WEC practice resumes after car lands in grandstand during support event

World Endurance Championship

Posted on

| Written by

Practice for this weekend’s World Endurance Championship round at the Autodromo do Algarve has resumed after a car landed in a grandstand during a support event.

Porsche Sprint Challenge Iberica driver Alex Areia suffered a huge crash at turn one on the Portuguese track. A video shot by a spectator at the circuit showed the car leaving the circuit at high speed and clearing the barrier.

Images of the crash scene show the Porsche 911 GT3 took out several panels of the debris fence and landed in a seated area of the grandstand.

The Monteiros Competicoes driver said he was unhurt in the crash and was relieved to discover the grandstand he landed in was empty. He revealed he suffered a braking problem in his car.

“I was very angry,” he said on social media. “I ran out of brakes at the end of the straight, I practically became a passenger.

“Luckily there was no one in that area of the grandstand and I managed to get out of the accident unharmed, thanks to the safety level of that car.”

The incident happened during second practice for the support series, which followed the day’s opening WEC session. The second WEC practice session began after a delay for repairs to the damaged barriers.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

The Porsche Sprint Challenge Iberica is a new series which was launched by Spain’s Real Federación Española de Automovilismo for 2023. It is holding the first round of its new championship this weekend.

The circuit Algarve near Portimao opened in 2008 and underwent some renovations and resurfacing in 2020. There are two different configurations available for turn one. WEC uses the faster of the two, as F1 did when it held the Portuguese Grand Prix at the venue in 2020 and 2021.

Toyota filled the top two places in the first WEC practice session of the day. The number eight car shared by Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa set the pace.

Video: Car lands in grandstand during WEC support event


#fiawec_official #portimao

♬ original sound – WLS

Image: Petete3mil via Twitter

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

World Endurance Championship

Browse all World Endurance Championship articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

18 comments on “WEC practice resumes after car lands in grandstand during support event”

  1. Holy crap! :o

  2. Yikes!

    I hope there’s a merchandise hut behind that grandstand selling new trousers.

    1. Pete le plumb
      14th April 2023, 17:07

      It’s ok everyone is wearing brown cords now!

      1. Builtinyorkshire
        14th April 2023, 17:49

        If Bernie has anything to do with this, he’d charge the driver for a grandstand ticket…

  3. Holy moly.

  4. Good thing no one was sitting in those seats, or that person (or people) would’ve had to react quickly.

  5. Joking aside this could have been the worst motorsport accident since Le Mans 1955 when 80 people were killed. How did the car make it over the barrier?

    1. As you say joking aside now everyone is ok.

      How did the car make it over the barrier?

      Red Bull? (gives you wings) and equally important, grid penalty?

    2. Graeme Cornelius
      15th April 2023, 4:53

      Happens quite a lot. Porsches fly very well, particularly when spinning backwards. Cleared the gravel trap and was high enough to clear the safety bank. These cars really need to have Nascar type air flaps fitted to the roof so they fall back to the ground in a relatively short distance. The safety barriers do not allow for aeroplanes, which is what 911 shape Porsches become.

    3. Gravel trap. A car hitting a gravel trap at high speed just skips over it, with little to no stopping power. At the worst the car gets lifted up and hits the barriers much higher up than normal. Or the gravel trap catapults the car over the barrier, like with Zhou in Silverstone.

      These two accidents should get the FIA thinking about the viability of gravel traps.

      1. And it might depend on the type of gravel as well, this was at Portimao, where MotoGP riders have bene complaining now for years about the size of the rocks on the gravel which cause injuries that other circuits would be perfectly safe. I don’t know if it played a part in this accident, but I think it could have.

    4. How did the car make it over the barrier?

      Looking at the fence that looks more like a through

      All in all, you do wonder why people made so many dismissive comments about the FIA reprimand of Red Bull staff regarding hanging on (and through) the fence.

      1. Great pick up!
        I hope it’s rigorously enforced.
        (And I hope I give my brain time to engage before I criticize any safety measures.)

  6. Jesus! What steps are they taking to ensure this doesn’t happen again?

    1. Coventry Climax
      15th April 2023, 0:33

      Eh, fix the car’s brakes?

  7. SanFran (@andrewfrancis80)
    15th April 2023, 15:41

    “A video shot by a spectator at the circuit showed the car leaving the circuit at high speed and clearing the barrier”

    I think thats a very charitable description of a video showing some seats shaking around then a stationary car in the grandstand….

Comments are closed.