Category Archives: Portugal

Motos in my 2016 Marshaling Calendar

I forgot to add a Motorcycle race to my wishlist in 2016.

So here’s a post reminding myself to do it!

This year I did express interest in MotoGP at COTA but I did it way too late and it didn’t materialize in time even though they accepted me to marshal there. The irony from that experience is that I also reached out to MotoAmerica to see if they needed any staff while I waited on a response from COTA and MotoAmerica turned me down. It’s ironic because it turns out COTA were really short on marshals and could have used any help MotoAmerica were willing to offer, unfortunately it seems that they were not willing to offer help, at least based on my experience. I also did send my interest to marshal a Superbike event at NJMP with MotoAmerica in September, I don’t have very high hopes of being accepted and it won’t be a terribly big loss if they don’t. I have marshaled an AMA Superbikes event at NJMP twice before the series went out of business.

But I do want to do a Motos race in the future. And if I don’t get accepted to marshal Dubai 24h in January I think I will definitely apply to marshal a MotoGP event in Doha, Qatar.

Why Doha?

Because Losail International Circuit is famous in the world of two wheel motorsports. I worked with a Portuguese marshal from Estoril last year who proudly wore his Losail hat while marshaling and had nothing but good things to say about it. Qatar would also be the 15th country on my list of places I volunteered as a marshal, so I’m looking forward to adding that flag to my resume.

I flew through Doha what feels like a dozen times a few years ago when I marshaled in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, sadly I never left the airport in all my time spent there. I really want to check out the country. The craziest bit I flew back from Bahrain to Dubai via Doha, spend a few hours in Dubai, then flew back to Doha to connect to Sepang in Malaysia.

Speaking of Portugal, I would really love to come back to marshal at the Algarve International Circuit in the south of the country. I had such an amazing time in Portimao last year that I cannot wait to return. And like many other places in Europe they are absolutely crazy about bikes. I met a British expat that marshals in Portimao that raved about the time FIM visits their humble little track. So when stars align just right I will be heading back to Portugal!

autodromo internacional algarve

Autodromo Interncional do Algarve is very open to the idea of International marshals so I would strongly urge the Motorsport volunteers of the world to consider adding this gem of a track to their resume. The track is located in a very accessible part of the country just a few hours south of the capital Lisbon, but only about an hour’s drive for the resort city of Faro. It is famous for it’s elevation changes and my favorite feature: elevated marshal posts. If anyone needs some contact details please do not hesitate to contact me and I’ll put you in touch with some really amazing people. I had an amazing time working there.

Top 10 Foodie Experiences while Marshaling (International)

Three important components make up this wonderful hobby that I blog about while volunteering in Motorsport: 1). Racing, 2). Travel to get to the Races and 3). the Foodie experiences along the way.

Here are my Top 10 Foodie experiences (cheap, greasy, delicious!) while marshaling, that I would absolutely go back for just to sample the awesome food again. This post will be divided into three sections, because I could and totally will give my Top 10 Foodie experiences while marshaling just in the USA alone. This part is the  International foodie experiences at each venue. And then the places you may transit through just to get to the event (both domestically and internationally).

#10 Canada: Poutine

canada poutine

When marshaling in Canada, you should try Poutine –  french fries, covered in cheese curds and smothered in gravy.

Although a Quebeci cuisine I haven’t really been all that crazy about it while marshaling the Canadian GP in Montreal. Instead it was the food of choice for me in Ontario during the ALMS races at Mosport. I tried to stick to a strictly “poutine” diet which meant trying quite a few different poutine trucks every day, and my favorite by far was one located at a little gas station just north of the Candian Tire Motorsports Park.

The best experience so far was sharing a few big portions with friends right at the track, which we all immediately regretted feeling bloated and full, so we decided to walk the entire length of the circuit to “walk it off” and that I will always remember! You have to try it for yourself.

alms mosport 6

#9 Australia: Fish & Chips

foodie australia fish and chips

When marshaling in Australia (or New Zealand for that matter) do try their Fish & Chips.

While traditionally a British thing, I think it would be foolish not to call Aussie style Fish & Chips an Aussie thing especially when you do have an opportunity to visit a proper fish and chips place along the Indian Ocean like say driving the Great Ocean Road, or on your way to Phillip Island because there’s a beautiful assortment of excellent and very outstanding fish and chips places that serve ridiculously fresh fish. Typically served with malt vinegar or tartar sauce which is my favorite.

The fries are really good, but the fish will be the highlight of that quick and tasty meal. Legend has it they deep fry flake which apparently is shark (gummy shark). And I don’t know about you but tasting shark is exotic and generally awesome.

#8 Germany: Veal Schnitzel with Gravy

foodie germany schnitzel

When marshaling in Germany you must have the Schnitzel!

Whether you go for chicken, beef or veal you won’t go wrong because they’re all equally tasty. I’ve sampled a lot of delicious food in Germany from their wonderful sausages to the delicious sandwiches (pretzel bread = yumm!) But a nice warm veal schnitzel served with fries and smothered in mushroom gravy is finger licking good. Especially when you are walking distance from your post at the Nordschleife on a cool summer’s day.

So when going to work at the “Green Hell” that is Nurburgring add a schnitzel to your list. My favorite joint is Giulia’s in Adenau which is a stone’s throw away from Post 120. And no meal would be complete without a stein of WARSTEINER beer. Seeing it served instantly brought memories of classic cars I saw on TV and later in person at various historic races around the world sporting the WARSTEINER sponsored logo including those beautiful E30 BMW M3’s, the Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR of the mid 2000’s and of course the Porsche prototypes of the much older vintage era.

foodie germany beer nordscheleife

#7 Bahrain: Shawarma Malgoum

foodie bahrain shawarma malgoum

When marshaling in Bahrain you must try a Shawarma Malgoum!

So the french fry theme continues except this time it is engineered in to a delicious shawarma served on a busy street corner in a little village outside of the capital of the tiny island of Bahrain in the Arabian Gulf. I got really lucky to have an opportunity to marshal WEC in Bahrain and one of the marshals that drives a course car offered to show me around and give me a little sample of what the local food scene is like. It’s tough otherwise to find proper Bahraini food in Bahrain because of the dominance of all the western food chains and typical Indian joints that are readily available in the Middle East. But a cheap and compact shawarma really gave me a culinary peak at something truly local. You must experience it for yourself.

I did get a chance to go out for some lamb chops and other well made meats served with humus and pita bread, but I don’t think anything hit the spot like the Malgoum. Why do they call it that? and why is it a very Bahraini thing? Well because it’s an “everything” shawarma stuffed with all sorts of goodness from diced tomatos to generous portions of beef (chicken or lamb, whatever you prefer) some salad, and chili sauce.

Quickly made. Cheap and best enjoyed with friends late night. Typically followed by smoking some hookah at a juice bar. An experience I can’t wait to repeat in the future.

foodie bahrain hooka

#6 Singapore: Chicken Rice

foodie singapore chicken rice

When marshaling in Singapore you must have Chicken Rice!

It’s impossible to come to Singapore and not be overwhelmed by all the amazing culinary variety. You’ve got your traditional Chinese food, Malay food, Indian food, Thai food, Indonesian food, and plenty of Western food options too. But what MUST you try on your visit? Chicken rice, no if’s, and’s or but’s about it! Why? Because it is the simplest and the most readily available foods found on the island. It is also one of the cheapest. And most importantly it’s one of the best things they have to offer both locals and visitors alike.

Chicken rice or more properly Hainanese chicken rice is exactly what the name suggests, a simple cup of white rice served with poached and steamed chicken with some sweet chili, ginger and molasses like black substance that adds a very unique flavor to the dish. Often accompanied by a little bowl of the broth that the chicken is cooked in to sprinkle on your rice while you eat it with a fork and a spoon (using the fork to pile spoon-full’s of chicken and rice mix for each bite). I would highly recommend chicken rice for anyone as basic as it sounds it’s the one thing I really crave the most after living in Singapore for a while.

Don’t forget to get some freshly cut fruit for desert after your meal. Readily available at just about every Kopitiam on the island, the fruit is as important as the dish itself, to me at least. Especially with the exotic options like dragon fruit, starfruit, mango, papaya, pineapple, green/red apple, banana, strawberry and kiwi’s. Try it! Love it!

foodie singapore fresh fruit

#5 Malaysia: Nasi Lemak

foodie malaysia nasi lemak banana leaf

When marshaling in Malaysia you must have Nasi Lemak!

Nasi Lemak to me is the most Malay of the Malaysian dishes I’ve sampled, and I’ve been fortunate enough to try a few. It is coconut rice cooked with your choice of chicken, beef, cockles or even livers covered in spicy fish paste and topped with an egg all wrapped around in a banana leaf.

Traditionally eaten for breakfast, I’ve learned to love this dish at Sepang when one of my fellow marshals would make a morning run to pick up enough for our entire team. It’s true that coconut rice has a tendency to drive your stomach crazy afterwards, but the food is so delicious it is well worth all the funny business that may happen after you’ve digested it. It is phenomenal. You must try! And whenever possible have some Ipoh white coffee to wash it down. Ipoh coffee is served with a hefty serving of condensed milk which makes it white’ish in color and is absolutely amazing with a perfect amount of sweetness that I really love.

foodie malaysia nasi lemak

#4 South Korea: Anything with Kimchi

foodie korean bbq kimchi

When marshaling in South Korea try anything and everything that comes served with Kimchi!

I’m sure you all know what kimchi is so there’s no point explaining why this fermented spicy cabbage goodness is amazing. But when volunteering in Korea, like the Korean Grand Prix of the past or any of the current events held in the country. Whatever you eat that’s served with kimchi will leave you with an excellent memory to take back from Korea home, wherever you may live.

On my last visit I was lucky enough to experience kimchi with a several “guides” that showed me around. I first used CouchSurfing and people were kind enough to show me around the Seoul market, trying food all along the way, from Korean Sushi to Korean BBQ.

Then when we made our way to Mokpo with a fellow marshal he spoiled me for choice with the food options on the way and at the Marshal hostel that served us food for breakfast and dinner. Whatever the food: from delicious meat to fish, kimchi highlighted the dish and made me crave it more and more. I can’t wait to have it again on my next trip to this beautiful country. You should try it too!

foodie south korea kimchi

#3 Malaysia: Fish

foodie malaysia fish rice

When marshaling in Malaysia and if you’re lucky enough to have someone knowledgeable show you around… try the Fried Fish!

There’s a little village not far from the Sepang Circuit that I’ve had the pleasure to frequent after long days of working at the track. The whole rescue team that I camped together with at the track would go out every night for a relaxing evening to socialize with fellow marshals and share a delicious meal. Needless to say I was the only foreigner there, but I felt extremely welcome and more importantly I was absolutely in love with the fish they served at this little Muslim Thai restaurant that basically specializes in a very unique dish I haven’t tried anywhere else in Malaysia or Thailand on my travels, and I always make it a point to sample as much food as possible whenever I am in Southeast Asia.

What is the fish called? I have no idea. It is grilled to make the skin crispy and then smothered in the most delicious sweet chili sauce, served with rice. I always get a cup of Ipoh coffee or two to go with it, which is white coffee I described with my Nasi Lemak dish above, or coffee served with condensed milk. My favorite!

PS. the name of the fish dish is: “ikan kembung masak pedas

#2 New Zealand: Meat Pies

foodie new zealand meat pie

When marshaling in New Zealand (and Australia) you must try the Meat Pies!

Much like fish and chips, which I also really really like, Meat Pies are a British import to the Pacific but one that has gotten a flavor of it’s own and I much prefer the Kiwi meat pies to anything I tried in the UK. The meat pies are typically stuffed with chicken, beef, pork, livers, veggies, and a variety of other combinations like black pepper steak or curry chicken. And I love them all. I really do!

The best part about meat pies you get them served at the track while marshaling so you don’t really have to go looking for them at a specific restaurant or bakery. Although while driving on the way to Hampton Downs or Pukekohe on the North Island I’ve always made it a point to stop at Pokeno to stock up on their delicious goodness.

The pies were also readily available to buy frozen and heat up at home by brands like Big Ben who also sponsored local racing. But nothing compares to freshly made kidney liver pies or chicken curry pies I’d get on the way to the track. I loved it, you’d love it too!

foodie new zealand kiwi meat pie big ben

#1 Singapore: Durian

foodie singapore durian

When marshaling in Singapore the #1 meal you should try is Durian!

The highlight of my life in Singapore and pretty much every subsequent visit since has been to sample some fresh Durian. I don’t know if people would ever understand the craving I have for such an infamous fruit. But I definitely crave it! And you can’t just have any durian you stumble upon the street. Hell they sell them in Chinatown in Manhattan or San Francisco. But apparently there’s nothing worse than bad durian. You have to have it in season. You have to ask for the Malaysian durian which is smaller than the big Thai durian and therefore more potent, tastier.

Other products with durian are a hit or miss. I’ve tried durian ice cream and absolutely hated it, but also tried durian moon cakes during Chinese New Year celebration and absolutely loved them. But there really isn’t a substitute for the real thing. And if you do end up going to the Singapore GP I would highly recommend spending one evening exploring Geylang with a local marshal who would surely be able to point you in the right direction to try the “King of Fruit!”

Of course your experience may be way different from mine. I’m happy to share my favorite American Top 10 Foodie Experiences… and I think the Malaysian and Singapore Top 10 Foodie Experiences will follow, so stay tuned!

Elevated Marshal Posts at Algarve Circuit

Every circuit I visit provides an opportunity to learn something new, something unique. The Algarve Circuit where I worked the Maxi 32h event this weekend was no exception. In Portugal they use elevated marshal stations around the Portimão Circuit full of blind corners and significant elevation changes.

For Friday’s practice I got to work Post 06 at the exit of Turn 2 while on Saturday and Sunday I was at Post 11 in the middle of Turn 8. From Post 11 I could look directly down at Post 05 directly behind us as we were significantly higher, and Posts 12 and 13 could look straight down at us as they were ahead of us. If that creates the visual of a side of a mountain you’d be correct in thinking that, basically the circuit goes up and down a pretty steep hill. But the physical stations were no different than stations used at COTA in Texas. There were however Posts 21 and 22 that were on stilts. I kid you not, they were significantly elevated off the ground like so:

elevated marshal post

algarve elevated marshal station

To get in or out you use a step ladder, but otherwise the set up is no different than stations closer to the ground. The difference of course is the visibility advantage this creates:

algarve elevated marshal post

portimao marshal station

Looking out at the part of the course you cover as a marshal you can have an unobstructed view way downstream as well as upstream with no blind spots. And I thought that was a fantastic advantage. Of course sharing this photo on the Flag Marshals of the World facebook group I was quickly reminded how dangerous such a set up can be because there are very limited escape opportunities. Of course, track designers tend to air on the side of caution when it comes to station positioning, etc. But considering that the Algarve Circuit hosts major FIA events like Formula One testing, WEC testing, BEC racing, SBK Superbikes and the Maxi 32h race I worked; surely the safety aspect of the design was taken into the consideration. Additionally, being a modern FIA track it features a ridiculous amount of paved run off and gravel traps followed by deep tire walls, armco and safety fencing. Granted the station is directly above the catch fence but the likelihood of debris flying that high, that far off the racing line is unlikely… I would imagine. Of course no place is completely safe at a race track, but the benefit of having good visibility so you can see stuff crashing into you instead of being surprised when it actually happens and you weren’t able to see it coming has it’s advantages.

In all honesty I wish Circuit of the Americas would implement a similar idea for some of it’s stations. For example I worked Turn 12 last year and Turn 11C this year and in both cases I couldn’t see anything coming at me until the cars were right on top of me. Sure I was behind a safety barrier and a catch fence, etc. But if something were to come at me at a high rate of speed I wouldn’t know about it until the car crashed into me. And I’m not sure if that’s an entirely “safe” scenario.

Part of the criticism about the high elevation of the station is that flags were no longer at driver’s eye level. But again I think is a non-issue as the drivers coming up hill see the top of the station first where the flags are, and only have to look up at the station when they are directly in front of it which means at that point they are no longer looking at the station but further down the track at the next turn. I am all for early warning rather than a “safer” spot that is right on top of the incident or too far along that the driver can’t reasonably take appropriate action because there isn’t enough time to react.

So props to the Algarve Circuit with their implementation of a good idea. And I hope other tracks would consider using a similar concept when it is “safe” and makes logical sense to do.

Maxi Endurance 32h in Portugal debrief

I am so excited to report back from the Maxi Endurance 32h race held at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve this weekend. The trip was a fantastic success and an excellent conclusion to my 2014 season. Portugal became the thirteenth country that I have worked in as a volunteer, and the Portimão Circuit thirty something… But who’s counting? Let me tell you about the awesome time I had.

I had a good feeling about the trip long before it started. You see it was quite late when I decided to put my hand up and volunteer, only about two months or six weeks before the race. And typically that is too late to get registered. But I was lucky. Contacting the promoter resulted in the introduction to the track manager who was happy and super accommodating to enlist me in the ranks of their volunteers. Any track welcomes international marshals with open arms is a fantastic facility in my opinion. And what a fantastic facility Algarve Circuit is. When I arrived there the welcome I received was humbling. I don’t want to say I received VIP treatment because that may send the wrong message, but I certainly felt very special when the boss introduced me to everyone around from Maxi 32h organizers to the AIA marshaling team to track operations and management people. I felt so lucky and proud to be there!

autodromo internacional algarve

The event kicked off to much smaller field than was expected, many teams pulled out at the last minute. And the weather forecast changed to rain both Saturday and Sunday which made some people worry about the outcome. But none of that dampened my spirits. I thoroughly enjoyed myself through and through. I got an opportunity to sight-see the circuit, and witnessed some aspects that I wish other tracks would use. Got to meet some wonderful people, and all that before the cars hit the track. Once the practice started I was given an opportunity to work a great station with a perfect view of a large area of the track which was greatly appreciated. For the race itself I got bumped to another part of the circuit with a big turn and an even bigger elevation change which was definitely one of the more exciting parts of the venue. But my favorite takeaway from the whole experience was checking out the elevated stations of the Portimao Circuit which I’ll cover in another post.

algarve maxi 32h seat supercopa

algarve circuit 1

algarve circuit flags

The 8 hour shifts we worked went by quickly, except for my overnight shift. I didn’t get much sleep and with the darkness, cold and wet atmosphere it was hard to keep my eyes open. But the incidents were few and far between, only a couple of spins, so no Code 60 flags were necessary. But this was a first time I had the opportunity to use the Dutch creation.

algarve maxi enduro 32h

portimao maxi enduro 32h

I got very lucky visiting a very touristy area of Portugal in the off season because that meant the prices were cheaper than usual. For example my car rental cost only about 40€ or just about $50 USD. Navigating the area was quite easy even without a GPS. And my little Opel Corsa did a fine job after I figured out how to properly use it’s primitive but very advanced automatic transmission (LOL). It was pretty good on fuel also, I only used about 35€ on my trip and did over 400km of driving. The hostel I booked 45€ or $56 American and I was the only person staying there, so I had the whole place to myself. The peculiar thing about the location of the place was that it was in a little fishing village called Alvor, smack in the center of the restaurant area, among the tiny little streets that lead to the historic River and Oceanfront promenade that still pays homage to the fishing industry of this area. I mean it was beautiful, simply beautiful.

opel corsa rentalcar in portugal

The food I tried was outstanding. The reviews I read prior to coming recommended seafood because of the historic fishing traditions of this region, but I got to try so many other things besides the delicious sardine products that sustained me for a week. There were lamb chops, rabbit, veal and of course chicken but prepared in ways that were not just ordinary. I miss the food already. In fact the only souvenirs I brought home from my trip were some canned sardines typical to the area, and specifically the “La Rose” brand that put Portugal on the map back when the fishing industry boomed.

portugal seafood

portugal rabbit

All in all I’m very happy with the trip and think it was a fantastic way to end my year and this season. Even though I did one third of the races of previous years I feel really fulfilled because of the trips to Europe I took: France, Germany (Belgium of course) and Portugal left quite an impression and I will be sure to include Europe in next year’s calendar if the stars align just right.

I urge you to consider marshaling in Portugal too, you’ll love it!

algarve marshals group photo

The group photo of the AIA motor clube marshals post-race.  (photo credit Maxi 32h official facebook page:  f/maxiendurance32 )

aia marshal

 

AIA Circuit: http://aiamotorclube.blogspot.com/

AIA motor clube: http://aiamotorclube.blogspot.com/

Marshal Log Book Project: #MarshalLogBook

It’s been a while since I had my log book signed.

Oh you’ve never heard of a log book? Well, marshals around the world record their event participation in a little book which they bring to the track to get signed each weekend by their flag chief or post chief, to validate that they indeed volunteered the event.

You may have tinkered with the idea on the SCCA web site if you volunteer in the US and are a member of the club. Because you get a worker incentive for participating in club events. Work 12 cumulative days and get $45 discount on your membership renewal. Work 8 days get $30 bucks credit, etc. But what about those pro events you worked? Nobody cares right? Wrong!

Registering for events thru DLBracing.com or Motorsportreg.com keeps track (a historic record) of events you signed up to work through those web sites. But again there’s no One/central database of all the events you volunteered: pro, club, international, etc.

It’s time to create a new Digital Marshal Log Book… I’ve been a long time user of several flight tracking databases like ba97 and OpenFlights for years, and there’s no reason such a simple solution can’t be used to quickly and conveniently keep track of all my Motorsport volunteering. Of course automating this process is a little beyond my programming skills so I’ll definitely need some help from the readers of this blog. But I have put together some samples manually, and the results are stunning!

So the simple list view of my Motorsport volunteering is:

marshal log book list Google Docs list: click here.

But here’s the cool part… the Analytics! You want to know the stats of Circuits by Days I spent at each event? I do:

circuits by day Google Docs: click here. The pie chart is interactive. Go ahead and play with it! Interestingly 7.7% (18 days) of all of my days spend at the race track happened at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut and at Hampton Downs in New Zealand. 6.4% (15 days) at Circuit of the Americas, and 6% (14 days) at Watkins Glen International.

How about Circuits by Frequency of returning to that track:

circuits frequency Google Docs: click here. Looking at these stats 10.6% (9 times) of all the time I returned to a particular circuit, it just happened to be to Lime Rock Park – my home track in the US. 7.1% (6 times) to Hampton Downs my former home track in New Zealand and to Watkins Glen International in New York. 5.9% (5 times) to both Circuit of the Americas in Texas and Summit Point in West Virginia. Quite a different perspective considering most events at Lime Rock are 2 day events, while the rest of the world it’s typically 3 days because there is no racing in Connecticut on Sundays.

How about Country stats by Days worked? Let’s see:

country by days Google Docs: click here. It turns out more than half of all the time (123 days out of 234 days total) I spent trackside, happened right here in America! (‘murica!) 15.2% (35 days) in New Zealand which is an amazing number considering I only spent less than half a year there and have been marshaling in the US for over three years now. And 7.4% (17 days) spent in Australia, which is cheeky because most of that came from the one month long trip I made down there in 2013 where I did something like six back to back events in a row.

How about Country by Frequency of participation:

country frequency Google Docs: click here. Number of times in the country correlates to the number of days on track. 56.5% (48 times) of all the events I’ve marshaled were in the US. 15.3% (13 times) in New Zealand. 7.1% (6 times) in Australia. 5.9% (5 times) in Canada. 3.5% (3 times) both in Malaysia and Singapore. Go ahead play with the interactive charts by following the Google Docs links, and see all the other stats.

I am working on integrating Circuits and participation onto Google Maps, but it’s a slightly more complicated process here are samples:

map countries

If you have any suggestions for creating fancy stats please share in the comments below and I’ll be happy to post them. More importantly if you’re really good at writing Google Docs Scripts I’d love to get some help in creating a usable Form and subsequent database that I will make available to all the marshals around the world. It’d be amazing to see people’s stats from Brazil, Singapore, Malaysia, France, the Netherlands, the rest of Europe, Asia, the Pacific and of course the Americas.

Remember to use #MarshalLogBook on Twitter and Facebook to spread the word. And like the new facebook page I created just for this project:  facebook.com/pages/Marshal-Log-Book/910500628968577

MaxiEndurance is a Go!

Once the flight is booked there’s no backing out of the event, so my Maxi Enduro 32h is a definite Go! In a typical FlyerTalk.com fashion I’ll be doing a marathon across most of Europe to get to Algarve coast in Portugal with connections in Switzerland, Spain and Germany on the way. Though I won’t have much time to check out Zürich, and will probably have to run across the terminal in Palma de Mallorca (Majorca) to make my flight, I will get to spend the night in Düsseldorf. And while I arrive late, based on my experience in Germany last year around the same time when I went to Bahrain 6h, Sepang 3h and Gulf 12h in Abu Dhabi… well the Christmas markets will be a nice site to revisit.

europe car rental

I got very lucky with my award flight availability and will have just enough time to sightsee around Faro upon arrival and possibly a few hours before my departure the day after the event. I’m amazed with how cheap the car rentals are. Not the traditional companies I typically rent from via CarRentals.com but the no-name brand off the airport property… it’s something like 1/3rd the price. I am definitely looking forward to driving around Europe… I had such a blast a few years ago in Southern Spain (Costa Blanca around Alicante) with a little Smart ForTwo from Sixt.

autodromo internacional algarve maxi 32h

I love everything about this trip so far. Such excellent reviews about Faro and Portimão. I’ve been spoiled with Iberian food here in NJ with a large Portuguese population in the Ironbound area of Newark, but the authentic stuff I really can’t wait to try firsthand.

I am also extremely happy with the organizers that have been more than welcoming so far. That my friends is crucial in organizing events as a travelling marshal. When there’s no resistance from a local ASN or the organizing body, and instead they encourage you to come, is a fantastic experience. I’m very thankful. Obrigado!

As far as the race goes, I’m really eager to see the HTP Mercedes SLS dominate. But there will be some other gems on display also. Maybe not the caliber of the field as one would see in the European Le Mans Series, Blancpain Endurance or Sprint Series or GT Open, but still. The CN prototype class has four manufacturers represented. Wolf and Radical I have already seen race in Abu Dhabi but the Tatuus and Norma will be a new sight for me. The widebody European V6 Cup cars like the Renault Clio, Seat Supercopa and GC V6 Silueta (which looks like a slammed VW Rabbit) will be awesome to watch. I’m really excited!

maxi endurance viper acr

The one car I have little optimism for is this older model Viper ACR. As much as I’m an SRT fan and all, and seeing how this is the Press Car for the event, I have my doubts it will actually last the 32 hours. I will be very pleasantly surprised to see it finish.

Photo credit Maxi Endurance: maxiendurance.com/info-equipos/entry-list/

Maxi Endurance 32h in Portimão, Portugal

The United States Grand Prix was a letdown. In a way it was like watching a car wreck in slow motion. I knew based on my post assignment it wasn’t going to be a thrilling event, and being there only proved the inevitable boredom. But I refuse to end my marshaling season on a sour note. So I’m planning a trip all the way to the Guinness Book of World Records… The longest endurance race in the world. No, not the Maxi 48h advertised in the photo above I took during the Bathurst 12h race a few years ago. But an event put together by the same organizers.

At this point I haven’t booked anything yet, but pieces are slowly starting to fall into their places. Like a frequent flyer mileage redemption with AA. There’s no better time to travel to Europe than the off season. Low mileage redemption, great availability and I got to put away a ton of miles this year from not traveling as much as I used to. So it’s a win win. Similarly I expect the car rental to be a reasonable deal, especially since Faro, Portugal is a busy tourist destination in the summer and probably has a lot of capacity to fill in the winter.

maxi endurance 32hMaxi Endurance 32h: http://www.maxiendurance.com/

But back to the event. A facebook post from John Dagys from Sportscar365 promoting the Maxi Endurance 32h event at the Algarve International Circuit in Portugal, caught my eye. The dates seem to work in early December. The track seems spectacular with a number of the top world events past and present having raced there including F1 pre-season testing, SBK Superbikes, various European GT series and even Le Mans a few years back. There is also an intriguing comparison of Algarve to track’s like Nurburgring and Spa-Francochamps. This only means I will not be disappointed.

htp motorsportHTP Motorsport: http://www.htpmotorsport.de/

Similarly, the entries shouldn’t disappoint. HTP Motorsport is entering their amazing Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS GT3 which won Bathurst 12h earlier this year. There will be Porsche 911 GT3’s, Ginettas, Aston Martin GT4’s, Seat Supercopas, Renauld Clios mixed with Radicals in the CN prototype class, plenty of blue flag opportunities and all over a period of 32 hours. Not to mention having ridiculously faster GT’s compared to some Prototypes, which will be much faster than some Touring cars. Exciting and certainly very challenging to flag!

The most surprising thing so far, just hours after reaching out to inquire about the event I got a warm welcome from the organizers. Frankly, after getting rejected for Japan and Macau I was surprised. Pleasantly surprised to add the thirteenth country to my marshaling career, and hopefully learn something new in Algarve.

Please stay tuned as I go through this new adventure and share my experience post-race.

Official Links:

Autódromo Internacional do Algarve www.autodromodoalgarve.com

Algarve Circuit on Facebook f/Autodromo.Internacional.do.Algarve

Portimão Circuit on Twitter @AIAPortimao t/AIAPortimao

Maxi Endurance 32h maxiendurance.com

Maxi Endurance 32h on Facebook f/maxiendurance32