We have been supplying parts to João now for a couple of years helping him with his Karmann Ghia track car that he runs in the Historic Endurance race series in Portugal. The series races over 7 different tracks in Portugal, Spain, Belgium and France.
The series is fast with a great mix of motorsport machinery, and João is flying the flag for aircooled VW’s proving that if built right, little aircooled VW’s can be competitive against much more exotic sports cars. Joao invited me over to attend the Algarve Classic at Portimão Race Circuit at the end of October and to be there to support him, as VW Heritage. I just couldn’t refuse.
After my flight was delayed from Gatwick because of fog, I missed my pick up, so a taxi ride from the airport to Lisbon bus station was ordered. I jumped onto the night bus to Lagos, and finally arrived at the hotel at 5am.
After a few hours’ sleep at the hotel I was off to meet João at the race circuit. Collecting my pit pass I walked into a paddock packed with all kinds of exotic and historic race cars. There was everything from bread-van Ferraris, Shelby Cobras, Porsche 911’s, Porsche 356’s, Formula Fords, Ford GT40’s, E-Type and D-Type Jaguars to Ford Falcons, Lotus Elans, loads of Mk1 & 2 Golfs, a Mk1 Scirocco and even a few De Tomaso Panteras; you get the idea!
Now although I really did appreciate all of the other cars in attendance I was there to support and help João with his Karmann Ghia. As I neared our pit area I could see the back of the ‘Ghia up on axle stands; not a good sign!
Earlier that morning the gearbox had gone bang in practice so a replacement needed fitting. I mucked in and helped to fit up the spare that João happened to have with him. A couple of hours later and in 28 degree heat, the Ghia was back on all four wheels, running, and just about ready to race.
We were up early the next morning and at the track to finish prepping the car for the first race in the CNCC class in the afternoon. The first race went very well with João coming first in the Historic 65 group!
After a quick trip to the podium for the trophy presentation it was then back to the pits to let the Ghia cool down, and check it over ready for more racing on Sunday.
The pits were alive on Saturday night with people repairing and prepping their cars for the following day’s racing.
I couldn’t believe the number of Mk1 and Mk2 Golfs that were in the pits and competing over the weekend. There was even a really serious looking Mk1 Scirocco! It’s a shame we don’t hear more of this racing over here in the UK.
Sunday was another early start, getting out on track at 8.45am for the CNCC class. João has been really consistent with his racing throughout the season, racing at every circuit on the calendar. Although he isn’t the fastest out on track, Sunday saw another 1st place win in the Historic 65 class!
Collecting the second trophy of the weekend was a real experience; driving back to the garage we were stopped by fans and fellow racers who wanted to take photos of the car, and know more about it! Tired, we just wanted to load it on the trailer, so we could go and watch the next race – but we stopped to oblige, there’s no doubting this car draws a crowd!
What a fantastic weekend! If you are over in Europe and have the opportunity to check out the Historic Endurance championship, go and do it, and if you see João and his ‘Ghia in the pits, go and say hi! www.historicendurance.com
I’d like to say a big thank you to João, and the rest of the Jocavi acoustic panels team, who made me feel most welcome all weekend. Hopefully I’ll get to go out and see them again next year.
The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of VW Heritage
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