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Circuit de Spa Francorchamps

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Early in 1920, nothing, it seemed, was to disturb the usual quietness in the peaceful village of Francorchamps, perched on a hill very close to the Moors.

Nothing, except that, on a beautiful summer day, while settled at the Hotel des Bruyeres, two people well-know in the car racing world, the one being Jules de Thier, Manager of the newspaper " La Meuse ", and the other, Henri Langlois Van Ophem, Chairman of the Sports Commission at the RACB (Royal Automobile Club Belgium), had the idea of taking advantage of the triangle drawn by the roads connecting Malmedy, Stavelot and Francorchamps to make a racing track of it.

Since the early 1920s, the Spa-Francorchamps circuit has resounded with a thousand and one fabulous tales of those heroic times in which they drove on earth roads at the wheel of awesome machines.

Conceived by Liège aristocrats within a magic triangle between Francorchamps, Malmédy and Stavelot, its route through the magnificent scenery of the Ardennes has taken on a force of character that has stood the test of time.

In 1939 human imagination gave birth to a unique bend. Raidillon - Eau Rouge was to become famous throughout the world, the cynosure of every driver. As motor sport has evolved, the circuit has always been kept up to FIA requirements in terms of safety over the most prestigious competitions such as Formula 1 and Endurance Sportscar Racing. It has gone back to its roots with the Sports Prototypes. It is looking boldly toward the future and new formulae. At the crossroads of Europe, it is the driving force behind an entire economy and a perfect host site for any promotional activity.

If everything seemed to develop properly, that situation would, however, only last until until 1970, when, for the last time, the Formula I Grand Prix took place along the fourteen-kilometre-long track.

Due to the claims formulated through the sixties, a certain amount of Grand Prix drivers did not want to run in Francorchamps any longer for security reasons, which were quite difficult to solve for the Intercommunale Managers. The tune was however given. Because, even if the other races usually scheduled still took place, it was getting obvious that along its fourteen kilometres, the track had become very dangerous considering the increased performance of the cars and the few possibilities left to adapt the surroundings as it was the case when new tracks were built.

So, after different plans aimed at preserving the main characteristics of the track while eliminating some high risk areas (essentially the part included between Les Combes and Blanchimont), a track was eventually chosen and the works could start. The seven-kilometre-long track was inaugurated in 1979.

More technical, winding and equipped with clearance areas, the new track kept the major part of the element which made it famous while combining improved safety for the pilots and new appeal for the spectators.

Thanks to the new track, the Belgian Formula I Grand Prix would quickly come back to Francorchamps. That race was a major event which would pave the way for many others, with less media coverage, but which contributed to make Francorchamps more dynamics, to diversify its kind of activities and to put it at the forefront of the international stage.


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This travel guide also includes text from Wikitravel articles, all available at WikitravelView full credits

This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at WikipediaView full credits

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