The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is the venue of the F1 Belgium Grand Prix and the Spa 24 hours endurance race. It is also home to the 25 Hours of Spa event. It is considered to be one of the most challenging circuits in the world, mainly due to its fast, hilly and twisty nature. Spa is a favourite circuit of many racing drivers and fans.
Over the years, Spa has been modified several times. The biggest change saw the circuit being shortened from 14 km (8.7 miles) to 7 km (4.35 miles) in 1979. Like its predecessor the new layout still is a fast and hilly route through the Ardennes where speeds in excess of 330 km/h (205 mph) can be reached. Since inception, the place has been famous for its unpredictable weather. Frequently drivers are confronted with one part of the course being clear and bright while another stretch is rainy and slippery.
On the Eau Rouge / Raidillon combination, Fernado Alonso (Former F1 champion) said: “You come into the corner downhill, have a sudden change of direction]at the bottom and then go very steep uphill. From the cockpit, you cannot see the exit and as you come over the crest, you don't know where you will land. It is a crucial corner for the timed lap, and also in the race, because you have a long uphill straight afterwards where you can lose a lot of time if you make a mistake. But it is also an important corner for the driver's feeling. It makes a special impression every lap, because you also have a compression in your body as you go through the bottom of the corner. It is very strange - but good fun as well."
And Michael Schumacher has this to say:
" Negotiating the extraordinary slope of the Eau Rouge is an indescribable sensation. I think it’s the best track. The strategies of the race have to be planned in very great detail." L'humanité
3 - 4 Spa Summer Classic
10 - 11 25 Heures VW Fun Cup
17 - 18 Rencontres Peugeot Sport
24 - 25 Bug Show
31 - 1 Aug 24 Hours of Spa
14 - 15 6 Hours of Spa (moto)
27 - 28 - 29 BELGIAN GRAND PRIX
11 - 12 Porsche Sport Cup
18 - 19 Francorchampagne
25 - 26 Spa Six Hour (classic)
2 - 3 Racing Festival
16 - 17 24H24' 2cv
World's greatest circuit?
Posted by: Sam Collins
Spa is one of motor racing's greatest circuits, situated deep in the woods of the Belgian Ardennes it is loved by drivers and fans alike. Half public road and half permanent race circuit, the track is one of the biggest challenges a driver can face. It is also one of the oldest circuits in the world, dating back to the 1920s and significant portions of the course have not changed including the one corner that everyone talks about - Eau Rouge. This corner has been the site of some of the most spectacular driving in the history of motor racing, and some of the biggest crashes. When you stand in the spectator area at the bottom of the hill leading into Eau Rouge you are confronted with what appears to be a sheer wall of asphalt, and the view of the corner from the Gold 2 (Radillion) grandstand is unrivalled in motor racing.
The original circuit was much longer sweeping its way through the Belgian countryside passing through locations such as Stavelot, where there is now a small museum about the trackâ€™s history with some fabulous cars on display. History buffs are well catered for as this area was the front line of the 1944 Battle of the Bulge. The crossroads town of Bastogne made famous in the TV series Band of Brothers is only a short drive away.
For reasons of safety the track was shortened in the 1970s (eliminating high risk areas between Les Combes and Blanchimont) but even in its current format it remains the longest track on the Formula One calendar.
Watching a motor race at Spa is a must, the highly prized (and expensive) Gold grandstand seats afford a reasonably good view - though the pits, grandstand and hospitality units are not the best place to watch the action. Much better value are the bronze general admission tickets that provide access to some of the best viewing in motor racing if you are prepared to walk a little distance. The public area around La Source hairpin is a great place to pick up merchandise, and in the village of Francorchamps there is a great little model shop, which is a must-do visit.
A lot of people attending the race stay in Brussels, which is around an hourâ€™s drive away depending on the traffic. It offers great hotels and bars, which the area around the track certainly lacks.
Travelling to Spa is fairly easy, with Eurostar and flights to Brussels where you can pick up a hire car and drive to the track â€“ but probably a better option is to join one of the many organised coach tours out to the track. If you are thinking of driving yourself a little insider tip is to fly to Frankfurt (Hahn) Airport and rent a car â€“ the journey is about 150km but it takes you through some stunning scenery. You can also drop in at the Nurburgring for a quick lap!
Anyone visiting Spa should be aware that the weather is very changeable and it almost always rains at some point during the race weekend.