Vila Real is the true heart of motor racing in Portugal, with its epic street race through the hillside roads proving remarkably resilient to change. First run in 1931, when such races were commonplace, the circuit has weathered world wars, economic and political turmoil and a loss of its international status in the 1970s, through to recovery, revival and world attention once more as Portugal's round of the World Touring Car Championship.
The fever for motor racing runs deep through this small town in the wine-making north of the country, perched on a hillside and straddling the Rio Corbo river. Time and again circumstances have called a halt to proceedings, yet somehow the locals always manage to bring back competitive action to their streets. The events have always proved popular with the fans, with thousands turning out to line the track at each race.
And what a track! Sweeping through the hills, it was fast and furious and in its original form featured two perilous bridges over sheer drops to the river below, as well as a pair of level crossings where the course was bisected by a narrow-gauge railway. Add in sections through the town complete with houses, lampposts and any number of other obstacles for the wayward racer to hit and its was certainly memorable!