Spa-Francorchamps

13 Apr

Spa is one of the most iconic F1 tracks in the world with it being surrounded by forests. The 7km track with 19 corners has been used for motorsport since 1947 (although the track layout has changed dramatically in that time) and is the home to one of the most challenging and famous corners in the world with turns 3,4,5 section of Eau Rouge and Raidillon where the track rises 24 metres and would you believe it Spa use to be directly on the Belgium-Germany border, and I mean directly as the border ran along the stream which divides the track in two leaving Eau Rouge on one side and the pit complex on the other.

During the Easter Holidays my family and I went to Spa for a day (11th April 2012) and it was an amazing experience. While driving towards the track you can easily be taken in by the tranquility and quietness of the area surrounding the circuit and with the first view of the track came the feeling that this is nature and man working together with amazing results. But it doesn’t only just combine nature and man the paddock for the track features buildings built both in the modern themes and also to look like old buildings.

The mix of new (pit building in the background) and old (the public medical facility in the foreground)

All it would require to get onto the track is to walk through the fence and then walk across the tarmac.

On the day we visited Spa there was a testing day for formula 3 and we saw the drivers of the Lotus F3 team: Kimiya Sato, Artem Markelov, Sheban Siddiqi and Jimmy Eriksson. Due to the event being a public event access to the park was open and free even (although in some cases it was too open and twice we saw ways to get on to the track without having to climb over fences or open gates).

Before the tour we had time to explore the paddock which meant we could go to all the major points of interest, the old pits, the pits that are used for GP2 events and to get a look at the main building.

The old pits.

The view of Eau Rouge from The Old Pits

The tour was a must (details are on the Spa website) and took us to the areas that require keys to enter like one of the teams garages, the podium, the press rooms  (the one where the press spend their time and also the one where the interviews happen) and the commentary boxes. Not only that but also the tour guide was an amazingly knowledgeable person who had many anecdotes and jokes about all the areas. Our tour guide was called Gaetan Plein who is someone who you can’t help but admire and his photo is just below this. Gaetan has his own website ( http://www.animationtouristique.com/ ).

I promised the guide I’d put his photo on the blog

Due to the sheer number of photos I can’t put them all on the blog here so I’ll try and set up a flickr account today to put the rest of the photos on.

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