Portuguese racer Jorge Brioso and Algarve-based team GP Racing Group will take part in the first edition of the Porsche Sprint Challenge Ibérica, which will feature two races in Portugal and four in Spain in 2023
Jorge and GP Racing Group will be the only driver and team south of Lisbon to take part in the competition, which is the successor of the Porsche GT3 Cup and now boast the official seal of approval from Porsche.
Jorge has been racing almost for as long as he can remember. “I have ridden motorbikes for my whole life. My father is a Honda dealer. I grew up surrounded by motorbikes, and I competed in motocross since I was around nine or 10 until I was 22,” says the 41-year-old racer.
Having decided to leave his motocross career behind, Jorge pursued his education and achieved a university degree in Physical Education. “In Portugal, it is hard to make a living off of bikes, but I do not regret a thing,” he said.
Despite being born and raised in Almeirim, in the district of Santarém, Jorge has lived and worked in the Algarve for over 15 years. He currently divides his time between Faro and Portimão, working as the technical director of a health club in Faro as well as a driving instructor for cars and motorbikes at the Algarve International Racetrack.
In fact, it was thanks to his job as a driving instructor that he started to develop an “itch” for racing again. “My father is also a car aficionado. He owned several cars including some Porsches throughout his life, and so my passion also came from him,” he explains.
The opportunity to return to the world of racing came in 2021, when he was invited to compete as a guest racer three times, for three different teams, in the Porsche GT3 Cup. “This all happened at the last minute. For my first race, which was in Portimão, I didn’t even have a licence, or a helmet, or a suit. I had to borrow them from some of my friends. Since then, my love and passion for this has been growing,” he said.
Now, he has partnered with GP Racing Group to participate in the Porsche Sprint Challenge Ibérica, which will see drivers compete in three categories: 997 (a category for older cars), 997.2 (a category for cars dating back around 10 years), and 991.1 and 991.2 (a category for newer and faster cars).
Part of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) programme, the competition’s inaugural race will be held at the Algarve International Racetrack (AIA) between April 14 and 16. The following two rounds move to Spain, in May and June, before returning to Portugal, this time at the Estoril Racetrack, in July. The next two races will take place in Spain in September and October, and there could be a seventh stage in the cards.
The competition is open to former professional racers and to amateur racers, the category in which Jorge competed in 2021 despite his vast résumé as a motorbike racer.
One of the best racetracks in Europe
Jorge Brioso has been a driving instructor at the Algarve International Racetrack since it opened in 2008 and has perhaps more insight into it than most other people.
Having already raced at other circuits across Europe, Jorge is certain that the Portimão circuit is among the European elite. “I believe this racetrack is one of the best in Europe. It is fabulous and super fun and has brought a lot of life to Portugal and the Algarve,” says Jorge.
Although the F1 championship will not be returning to the Algarve in 2023, there is still a wide range of competitions that are held at the racetrack which Jorge says many people are not aware of. “We have the Superbikes, the MotoGP, the World Endurance Series… I really believe people don’t realise just how much goes on at the racetrack all year round,” he adds.
Likewise, the quality of Portuguese racers is often overlooked in a country where football still reigns supreme in the eyes of most sports lovers. “The visibility and passion for going to the circuit is still a bit weak when compared to the rest of Europe. In countries such as Spain, Italy and France, the circuits are always packed. In Portugal, we do not have that culture yet, but I want to believe this can change. There are many Portuguese racers competing for big teams, and yet many people do not even know who they are. It is a shame because there is a lot of quality here,” the racer laments.
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