The Iberian Supercars Endurance officially began today, with some news and curiosities for both the Algarve Welcome Spring weekend and the season.
Last Minute Entries
British team Tockwith Motorsports has added three cars to their entry for the race weekend. They already had a Ginetta G50 entered for Tomás Pinto Abreu, who will be partnered with Simon Moore here at Portimao, and a Porsche 911 Cup for Marcus Fothergill and Dave Bennett. The team is racing two more Ginettas in addition to these cars.
The first of the two new entries is a second G50, which will be entered in the GTX division by Steve Kirton and Jonathan Elsworth, both from the UK. The second new entry is a G55 GT4 that will be shared by Portuguese duo Fábio Mota and reigning GTC champion Bruno Pires.
Furthermore, Manuel Vistas, who is making his series debut, will share the wheel of an Arajo Competiçoo McLaren 570S Trophy with Rúben Vaquinhas, who is having his first-ever race weekend.
World-class Race Director
Rui Marques will be the race director this weekend. The Portuguese is responsible for policing what happens during the Formula 2 and Formula 3 races throughout the Formula 1 Grand Prix events, having to deal with the irreverence of the "young wolves", which sometimes translates into numerous incidents that he has to analyze.
This time, Rui Marques is expected to face fewer problems to solve, but his authority will undoubtedly keep the drivers who inevitably exceed the restrictions in check.
How to find the Champions?
Until now, the class or division champions were defined by adding up the points obtained in each of the races that made up the season, which, occasionally, could benefit teams with more regular drivers, but not necessarily the fastest ones, since a drop out due to bad luck could have a strong impact on the decision.
To reward the fastest, to prevent luck or bad luck from defining the champions and to take the decisions to the last race, for this year each competitor will have to remove from their accounts their two worst results, not counting the races of the last round, which takes place in November at the Estoril circuit.
Making racing even more exciting
We all want exciting races that keep us on the edge of our seats until the chequered flag. To prevent one single competitor from dominating the entire weekend, the organizers have decided to implement time handicaps for the winners of each division in the championship.
As a result, the winners of each division in the first race of each event will receive a ten-second handicap for the second race, while the runner-up will receive a five-second handicap and the third-placed driver will receive a three-second handicap.
The New Machines
A new season always brings with it a slew of new track features, and 2023 season is no exception. Speedy Motorsport is debuting a brand new BMW M4 GT4 (G82) for Francisco Abreu and José Carlos Pires in the GT4 Pro.
A second BMW M4 GT4 (F82) is entered by Batina Racing this weekend to be driven by Sergio Azevedo and Orlando Batina. A BMW M2 CS Racing from Escuderia Faraon and a BMW 240i Racing from Autoworks are also doing their first appearence in the series.
On the other hand, Álvaro Ramos and Fernando Soares will race an Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4. AMR Team Partner Araújo Competição will support the English car in the Iberian tracks.
Jerez de la Frontera for the first time
For 2023 the calendars of the Supercars Endurance and Campeonato de Portugal de Velocidade remain stable, visiting the most important tracks in the Iberian Peninsula.
The Portuguese tracks will remain exactly as they were in 2023, with the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve and the Autódromo do Estoril being present, and the Circuito Internacional de Vila Real being added.
As for Spain, the Circuito Permanente del Jarama keeps its date, but the Circuit de Barcelona - Catalunya makes way for the Circuito de Jerez. Jerez will score exclusively for Supercars Endurance, while Vila Real will have the same role in the Campeonato de Portugal de Velocidade. The remaining rounds will count for both series.