorsport.
Later on, Soares acquired the suit that Thiim wore during his triumphant race in 2020. "I have great admiration for Nicki. He embodies the spirit of a classic driver, always cheerful and reminiscent of James Hunt. I have been wearing his 2020 suit this year, considering it my lucky charm. I intend to keep it throughout the season," shared Fernando Soares.
Teaming up with Alvaro Ramos, the Aston Martin duo achieved victory in both races at Jarama in the GTC class and GTX division, further cementing their successful partnership.
Highlighted in Le Mans
The Jarama Classic was held on the same weekend as this year's centenary of the Le Mans 24 Hours, and as well as being held concurrently, there were other links between the two events.
One of them was Nico Pino, who competed in the 2021 Supercars Endurance. The young Chilean took two wins, besides having set the Jarama circuit record for GT4, 1'38.295s, which this weekend was beaten by Francisco Abreu, 1'37.897s.
Pino was in the spotlight at La Sarthe, finishing third in the LMP2 class in a Duqueine Team ORECA 07 Gibson he shared with René Binder and Neel Jani.
But the connections didn't stop there, as one of the overall winners, in a Ferrari 499P, also drove on Portuguese and Iberian tracks - Alessandro Pier Guidi.
The Italian in 2012 participated in the Campeonato de Portugal de Velocidade at the wheel of a Ferrari 430 GT2 of the Ray Racing Team. The winner of this year's Le Mans 24 Hours took two victories and two pole positions during his time in Portugal.