Support Races Might Be Better Than The Main Event At Spa-Francorchamps
Photography by Jayson Fong
Previously, I have noted that the Spa Six Hours is the ideal race weekend for enthusiasts who are interested in nothing more than the racing. For those who are still not convinced—and happen to be looking for an event to visit next year with more than just iconic sports cars racing flat-out into the night—a look at the some of the support races during this year’s event should have you booking a flight into BRU.
If you are unfamiliar with the Under 2-Litre Touring Car Championship, its round at Spa is perhaps one of the very best places to watch the cars sliding from side to side and bumper to bumper.
Sharing the circuit with other large-engined touring cars, playful Lotus Cortinas, BMW 2002s, Alfa Romeo GTAs and Mini Coopers were locked in one of the most fiercely competitive historic championships in existence with the top 10 often only separated by a matter of milliseconds during qualifying. During race day, they are often only separated by millimetres of paint and, at times, not at all!
Meanwhile, some of the most iconic sports cars from both the 1950s and ’70s were attracted to the Ardennes Forest. From the elegance of Jaguar D-Types and Lister Knobblys to the thunder of Lola T70s, Chevron B8s, Porsche 911s, an eye-catching De Tomaso Pantera, and a lone Porsche 917K liveried in the Le Mans-winning colours of 1970, spectators were given a treat both trackside and in pitlane.
That said, the most beautiful historic Formula 1 cars to have ever taken to this track is the one support race that closely matches the Six Hours for excitement.
Making their way down the Kemmel straight at full speed as a pack, at times powersliding through Les Combes, they make for an intimidating sight as the sounds of F1 echo through the valley. Highlights of the weekend included an ex-Jackie Stewart Tyrrell 001 driven by Nick Padmore, who scored a championship victory with a perfect score this season: 12 wins from 12 starts.
Far from just your ordinary mid-season support races, the championships raced at Spa alongside the Six Hours are all at their closing stages of the season.
With points still on the line to decide the year’s champions, you would be unlucky not to witness any action. If you haven’t marked it in your calendar yet, now is the time: the 25th Anniversary of the event is being celebrated in 2017, and we’ll be there to toast it.