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TALES FROM THE PADDOCK


In the first race of the 2024 Iberian Supercars, Campeonato de Portugal de Velocidade and Supercars Jarama RACE season, The paddock buzzed with excitement over the span of three days, with a plethora of intriguing events unfolding. Here, we've highlighted some of the most captivating topics.



FORMER GT4 CHAMPION IN A DIFFERENT ROLE

 

Elias Niskanen emerged as a prominent figure over the past two seasons, notably contending for the championship last year in a thrilling battle with Nuno Pires. Additionally, in 2022, he clinched the GT4 Championship alongside Manuel Gião.

 

Although opting to explore new racing opportunities this year, Niskanen made a notable appearance at the series' opening round at Jerez. He assumed the role of coach for Paulo Macedo and Luís Calheiros, his former teammates at Lema Racing, where they continue to compete with a Mercedes AMG GT4.

 

It's anticipated that Niskanen will maintain his collaboration with the Portuguese duo, ensuring his consistent presence in the series.



GIRLS SHOW SPEED


Five female drivers have entered for the Jerez race - Alba Cano, Beatriz Correia, Gabriela Correia, Jemma Moore, and Nerea Martí.


Three of them entered in the GT4 category, Gabriela Correia joined in the GT4 Bronze division, competing alone at the helm of the JC Group Racing Team Mercedes AMG GT4, while Spain’s Alba Cano and Nerea Martí compete in the GT4 Pro.


Jemma Moore returned to the series to drive the Tockwith Motorsport Ginetta G55, entered as "Invitational," which she shared with former ETCC driver Fábio Mota. Beatriz Correia was supposed to team up with her father, José Correia, driving a Cupra TCR, but the car was not recovered in time after the damage caused by a crash at Rampa da Falperra.


The most notable results were from Nerea Martí, who stepped onto the podium in both races with her teammate at BMW España Motorsport, José de los Milagros. Both Alba Cano and Gabriela Correia also showed potential.


In the first race, the NM Racing Team driver, who teamed up with GT4 European Series driver Andy Cantu, finished tenth in its division and secured a good eighth place in the second race. The Portuguese driver achieved a promising sixth place in the first race in the GT4 Bronze division but was forced to retire in the second.


Jemma Moore was the second fastest in her qualifying, dedicated to cars from the Touring Cars and GTC categories, and in the first race, she managed to finish in a good thirteenth place. The former GTC Champion was forced to retire in the second.


MANUFACTURERS ON SITE


The significance of the series has been growing, evident in various factors, one of which is the presence of manufacturers in the pits and paddock.


At Jerez, engineers from Aston Martin, Mercedes-AMG, and Toyota were observed assisting their teams. The British automaker had six cars on track, the German manufacturer had nine, and the Japanese had three.


Aston Martin also has two drivers from its academy competing—Mathieu Martins and Roberto Faria, both racing for Racar Motorsport.


Starting from the Estoril race onwards, some manufacturers will bring their support trucks to the circuits, further enhancing their presence.



SETBACK FOR ART OF SPEED


The Art of Speed team was due to make its Race Ready-organised series debut with its Porsche 911 Cup driven by Portuguese drivers Frederico Formiga and Frederico Castro.


The Porsche took part in Friday's private test sessions, but clutch problems prevented the Art of Speed duo from taking part in the rest of the event.


The Souselas-based Cup car team may return to the series later in the season.



LIBERAL’S SUPRA IMSA LIVERY


Luís Pedro Liberal made his debut in the championship at the wheel of one of Speedy Motorsport's Toyota Supra GT4 EVO, which boasted a classic and special decoration for enthusiasts of the Japanese manufacturer.


The colour scheme of the Japanese machine was reminiscent of the Toyota Celica Turbo that All-American Racing developed with the support of the Japanese brand and raced between 1986 and 1988, winning several victories and the drivers' title, with Chris Cord, in the IMSA championship in the GTO class, including the number 98 on the doors.


The Portuguese driver made a promising debut in the championship, securing sixth and fourth places in the GT4 Bronze division.



MCLAREN BARCELONA - SMC MOTORSPORT OFF TO A CHALLENGING START


McLaren Barcelona - SMC Motorsport team didn't have an easy time of it in Jerez, having to resort to its backup car due to an accident during Friday's tests.


However, the Spanish team didn't let up and its GT4 Bronze drivers, the series newcomers Álvaro Gutiérrez and Sébastien Merchán, showed their competitiveness by taking fourth place in their division in the first race and fifth in the second.


Gentleman driver Rafael Muncharaz took third place in GT4 Am in the first race of the event and fourth in the second, making a positive season start in the 2024 Iberian Supercars in his Gulf-liveried McLaren 570S GT4.

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