Portimao Circuit - one of the favorite places for winter test days
The Algarve International Circuit (Autodromo Portimão Internacional), or simply the Portimao Circuit, is a racing track in Portugal officially opened in October of 2008. Soon after, it was homologated by both the FIA and FIM.
Ambitious plan for Algarve and Portimao
This impressive circuit with a capacity of 100.000 was the brainchild of the designer Ricardo Pina. The project’s total construction cost was nearly 200 million euros! Apart from a state-of-the-art track, the circuit located near the city of Portimao also includes a karting track, technology park, sports complex, apartments, and even a luxury hotel. Five years after its opening, the circuit was sold to a state-owned company due to rising debts, which were believed to be approximately 160 million euros.
Track with three layouts
One of the best features of the Algarve circuit is that it offers three variations of the track. The LMS circuit is 4.648 km long, with 17 turns and the lap record of 1:30.681, set in 2010 by Nicolas Lapierre in Peugeot 908. The GP circuit is 4.692 km long with 18 turns and the lap record of 1:31.404, set by Adam Carroll in 2009. Finally, the Motorcycling circuit is 4.658 long with 15 turns, with the lap record time of 1:42.477, set in 2009 by Max Biaggi.
There is also an off-road park which opened in June 2011 and was created to further complement the existing infrastructure of the Algarve Motor Park. The opening of this off-road track allows the venue to bring together all types of motor races and motorcycling: speed, off-road, and rallies.
Divided opinions about racing at the Portimao Circuit
The Algarve circuit resembles the old Nurburgring or Spa circuits, probably because of its undulating nature. However, drivers’ opinions about this track are somewhat divided: many like it because of the track’s width which allows a lot of overtaking and special turns, different from the ones at most circuits all over the world. But, some drivers are also of the opinion that the track is quite dangerous. Some have even compared it to the old-school ‘rollercoaster’ circuits adding that it has very little grip.
In 2010, Algarve became one of the Formula 1 testing tracks after teams agreed to include this circuit into the pre-season calendar. But, neither the owners of the circuit nor the Formula 1 bosses have ever been too interested in organizing the Grand Prix in Portugal.
Youtube Video – Lap around Algarve circuit – Autódromo Portimão Internacional
Many other series regularly organize their races at this modern circuit. Algarve was the host of the FIA WTCC round since 2010, and the GP2 Series also takes place here, just like the FIA GT Championship races, Le Mans Series, World Series by Renault, and the FIM Superbike World Championship.
Address: Sítio do Escampadinho, Mexilhoeira Grande, 8500-148 Portimão, Portugal
Phone: +351 282 405 600