An Unforgettable Weekend At The Spa Summer Classic Leave a comment

Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is one of my absolute favorite racetracks. In fact, I’d even go so far to say that I like it a tiny bit more than the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

While the ‘Ring is great and all, given its sheer size it’s not easy to get around the track on foot as a spectator or a photographer. Spa, being 7 kilometers long, is not by any means short, but you’re still able to comfortably make your way around the track a few times in a day and see all the great viewing spots it has to offer.

Combine that with a bunch of race cars from the 1960s to 2000s going all-out and you’ve got the recipe for a great weekend. And that’s exactly what the 2022 Spa Summer Classic was – an amazing weekend of classic racing on this legendary automotive rollercoaster in Belgium’s Ardennes region.


Spa-Francorchamps has recently undergone some big changes in order to modernize the track and bring it up to FIA/FIM spec for endurance motorcycle racing. What this boils down to is expanded run-off areas and the installation of gravel traps. There have also been some changes made to the track’s infrastructure, the most obvious being the removal of the original covered grandstand along the old start/finish straight. That’s now been replaced with a more modern grandstand closer to La Source, Spa-Francorchamps’ first corner.


While I quietly mourn the loss of the old grandstand, which provided incredible, ear-shattering acoustics, there’s an even bigger change that I am very excited about. The newly-built grandstand next to the Raidillon, just above Eau Rouge, is hard to miss. This is a great addition, as it provides a truly spectacular view of the cars on this iconic section of the circuit.


It’s where I found myself on Saturday morning of the Spa Summer Classic.


Having made the hour-long drive from home to the racetrack, I trekked by foot towards the new grandstand. One of the best things about Spa is the accessibility you have for photo-taking with plenty of options at every corner, so I grabbed shots wherever I could as I slowly made my way around the track.


One of my favorite spots is the Bruxelles bend, where you can catch the cars braking into the corner, and then as they navigate the almost-180-degree bend, it feels like they are swinging around you as their anchor point.


Some of the cars – and especially the E30 M3s – seemed to lift their inner front tire at this corner during braking, which made the wheel lock up in the air for a split-second. It’s a bit surreal when there’s a car blasting past you with a front wheel completely still.

It’s also a spot where you can catch some great braking duels on corner approach. And let me tell you, although these cars are old, their drivers don’t hold back. It almost brought tears of joy to my eyes to see some of my hero cars, including a Nissan Primera Super Tourer and a DTM Mercedes-Benz 2.5-16 Evo 2 battling it out.


Speaking of the Primera, I had a chance to check it out briefly in the paddock and I was absolutely in awe. It’s such a stunning machine, and it looked even cooler with some battle scars from the race.


Another moment that nearly made me cry was finally seeing a Ford Capri RS in its ultimate form – the 1974 spec – on track during the Belcar Historic Cup races. The wide arches, the aggressive front spoiler and rear duck bill, along with the screaming sound of its highly-strung V6 – what a treat.

Some incredibly close racing happened when the Roadster Pro Cup took to the track. This is a field made up entirely of Lotus Super 7s and Mazda MX-5s, and some of these cars seemed glued to each other as they zipped through the corners as a pack.


Saturday culminated in the Spa 3 Hours race – 180-minutes of non-stop racing into the sunset. My favourite entry was this Ferrari 308, not something you see on the track often.


After the race ended I headed back home, only to do the same thing all over again the next day. It was a good thing I returned to Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday too, otherwise I wouldn’t have seen one of my ultimate hero cars absolutely tearing up the track. As someone who grew up in the ’90s and ’00s, I am of course talking about the Dodge Viper.


The Viper missed the first two Sunday races of the NRCC & CSCC Sports & Slicks category, but its performance in race three more than made up for it. Although it started in 3rd place, the Dodge had fallen back to 35th by the second lap, so what followed was an unbelievable mad dash to make up positions. With each lap the Viper quickly gained back ground, even achieving the fastest lap of the race with a 2:28.068, four seconds faster than any other car. By the end of the race it was back in second position, sitting just behind a dominating Mosler MT900R.


During the Historic Monoposto race it started raining, which resulted in quite a few pace car-led laps. The rain didn’t really let up until halfway through the next race, which was the NK GT & TC category.

Seeing a BMW 3.0 CSL in full M livery charging through the water spray is a memory I’ll cherish for a long time.


I can’t wait for my next chance to hunt some speed at Spa again. I feel right at home there, as I’m sure every Speedhunters reader would too.

Bastien Bochmann
Instagram: bastienbochmann

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