By SKIP BANDELE
The Autódromo Internacional do Algarve (AIA) is preparing to celebrate its second birthday this Tuesday, November 2. Since its inauguration in late 2008, the track has been the subject of numerous national and international awards as well as praise from all quarters. The latest of which appeared in the form of an extensive feature in the prestigious British Autosport magazine highlighting its world class infrastructure and unique design.
Against all the odds, the pioneering project conceived by current managing director Paulo Pinheiro finally received the green light and opened its gates a mere seven months after construction began. Since that time, numerous motor racing experts such as multiple Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher, current title contender Lewis Hamilton, MotoGP ace Troy Bayliss and FIA President Max Moseley, among many others, have been deeply impressed by the facility which has been hosting a variety of top racing events such as stages of the World Superbike and Supersport Championships, the Le Mans Series, FIA Grand Touring, A1, GP and WTCC weekends on a regular basis as well as Formula One testing ever since.
“We have shown even the biggest sceptics that we have been able to construct one of the best circuits in Europe and the world”, says Pinheiro. “But the Algarve Motor Park is not only for car, bike and kart racing. We are at an advanced stage of completing the construction of a hotel and apartment complex and the development of a technology park will begin soon.”
The latter will see Italian company N-Technology commencing production of the Porsche Panamera S locally from next year while teams competing in various championships such as Ocean Racing Technology are also planning to establish their base in the Algarve.
“We want to be more than just a race track,” Pinheiro sums up the AIA’s future and surely no one can now doubt either his intentions or his words.