The history of the legendary Spa-Francorchamps race track begins at the end of the First World War. Then, Jules de Thier, owner of the La Meuse newspaper, which appears in Liege, comes up with the idea of creating a racetrack in this place. The perfect race track that still exists today is created by joining the three city roads 32,33 and 440, linking Spa-Francorchamps with Malmédy and Stavelot.
Originally the track was over 15 kilometers long. Already in 1922 a motorcyclists race was held here, two years later the 24-hour race was inaugurated. However, what invariably attracts the largest crowds of fans is the Formula 1 race that has been held here for years. Over the years, the track has been rebuilt many times. In 1939, a spectacular steep curve was built, which is the showpiece of the Spa track. The difference in elevation here is as much as 17%. This place was called Raidillon, but in the minds of the fans the name Eau Rouge was adopted. After this change, Spa-Francorchamps became the fastest racetrack in Europe, next to Monza.
The technical development of cars competing on the track, and above all the increase in speed they achieved, did not go hand in hand with the improvement of safety, which was practically impossible to provide on such a constructed route, sometimes running very close to the buildings. Two British drivers died in the 1960 race: Chris Bristow and Alan Stacey. In 1970, Formula 1 races on this track were stopped until 1983. At that time, the races for the Belgian Grand Prix were held at the tracks in Nivelles and Zolder.
After all the reconstructions aimed at increasing the level of safety, this one of the fastest and most beautiful racetracks in Europe finally reached 7004 meters in length. It is here, in 1973, on the old track, that French driver Henri Pescarolo, with a result of 262.461 km/h, set a record for the average lap speed, still unbeaten today. The legendary Michael Schumacher achieved the most victories in the race for the Belgian Grand Prix, who won here six times. Robert Kubica also raced at Spa-Francorchamps, years ago in Formula 1, then successfully in the Endurance series in the Renault Sport Trophy, where he won third place. After a spectacular return to F1 following a long hiatus caused by a nightmare accident during an episode of the rally in Italy, Robert returned to Spa-Francorchamps. And in year 2021 he will be racing the prototype of the LMP2 here, in the European Le Mans series.
The track calendar is extremely tight. Races of various series are held here, from the Endurance World Championship, through the 6-hour race, to what kindles the fans the most, the Belgian Grand Prix in Formula 1. There are also many minor races taking place on this track. Interestingly, amateurs can also test their abilities here. Several times a year, anyone can apply for participation in the open day. Of course, this involves high costs, but you can make your dream come true and drive your own car on this legendary track. There are also tours of the track several times a year. The entire guided tour takes approximately 1,5 hours.
CIR CUIT DE SPA FRANCORCHAMPS
Route du Circuit 55, 4970 Stavelot, Belgium