|Since it opened in 2008, the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve has been going from strength to strength and despite the economic turmoil, Paulo Pinheiro, director of Parkalgar, which manages the facility,says they are fully booked for events until mid 2013.
The Algarve Resident paid a visit to the park, which lies approximately 15km from Portimão in its very own private valley, to see what is in store for 2012.
Stretching across the length of the park, the Autódromo is just one part of Parkalgar’s facilities which include the racetrack itself, a smaller go-karting track, an off-roading park, VIP suites for visitors, exclusive apartments (due to open in June) and a hotel (a five star Radisson Blu resort due to open in September).
There is also further scope for a technological park which would provide a dedicated centre for companies to road test and develop their projects in the Algarve.
The racetrack itself is built to handle events of an international scale, with seating for 100,000 spectators, and has been duly recognised as one of the best in Europe.
Last year the Autódromo received the distinction of being chosen as Superbike World Championship Organiser 2011 and previously Motorsport Facility of the Year in 2009 by the Professional Motorsport World Expo Awards.
Paulo Pinheiro said their events draw a large international crowd, with the Superbikes Championship being one of their most popular track events. In particular, the motorbikes attract visitors from across the border in Spain and enthusiasts from the UK.
Recently, the track was reserved for three months by BMW to promote and launch their new BMW 3 series to the public and during the Algarve Resident’s visit, Mercedes’ presence was apparent with the echoing roar of a car flying solo around the circuit.
“Events themselves amount to about five large races a year and the rest of the business is largely dependent on corporate events, investors and motorsport related industry using the facilities we have,” said Paulo Pinheiro.
He said that around 90% of their clients are international business from abroad who come to the Algarve for the facilities and, of course, the wonderful climate.
“The hardest part of my job is ensuring that we maintain a high level of occupancy and interest in our motorsports, which we are definitely achieving this year,” added Paulo Pinheiro.
Certainly, the available space for a high octane private function or corporate event is impressive, with private rooms that can take up to 800 people and VIP boxes right above the pit lane.
There is a VIP tower with 360º views of the racetrack and private facilities include catering services as well as a fully equipped media centre, restaurant and medical centre.
Still in the midst of construction, the new Radisson Blu hotel will provide five-star accommodation with 194 rooms.
It is located at the far end of the park where there is an unrivalled view of the Serra de Monchique.
Nearby there are also the new Vista do Falcão residences, numbering 160 private apartments featuring one to three bedrooms and two duplexes including an outdoor pool, tennis courts, solarium, playground, reception and grounds.
Being at the site of the racetrack means added benefits of special access for owners to the racetrack and discounts on events.
The park also features all kinds of driving experiences for novices which can be found on the website as well as the racing school´s own website at www.racingschool.autodromodoalgarve.com (also read page 23)
The first of the major events this year will be the GT International Open, European F3 Open and Campeonato de España Iber GT races on April 27-29.
A full calendar of the events for 2012 can be found on www.autodromodoalgarve.com.