PetrolBlog is in Portugal. Or to be more precise, PetrolBlog is staying in a hotel near Lisbon with Michelin Tyres following an invite to one of their Pilot Performance Days. This means spending most of tomorrow test tyres and driving supercars on the former Portuguese Grand Prix circuit at Estoril. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
As seems to be the norm for PetrolBlog, the day started with a rather rude awakening at 4.30am to set off on the 215 mile trip to Heathrow Airport. Still, it gave me plenty of time to assess the merits of the Peugeot RCZ and I felt rather smug pulling into the airport car park at 8.30am and jumping straight on to a waiting shuttle bus. By my reckoning, three hours and fifteen minutes is pretty damn good.
Following a safe flight with a rather turbulent landing, we were greeted by the Michelin man and taken on a two hour tour of Lisbon. It was all rather pleasant and the city would appear to have a lot to offer for those looking for a cultural and vibrant city break. But for me, the overwhelming impression is that Lisbon could quite easily be the European city of the Shatchback. They are everywhere. The police use them, the taxi firms use them and they seem to be the choice of transport for those looking to impress the ladies.
Take this rather resplendent beige Renault Megane Shatchback taxi. Surely the perfect transport to take you and your lady friend to the Estoril Casino?
Or how about the rozzers’ choice of transport – the mighty Volkswagen Polo Shatchback. I have it on good authority that the low life scum of Lisbon simply do not mess with a plod in a Shatchback.
Not convinced? Then what about this stolen shot of a Peugeot 306 Shatchback? The taxi driver was so proud, he was treating it to a wash and wax in the afternoon sun.
Or finally, there’s a Nissan Almera Shatchback hiding behind the pair of old Mercs. Look closer and you’ll even see a Renault Clio Shatchback.
This really is Shatchback heaven. But perhaps you know better. Do you know of another city that could lay claim to European City of the Shatchback. Send your nominations on the back of a stamped address envelope and I’ll start compiling a list of possible destinations. PetrolBlog WILL embark on a European road trip in search of the Shatchbacks.
Quick tip though, if you happen to find yourself in Lisbon, you must check out the Pastel de Nata. It is essentially Lisbon’s answer to the custard tart and it well and truly rocks. Lisbon has a restaurant devoted to the little delight and the locals literally queue up for their slice of heaven. But as we’re with the Michelin man, we didn’t queue. Nope, no queuing for us.
But tomorrow it is down to the serious business of testing tyres and supercars. We’ve been promised a ‘from track to street’ workshop with tests at the wheel of Porsche and Audi cars. An ‘exclusive performance tuners and carmakers’ workshop with Alpina, Gumpert, Koenigsegg. Plus a ‘tyre impact’ workshop, organised tests of a Porsche 997 fitted with different categories of Michelin Pilot performance tyres. Am I excited? Hell, yeah. Just feast your eyes on the list of cars available to test. It’ll be like the Goodwood Festival of Speed all over again, but this time, we’ll be doing the driving.
|AC SCHNITZER||BMW S6 Cabriolet|
|ALPINA||B5 Bi Turbo|
|GIACUZZO||Renault Megane Sport|
|MANTHEY||Porsche 24 Nurburgring|
|MTM||AUDI R8 GT MTM|
|MTM||AUDI TTRS MTM|
|MTM||AUDI R8 Spyker MTM|
|PORSCHE||911 Carrera 4S|
|PORSCHE||997 Carrera 2S|
Will provide a full report after the event. If I can tear myself away from Shatchback heaven.