Journal: This Is Belgium's Epic Spa-Francorchamps, 61 Years Ago

This Is Belgium’s Epic Spa-Francorchamps, 61 Years Ago

By Michael Banovsky
August 26, 2016

This is one for the books. Or, rather, one for your YouTube favorites—it’s a documentary film produced by Shell in 1955, the company rightfully deciding that highlighting the Belgian Grand Prix would make a good movie. It does, without question.

If you’ve been to the modern, current Spa-Francorchamps, little of this film will look very familiar, save Eau Rouge and other corners that haven’t been substantially altered. In 1955, the track measured a mammoth 8.7 miles (~14 km), with 21 turns, and the fastest-ever laps in this configuration set in the early ’70s were roughly at 3 minutes, 15 seconds; even in the ’50s the four-plus-minute Grand Prix cars were still averaging more than 120 mph. Yow.

You could Google who wins the race, but where’s the fun in that?

Thumbnail image via

Join the Conversation
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
A Dias
A Dias
7 years ago

Beautiful! Much nicer than today’s F1 circus.

Dennis White
Dennis White
7 years ago

At Spa today and a different world and a crush of humanity. Waxed nostalgic for 55 years ago when my crazy Belgian cousin raced me around an incredible serene forest circuit in his TR3, the year my local childhood hero Phil Hill won the race.

7 years ago

Classic F1 on real roads, no armco, with real superhuman drivers. Can you imagine driving current modern F1 cars on real streets to their off track garage facilities? Current F1 is so boring in comparison to the earlier classic F1 eras in the fifties through seventies. Hamilton is sadly a petulant spoiled child compared to Fangio and Moss. Thanks for a great film. Cheers.

Petrolicious Newsletter