After soaking up the atmosphere of the World Rally Championship, I headed towards the Estoril circuit to catch up with some roundy-roundy action. I’m talking about Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Brasil. It’s an intriguing competition which attracted such luminaries as Ricardo Rosset (ex-F1 driver from the late 1990s) and Alex Barros (ex-MotoGP rider). It’s good fun in general, aided by the appeal of the cars: the 3.8-litre/450bhp GT3 Cup category and the 3.6-litre/420bhp Challenge category. No funny buttons, just pure racing machines. I was also curious to compare the methods of our South American racing bros. with our twisted European ways; the cultural shock was there…
You normally get to see a lot of poverty and misery in various South American countries on TV, but these Brazilian dudes in Estoril had brand new cars (covered with sponsor logos!) straight from the Porsche facilities in Germany. It WAS chic!
The weekend consisted of 3 races: Challenge, then Cup, followed by the combined Cup+Challenge grand finale. I stayed for the first two “corridas”, it was rather cold and miserable in the main grandstand and there weren’t any paddock tickets available, so I took off when the first drops of rain started to fall after the second podium ceremony.
Racing was close and they weren’t afraid to damage the cars, unlike their many European counterparts. A bonus.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that all the cars carried “Valeu, Ayrton!” sticker dedicated to the great man who (as we all know) obtained his first F1 victory in Estoril and who shares the same nationality with the vast majority of the drivers in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Brasil. Apparently, this initiative was supported by Instituto Ayrton Senna (@instayrtonsenna). A nice touch.
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