By: NATASHA SMITH
THE EAGERLY anticipated P1 Portuguese Grand Prix of the Sea is on the horizon and the drivers are ready to make a splash on the River Arade, in Portimão.
The event will also incorporate water sports races and exhibitions, and the World Champions will be crowned before the weekend is out.
Pedro Lamy, Portugal’s celebrated racing driver, is due to test drive a P1 powerboat today (Friday), on the eve of the P1 Portuguese Grand Prix of the Sea in Portimão marina.
Lamy has raced 32 times in Formula One and currently leads the 2007 Le Mans Series Drivers Championship with only one race left of the season. He will test his water based driving skills with the American Outerlimits Powerboats team, who are currently in third position in the Evolution Class of the
Powerboat P1 World Championship.
Lamy was the first Portuguese driver to win a Formula One World Championship point and currently drives a Peugeot 908 HDi FAP sportscar.
Today, at 10am, he will pilot a 1,300 horse-power Outerlimits SV 40 and his co-pilot will be Mike Fiore, who founded the American team and is its throttleman. “We are delighted that he has accepted our invitation”, said Fiore, adding, “he is a world class driver and I’m sure he’ll be a natural in a world class racing boat, although he will have to get used to a track that changes every second and is always wet and bumpy!”
The unpredictability of the track is one of the main reasons that the SuperSport racer Jackie Hunt finds the competition so fascinating.
“You have total freedom! Most car racers find this hard to deal with. The road moves! The sea is so unpredictable that it adds a dimension that no other motor sport has! Effectively, the track changes every lap!” This is what she feels gives her an edge.
Now in its fifth year, Powerboat P1 has firmly positioned itself as one of the most competitive, glamorous and professionally-run international motorsports. Thousands of spectators are expected to line the banks of the Arade to watch the adrenalin-filled action and the off-water entertainment, which promises to provide an eclectic festival atmosphere.
After Lamy has completed his test drive on September 28, the racers for the P1 Portuguese Grand Prix of the Sea will test their boats between 2.30pm and 4.30pm and from 9am until 10.15am the following morning.
At 10am tomorrow (Saturday), a nail biting Thundercats race will take place at the riverside and another will begin at 12.30pm at the marina. This will be followed by a Freestyle waterski exhibition at 1.15pm.
At 3pm, the main event, the P1 Portuguese Grand Prix of the Sea, will begin. In this first round, and 11th overall in the Championship, the Evolution and Supersport Class teams will battle it out on the River Arade in the Endurance race. The race will be played out in a counter-clockwise direction and each lap is 8.133 nautical miles. Evolution boats must complete a total of 10 laps and the SuperSport boats must complete nine laps.
The podium presentation will begin at 5pm, followed by an autograph signing at 5.30pm and the P1 Party at Nikki Beach at 8pm. A fireworks display will light up the sky at 11pm to celebrate this highly anticipated event.
Sunday’s proceedings begin with test sessions from 9.30am and a wake board exhibition at 10am. This will be followed by another Thundercats race, freestyle waterski exhibition and heli show from 11.15am. Before the final race starts at 3pm, a P1 Boat Parade will take place at 2.30pm.
Round 12 of the overall championship and the final race of the season will get under way at 3pm. The Rally will be raced in a counter-clockwise direction and each lap is 6.056 nautical miles. Evolution boats must complete nine laps and the SuperSport boats must complete eight laps of the course.
Jackie Hunt said: “The season finale in Portugal is hard to beat though, the SuperSport title looks like it will go down to the wire again this year and they certainly know how to party out there!”
With a maximum 210 points up for grabs in the Portuguese Grand Prix of the Sea, the battle for the title is still wide open and Extremeboat, Roscioli Hotels Roma, Buzzi Bullet III and VoomVoom.com are the main contenders for podium places.
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