The Autódromo Internacional do Algarve (AIA) located in Portimão will host for the first time an event of the World Endurance Championship – FIA WEC, which is the opening event of this season following the postponement of the Sebring race, initially scheduled for 18 March, with Portugal hosting the opening event of the World Cup, in which the Portuguese Filipe Albuquerque and António Félix da Costa participate, with a new eight-hour race, on April 4.
Regarding the news, speaking to Agência Lusa, Portuguese pilot Filipe Albuquerque showed up this Friday "very happy" for the announcement that the 2021 Automobile Endurance World Championship will start in Portugal, at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve (AIA).
"There are evils that come for good. It was not expected to run in Portugal this year, but the covid-19 will provide this opportunity. I love competing in my country and at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. And I am very happy to see the World Championship visit a circuit as special and challenging as the one in Portimão. I am sure it will be an extraordinary race "said Filipe Albuquerque, who in 2020 became world champion in the LMP2 class, the second most important in the championship.
"After becoming a champion, you can only wish to become a champion again. That's what I want and we are very focused on that. This is a very demanding championship with long and difficult races but we are prepared for what comes next. It would be extraordinary to start year in Portugal with a victory. It would be the best kick-off ", concluded the pilot from Coimbra, who is currently in the United States preparing the 24 hours of Daytona that will take place on January 30 and 31.
The Portuguese layout has hosted in recent years the European Le Mans Series (EMLS), a championship that Albuquerque also won in 2020.
"Due to the rapid evolution of the new coronavirus, as well as the change in policies of different governments, which includes travel restrictions, FIA WEC does not want to take unnecessary risks", it reads in the statement.
The decision was taken jointly with the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and IMSA, organizer of the endurance races in the USA.