SpaSpa

Specs:
Circuit direction:
Clockwise
Circuit length:
7.004 km.
Number of turns:
20

The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is a motor-racing circuit located in Stavelot, Belgium. It is also referred to as Spa and is the venue of the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix.

Spa

The Rollercoaster of the Ardennes

Spa-Francorchamps is one of the classic race circuits beloved by drivers and spectators alike, where today the true essence of speed can be explored in spectacular style on a safe and modern facility. However, it hasn't always been like this; in its original incarnation, Spa was a circuit truly to be feared as it posed dangers almost like no other. Fast straights, sweeping corners and unpredictable weather could combine to create a lethal combination – and too often did.

The Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps has seen all of the greatest drivers in its long history. Next to the Annual F1 Grand Prix, it is host to the World Endurance Championship, FIA World Rallycross Championship, the Spa 24 Hours and of course the Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS and TCR SPA 500.

Wall of Fame

TCR SPA 500 2019
Red Camel-Jordans.nl - Cupra TCR DSG - Coronel, Oriola, Breukers, Breukers - 454 laps
Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS 2019
Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha - Ferrari 488 GT3 - Písařík, Král, Malucelli - 250 laps
Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS 2018
Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha - Ferrari 488 GT3 - Písařík, Král, Malucelli - 237 laps
Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS 2017 (TCE)
LMS Racing powered by Bas Koeten - Seat Leon TCR V2 DSG - Laaksonen, Kangas, Burri - 215 laps
Hankook 12H SPA FRANCORCHAMPS 2017 (Proto)
Simpson Motorsport - Ginetta G58 - Breukers, Laskaratos, Tuck - 100 laps (R1), 111 laps (R2)

Motor racing had become increasingly popular in Belgium after the First World War and the Ardennes region hosted a number of races before the spotlight fell on the roads around the town of Spa-Francorchamps – until then more famous for its healing waters. The combination of long straights and rolling countryside seemed perfect for the new sport, offering the chance to attain high speeds. Attempts were made to organise the first race in 1921, but these foundered when there was only one entered car.

Eventually, the track was inaugurated by the motorcyclists, with the cars following in 1922. Two years later came the first running of the famous 24 Hours of Francorchamps, only one year after Le Mans, while the first real big international race for single-seaters, the European Grand Prix, was run in 1925. Seven cars took part in this event with victory falling to Antonio Ascari and Alfa Romeo.

Information

Location:
Route du Circuit 55, 4970 Francorchamps, Belgium
Time Zone:
CEST (UTC+2)
FIA Grade:
1
Lap record:
1:46,286 by Valteri Bottas (F1), 2018 (current layout)

The first course saw the cars head down the hill from La Source to a left-hand band leading to a hairpin (named after a former customs post which had occupied the site until 1920), before the track rose to Raidillon and headed out on fast, flowing roads to Malmedy, onto Stavelot before sweeping back to Francorchamps in a roughly triangular course.

Over the years there were relatively few modifications to the circuit; a chicane at Malmedy was bypassed in 1930, then reused again four years later before being discarded once more in 1939. It was also in this year that the circuit's signature corner sequences was born when a connecting road, bypassing the Virage de Ancienne Douane, was constructed. The sweeping uphill left-right-left combination (known popularly, but incorrectly, as Eau Rouge; this is actually the first corner at the bottom of the hill, rather than the one at the top, which is Raidillon), became an instant classic.

Over the years, the Spa course has been modified several times. The track was originally 15 kilometres (9 mi) long, but after World War II, the track underwent some changes. In 1930, the chicane at Malmedy was eliminated and bypassed, making the course even faster, but the chicane was re-installed in 1935, albeit slightly different. In 1939, "Virage de l'Ancienne Douane" was eliminated and cut short, thus giving birth to the Eau Rouge/Raidillon uphill sweeping corner. In 1947, the chicane at Malmedy was again eliminated and bypassed, and was made part of the Masta Straight. The slight right-hander that was originally Holowell (the corner before Stavelot after the second Masta Straight) was eliminated. And finally, instead of going through a slight left-hander that went into the town of Stavelot and a sharp right-hander at a road junction in Stavelot, a shortcut was built that became a very fast, very wide right-handed turn that bypassed Stavelot. All these changes made the final configuration of the old Spa circuit 14 km (9 mi) long, and also made Spa the fastest open road circuit in the world. In the final years of the old circuit, drivers could average 150 mph (241 km/h). The biggest change, however, saw the circuit being shortened from 14 km (9 mi) to 7 km (4 mi) in 1979. The start/finish line, which was originally on the downhill straight before Eau Rouge, was moved to the straight before the La Source hairpin in 1981. Like its predecessor, the new layout is still a fast and hilly route through the Ardennes where speeds in excess of 330 km/h (205 mph) can be reached. Since its inception, the place has been famous for its unpredictable weather, where drivers are confronted with one part of the course being clear and bright while another stretch is rainy and slippery.

The circuit probably demonstrates the importance of driver skill more than any other in the world. This is largely due to the Eau Rouge and Blanchimont corners, both which need to be taken flat out to achieve a fast run onto the straights after them, which aids a driver in both a fast lap and in overtaking.

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