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The back streets of Porto


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#1 Barry Boor

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 19:49

There are a few highly talented individuals who have the ability to create new tracks for computer racing simulations. One such gentleman, by name Sergio Loro, has just completed the Porto circuit where the Portuguese Grand Prix of 1958 and 1960 was run for the Legends sim.

This very clever chap has the circuit shape spot-on and the start finish straight, followed by the uphill Avenida da Boavista have a very authentic feel to them. Especially the VW caravanettes parked by the side of the track!

But, (you knew there was a but coming, didn't you?) I guess due to the scarcity of photographs of the twistier portion of the circuit, I am not sure that the scenery inserted into this track file is correct.

I may well be totally wrong here (not for the first time, either!) but I always had the impression that the circuit wound through streets with buildings rather than passing through areas with a lot of grass on one or both sides of the road.

Can anyone post any images of the less well known parts of the track so that I might pass them on to Sergio so that he can make an excellent piece of work even better?

If, however, the scenery is correct, I herewith offer my most humble apologies for doubting him!

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#2 D-Type

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 22:46

I worked in Porto a couple of years back and found the old circuit. My flat overlooked it and my route to work went along about a third of it.

The western half of the circuit, roughly the portion west of Rua da Vilarinha, runs round the perimeter of a park. While the other half runs through streets with buildings - mostly modern, but some older.

So going round the circuit

The start was on Esplanade do Rio de Janiero between the park and the sea. This road has recently been rebuilt and the old road was nearer the sea.
Then it took a left into Avenida da Boavista, dual carriageway with the park on the left and houses on the right until the first turn off on the left when the houses start.
Then left into Avenida Dr Antunes Guimares, now lined with buildings it probably was in period.
Then left into Rua do Lidador, this is narrower and I would think almost definitely lined with buildings in 1958.
Then onto the Estrada da Circunvalacao. This is the older ring road and is currently dual carriageway. In 1958 to 1960 it may well have been single carriageway. I don't know whether there would have been an empty strip alongside the road as a road reserve or whether buildings were demolished to build the second carriageway.
This now has buildings all along the North side and on the south until the junction with Rua da Vilharinha where we meet the park again. The area to the north of the road has been extensively redeveloped in the last forty odd years - I think it was factories before.

There are still tramlines in Avenida da Boavista and what's left of Esplanade do Rio de Janiero. I don't think there were any in the other roads

If you look at photos of the races some show grassy banks (the park) and some show buildings. from your description, I would think that Sergio has probably modelled it correctly.

Over to our Portuguese friends to correct my impressions and fill in the gaps.

#3 Neri Moreira

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 15:21

Hi

I live in Porto, and I have done a lot of research in what concerns the "Grande Prémio de Portugal" mainly the 1958 event.

In fact I have asked for some support at this forum as well as in the Race Sim Central forum.

A search here or at RSC by the word "Porto" can link to a lot of material that people was so kind in providing.

Also in the 3rd volume of the VHS tape History of BRM a small video of the 1960 GP can be found even if it only shows the start finish line, in that video Dan Gurney says it was the most dangerous circuit he as ever raced!!!.

All that material as well as about 300 unpublished photos of the 1958 event, and a small amateur movie of the 1960 GP I was able to find, were burnt in a CD and sent to Sergio Loro, about a year ago, so that he could be able to create the track as accurately as possible.

I will not elaborate on how well his final work makes justice to what was then the surroundings of the circuit (all I can say is that it was no way all so geometrically placed and organised as in Sergio’s work), but I will try to add some information here, using the description made by D-type:

"The start was on Esplanade do Rio de Janeiro between the park and the sea. This road has recently been rebuilt and the old road was nearer the sea."

In fact the original road, that was a straight line, paved with cobblestones, was destroyed, and a curved upper road was built to allow the city park to join the sea.

"Then it took a left into Avenida da Boavista, dual carriageway with the park on the left and houses on the right until the first turn off on the left when the houses start."

In fact it was a left, right, left (doing a roundabout (sp) “Rotunda do Castelo do Queijo” by the opposite direction) with Café BelaCruz in the beginning left side (still exists mostly how it was) and in the beginning right side was the palace of Conde de Vizela uncle of the first F1 Portuguese driver Mario Araújo (Nicha) Cabral.
Most of the right side of Av. da Boavista had (and has) big rich houses.
The left side, after the café Bela Cruz and for the next 600 m was (and mostly is yet) agricultural land, then there were (and still are) six big houses and after that was a “forest” (?) that was converted in a big and nice city park about 15 years ago.
Avenida da Boavista is the longest city road in Portugal (around 7 km straight line) but “only” 2.200 m were used in the circuit.
The left side that was used for the races is the side that we drive every day in the opposite direction.

“Then left into Avenida Dr Antunes Guimares, now lined with buildings it probably was in period.”

Most of the houses that are there today, were there already in 1958, only the first buildings (where I live) were built in 1971, and, around 1980, a big building in the end.
This road also had tram lines (first double, then single, then double again) and was paved with cobblestones.


“Then left into Rua do Lidador, this is narrower and I would think almost definitely lined with buildings in 1958.”

In this left was where Mike Hawthorn spun, and had to jumpstart his Ferrari in 1958, almost loosing his word title if it wasn’t for the sportive intervention of Stirling Moss in his defence.

The first 2/3 of this road was lined by small houses, but the last part was only opened for the 1958 event and only in 1960 they were starting building houses there.
This road was in asphalt.

“Then onto the Estrada da Circunvalacao. This is the older ring road and is currently dual carriageway. In 1958 to 1960 it may well have been single carriageway. I don't know whether there would have been an empty strip alongside the road as a road reserve or whether buildings were demolished to build the second carriageway.
This now has buildings all along the North side and on the south until the junction with Rua da Vilharinha where we meet the park again. The area to the north of the road has been extensively redeveloped in the last forty odd years - I think it was factories before”

I have been told that in 1958 it was double carriage way but the right (down) side was still not paved.
The left down side that the circuit uses we drive today in the opposite direction, it was asphalt also.

In the right side were some farms (rich farms) and in the left side were also farms, only near Rua da Vilarinha were some houses.
After Rua da Vilarinha where is the city park now, then was the “forest”, almost till the sea, but right before the last “roundabout” was in the left side a big area used to dry codfish.
In the last part of the right side were some iron factories and fish industries.

The last round about before the start finish line in Esplanada Rio de Janeiro was also in cobblestones and the cars had to cross the tramlines it also had two big poles in the track!!!! protected with hay bales.

“There are still tramlines in Avenida da Boavista and what's left of Esplanade do Rio de Janeiro. I don't think there were any in the other roads”

Unfortunately the tramlines in Avenida da Boavista are gone but will, hopefully, be exchanged by the Metro lines.
As I told before also in Av. Antunes Guimarães were tramlines along the circuit.

Also in mostly all the circuit there were not proper sidewalks but only the stones definig the place of the side walks.

Hope I could help, and I wished it was so easy to post images in this forum as in RSC.
(Recently I sent all the fotos of 1958 to Sir Striling Moss :) )

Regards
Neri