The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is the venue of the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix, and of the Spa 24 Hours and 1000 km Spa endurance races. It is also home to the all Volkswagen club event, 25 Hours of Spa, run by the Uniroyal Fun Cup. It is one of the most challenging race tracks in the World, mainly due to its fast, hilly and twisty nature. Spa is a favourite circuit of many racing drivers and fans.
Designed in 1920 by Jules de Their and Henri Langlois Van Ophem, the original triangle-shaped course used public roads between the Belgian towns of Spa, Malmedy, and Stavelot. The track was intended to have hosted its inaugural race in August 1921, however this event had to be cancelled as there was only one entrant. The first car race was held at the circuit in 1922, and two years later saw the first running of the now famous 24 Hours of Francorchamps race. The circuit was first used for Grand Prix racing in 1925.
The Blanchimont turn is one of the most fearsome turns in Formula One. This high-speed left-hand turn, present in both the old 14 km circuit and the new, shorter, 7 km track, is the final sweeping corner of the track before the Bus Stop chicane, which leads to the pit straight. This turn and the approach to it have caused serious accidents over time, the most recent being in 2001, when Luciano Burti lost the front wing of his Prost due to a clash with Eddie Irvine's Jaguar, losing front downforce and steering, leaving the track at 185 mph (298 km/h) and piling into the tyre wall, the impact knocking him out and burying the car into a mound of tyres.
In Popular Culture:
As the long-time home of the Belgian Grand Prix and its location within the Ardennes forests it has been a popular backdrop for all kinds of fictional media, from appearances in comics and mutiple motion pictures, to regular appearances in dozens of video games across almost all formats going back into the 1980s.
Modern Circuit (2007–present)
- Major events: FIA Formula One
- Belgian Grand Prix
- Spa 24 Hours,
- Spa 1000km, DTM
Modern Circuit (2004-2006)
- Length: 7.004 km (4.352 mi)
- Turns: 20
- Lap record: 1:47.263 (Germany Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 2009)
Modern Circuit (1994)
- Length: 6.976 km (4.335 mi)
- Turns: 19
- Lap record: 1:45.108 (Finland Kimi Räikkönen, McLaren, 2004)
Modern Circuit (1981-1993, 1995-2003)
- Length: 7.001 km (4.350 mi)
- Turns: 19
- Lap record: 1:57.117 (United Kingdom Damon Hill, Williams, 1994)
Modern Circuit (1979-1980)
- Length: 6.968 km (4.330 mi)
- Turns: 19
- Lap record: 1:47.176 (Germany Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 2002)
Old Circuit (1947–1978)
- Length: 6.947 km (4.317 mi)
- Turns: 17
- Length: 14.1 km (8.761 mi)
- Turns: 21
- Lap record: 3:13.4 (France Henri Pescarolo, Matra, 1973 WSC)