Estoril Classics Week 2018 - Power and Elegance
Estoril, Portugal, October 2018.
The first rays of sunlight, gradually casting the scattered dew drops out of the same asphalt that, soaking wet, led Senna to his first Grand Prix win, back in 1985, were just the first good sign of what would become a perfect day for the machines that were still in the pits to give a true spectacle to the hundreds of enthusiasts who were already arriving at the 2018 edition of Estoril Classic.
The entrance to the paddock was followed by a pleasant mix of sensations. The fantastic atmosphere, the hustle and bustle of the teams, the massive V8 team trucks lined up, the classic car meetings...
During a first pass around the pits, much was seen through the viewfinder of the "old" analogue Olympus. All those cars, many of them being true functional pieces of art, surrounded by mechanics working on last adjustments before entering the track, outshining everything else with their beauty, simplicity and, in some cases, the weight of their history.
And the time comes. The loud engines start echoing like raging beasts, announcing the warm up laps. The noise is magical, engaging, of a purity that thrills and transcends. Our heartbeats synchronize with every valve, every piston. Close your eyes, inhale, calm down, and you're in a music hall listening to an orchestra. Open them, and the foot is down, a rubber mark on the asphalt, and off it goes. It makes us want everything to be like before.
Watching each one of the races, in the different classes, is an almost obligatory experience. It is evident the symbiosis between driver and car, without any electronics in between, the sound of the engine in the downshifts, the simplicity of the cars, whether in terms of construction or safety.
As a true classic car event, the paddock was opened to every enthusiast and owner that wished to bring his or her machine and show it with pride to the spectators. It was a lovely reunion of amazing cars by some of the most iconic manufacturers.
A few kilometres away, the picturesque town centre of Estoril, with its beaches and villas, and the iconic Hotel Palácio, where Ian Fleming himself stayed during WWII and where he may have found inspiration for the first James Bond novel, "Casino Royale". Fleming would return to Hotel Palácio years later for the filming of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service".
Near the hotel, the gardens of the Casino, where the VI ACP Concours d'Elegance took place with around 50 cars on exhibition, were the perfect spot for enjoying a cocktail under the warm autumn sun, while admiring in detail each one of the exquisite automobiles.
At sunset, only the engines cooling down, the smell of gasoline that mixes with the sea breeze, the deserved rest of the team members, the happiness that overcomes fatigue and that will make us return.