Estroril race track - The Autódromo do Estoril, Estoril, Portugal

The Autódromo do Estoril (officially: Autódromo Fernanda Pires da Silva) is a 4.36 km (2.709 miles) race course in Portugal, and the home of the Formula One Portuguese Grand Prix from 1984 to 1996.

The Estoril circuit was built in 1972 on a rocky plateau not far from Estoril, Portugal, the beach resort lending its name to the circuit. The course has two hairpin turns, noticeable elevation changes, and a long start/finish straight. Its first years saw many club races, as well as an occasional Formula 2 race. However, the course soon fell into disrepair, and a significant redevelopment effort was needed before international motorsport returned in 1984.

Estoril became a popular event on the F1 calendar, the setting for many well-known moments including Jacques Villeneuve overtaking Michael Schumacher around the outside in 1996, and Riccardo Patrese being momentarily launched onto two wheels after colliding with Gerhard Berger on the main straight in 1992.

Throughout the years, Estoril has had numerous problems with safety, failing safety inspections on more than one occasion. Estoril sometimes has high crosswinds, which remind many of its Spanish counterpart, the Circuit de Catalunya. Many teams were fond of using Estoril for winter testing.

Estoril was dropped from the F1 calendar for the 1997 season, though it continued to play host to top-level single-seater, sports car, Dallara World Series and touring car events, including the FIA GT Championship, the DTM and the World Series by Renault. On October 23, 2005, the Autódromo do Estoril hosted the third round of the first ever A1 Grand Prix racing season, with both races in the event being won by the French team.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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