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The [hopefully] definitive Spa-Francorchamps circuit thread


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#51 alansart

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 11:52

Check out this totally awesome complete (!) onboard lap of Spa-Francorchamps in 1962:

http://blog.sonuma.b...-lucien-bianchi


That's one impressive Track Day :)


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#52 Stephen W

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 12:01

That's one impressive Track Day :)


The two Yank tanks look out of place!

#53 LittleChris

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 22:15

Check out this totally awesome complete (!) onboard lap of Spa-Francorchamps in 1962:

http://blog.sonuma.b...-lucien-bianchi


Not quite complete as far as I can see Rob. Edited out are the left / right immediately after Haut de la Cote/Combes on the run down to Burnenville and also the 2nd left hander after Stavelot, but apart from that it looks complete.. Wonderful record of the circuit and very good quality.

#54 LittleChris

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 00:01

Some nice pictures, particularly the old postcards on page 4 of this Autodiva thread

http://www.autodiva....c.php?f=2&t=536


#55 Rob Semmeling

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 10:26

Chris, you're right, a few seconds were lost in editing, but man what great footage!

How I would love to see an onboard lap of a 1970s prototype going round in anger...

#56 LittleChris

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 20:05

How I would love to see an onboard lap of a 1970s prototype going round in anger...


Ideally Henri Pescarolo's Matra in the 1973 1000kms or Jacky Ickx's Ferrari in practice for that race :clap:


#57 wolf sun

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 10:07

Check out this totally awesome complete (!) onboard lap of Spa-Francorchamps in 1962:

http://blog.sonuma.b...-lucien-bianchi


What a brilliant find! This finally sheds some light on the Kemmel/Les Combes mystery...

...sadly the clip has been removed. :|

#58 LittleChris

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 22:36

What a brilliant find! This finally sheds some light on the Kemmel/Les Combes mystery...

...sadly the clip has been removed. :|



Go to You Tube and type

Bianchi Spa

:wave:

#59 john winfield

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 10:29

Go to You Tube and type

Bianchi Spa

:wave:


Thanks, Chris; yes, the clip is still there. Wonderful, terrifying and, as Bianchi says at the end, no room for mistakes! And what a shock for that VW Beetle driver......


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#60 David Shaw

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 00:05

The two Yank tanks look out of place!


I reckon they be ambulances.


#61 Barry Boor

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 10:18

So now we know that Eau Rouge to Haut de la Cote definitely was a series of gentle curves but when did they straighten it?

#62 Rob Semmeling

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 10:21

When the new circuit was built in 1978.

#63 Barry Boor

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 10:35

Really?

#64 Rob Semmeling

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 11:15

Barry, we already talked about it awhile ago on page three of this thread.

#65 Barry Boor

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 16:07

Er, this is, at present, a two page thread. :confused:

#66 Rob Semmeling

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 16:13

It's four pages for me, maybe you have different settings. The relevants postings are #40 through #46.

http://forums.autosp...w...94324&st=40

#67 Rob Semmeling

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 16:15

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#68 Barry Boor

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 16:22

Ah, I see, thanks Rob.

#69 Tim Murray

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 16:31

The forum default setting is 40 posts per page. I'd guess this setting is what most of us stick with, there being no good reason to change it (that I can think of, anyway).

#70 2F-001

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 16:35

So now we know that Eau Rouge to Haut de la Cote definitely was a series of gentle curves but when did they straighten it?

I've been convinced of this for a long time, but found it hard to "prove", although that film clip seemed to support the notion.
I have scaled (and printed onto large-format tracing paper) a 1972-issue 1:10,000 land survey map (provided by a TNFer - I think it was Pedro917, can't recall for the moment) and overlaid it on an equivalent recent version: all the contours, landmarks and minor features match up precisely, so I think it's reasonable to presume that any major variations are genuine.
The pre-new circuit line of the 'Kemmel straight' is shown, as you say, as a further series of gentle sweeps after the current right-hand one over the top of Raidillon, and up to the last last gentle left before Haut de la Cote. These more-or-less follow the line of earthwork and greenery still evident (until very recently at least) alongside the current straight.
The road appears to have used a little of the ground on both sides of the current track. The location of the swerve to the 'inside' coincides with a curve in the edge of the wooded area which was visible on aerial photographs and postcard pics of the 'new' circuit.
I've yet to see any pictures of the earthwork and realignment actually being carried out though...

#71 LittleChris

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 22:14

It's a long time ago, but I seem to remember that Motoring News had an article including a map and photos showing how the new circuit differed from the old probably late 78 / early 79, so if anyone has a set of MN's from that time, perhaps they could check ?

#72 2F-001

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 22:39

That's interesting, Chris. I don't remember the article, but I was probably less interested in the detail then having not visited or driven Spa back then.
My Dad still has all our old MNs, I think; that looks like a task for me next time I visit!

Depending on what level of detail one considers, I reckon the only the stretch of track that remains essentially unaltered is the bit from after the new track rejoins the old to what was the approach to the bus stop.


#73 wolf sun

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 21:55

Depending on what level of detail one considers, I reckon the only the stretch of track that remains essentially unaltered is the bit from after the new track rejoins the old to what was the approach to the bus stop.


Not too sure about that...I am under the impression that the track was moved a bit to the left after the first Blanchimont lefthander when the 'new' Bus Stop was being built.

#74 LittleChris

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 23:16

I agree Wolfgang. To meet F1 safety standards there had to be a large run off created at Blanchimont ( Remember how far Burti went before hitting the tyres after the incident with Irvine ) where originally there was a drop on the right hand side. It must have been much easier / cheaper to cut into the hillside on the left and use the old track area as run off rather than create new level land to the right for the run off.



#75 nmansellfan

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 13:21

It does look that way, on the 1962 onboard video and 'In Car 956' from 1983 the steep drop off right starts only a few feet from the right hand edge of the track, on onboard videos from at least 2001 onwards there is much more runoff before the drop. On Google earth you can see where the old Blanchimont was before realignment to the left. So the question is, when exactly was it realigned? And what does this leave as 'unaltered' circuit on the present configuration? If any... :)

#76 wolf sun

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 21:31

Hmm, if it had been realigned in 2001 or before, I am quite sure that it was changed again when the current Bus-Stop (or rather, what used to be Bus-Stop), and La Source modifications took place...when was that, 2007, iirc.

Unaltered circuit? Funnily enough, it seems that the part of the circuit that's least been tampered with is the one that was built in '78...

#77 LittleChris

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 22:20

I reckon the right handed Kemmel kink immediately after the Raidillon is pretty much the only part of the circuit that has never been altered / realigned since 1925

#78 wolf sun

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 08:53

I think you're right, Chris - that was the one that came to my mind, too.

#79 cheapracer

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 10:29

http://maps.google.c...&....173035&t=k


Good point of reference, the wobble can be seen here, too.


I believe they used that hairpin after turning left at the start of Eau Rouge then rejoining again with Raidillion that can be seen on this map, I used to have old pictures showing them turning hard left there (start of Eau Rouge).


The map also shows the modernised version of the absurdly tight old Stavelot hairpin at the intersection ('Y' junction in fact), not the curve inside of the intersection which came later.

Edited by cheapracer, 04 November 2010 - 10:43.


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#80 SEdward

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 14:15

A fantastic video that will surely close the many discussions about the shape of the track.

French speakers will appreciate Lucien's lovely Belgian accent. The destiny of the two brothers was quite quirky: Lucien won Le Mans in 1968, the year when his brother's career was ended by a serious accident in practice. And then Lucien himself perished the following year when his Alfa left the road on the Mulsanne Straight in testing.

Edward

#81 wolf sun

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 10:54

Well, it helps, but it's not the final answer to all the questions re the circuit as it was. ;-)

I'd still love to see an aerial shot of the section between Raidillon and Les Combes before the realignment. Also, the first part of Masta straight still poses a few questions, i.e. I'm still not sure whether the piece of (today's) one way road shortly after(or rather, before) the remnants of Malmédy chicane was actually part of the original layout...I do happen to think so, but there's still some doubt, even after comparing period photographs with some I took in the last couple of years.

Another mystery - where was this picture taken? Could this be the curvy section before Les Combes?
http://www.jacky-ick..._02_spa_145.jpg
(Picture from jacky-ickx-fan.net, Copyright unknown)

And finally, I've always believed the old circuit was last used in 1978. However, according to Delsaux's "1000 Kilomètres(...)" the one-off 'Trophée de Francorchamps' took place in May 1979, before the new circuit was first used for the bike GP in July. (Slightly odd, that - the winner's average is given as around 140 km/h, which would have been rather slow, unless it rained). Now, as construction of the new sections had already begun in '78, I suppose by May '79 Kemmel would already have been straightened (was it even called Kemmel before it became a straight?), especially with an important bike event to be held two months later. In conclusion, if Delsaux is right there might have been a race on the old circuit with the section between Raidillon and Les Combes as it is today...does anybody know more?





#82 Rob Semmeling

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 11:49

Here's something that may be of interest. First two maps from 1977 that show an early design of the new circuit, but also how the old, curved section at Kemmel compared to the new, straight version:

Posted Image

Posted Image

This is a 1979 overview of what changes were made:

Posted Image

And finally a 1979 photo of the new straight Kemmel:

Posted Image

Sorry about the poor quality.

The Trophée de Francorchamps was held on the new circuit on 2 September 1979.

#83 chdphd

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 11:53

http://www.jacky-ick..._02_spa_145.jpg

That direct link doesn't work. Here's a link to the gallery:

http://www.jacky-ick...l...dx=344&id=3

#84 wolf sun

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 09:38

Brilliant Rob, thank you! (At this point I think I owe you a pint ;) ) I suppose these are from the Museum archive you mentioned a while ago?

I think I'm close to solving the Kemmel mystery now, although it might take another track visit next year... ;)

The maps are extremely helpful, especially for the fact that they clearly show the original layout deviating to the left of today's Kemmel straight, something I did not take into account before. I think though, that they are not 100% correct (possibly due to the fact that they are from '77, and planning of the new layout was still subject to change at that stage). The clue lies in the picture of the newly-built straight, which shows a section of guardrail to the left of the track (looking in the opposite direction).

Comparing these photographs (I'm quite sure that this is the same spot, also in line with the Lucien Bianchi onboard lap)...

Posted Image


Posted Image


Posted Image
(Picture from jacky-ickx-fan.net, Copyright unknown)

...and taking into account the planning maps, I've come to this conclusion (only a rough sketch, but you get the point) - the new Kemmel actually crosses the old trace:

Posted Image


So much for now... :wave:

PS - Interesting to see that in the 1979 overview the Blanchimont section is also marked out as being newly-constructed.

PPS - The date mix-up re the Trophée de Francorchamps is quite some error in the Delsaux book, then. :well:





#85 Rob Semmeling

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 11:26

Well I don't have Delsaux's 1000 km book, but it's likely that the Trophée de Francorchamps was originally scheduled for May, but then postponed until September as the new circuit wasn't ready yet.

I don't think there is any mystery surrounding the old, wiggly Kemmel section anymore. It's well documented now that the straight used to be curved, and those maps are clear enough for me. But if you want more detail, here you go...

Posted Image

This is a topographical map from 1961.

But when it comes to mysteries at Spa-Francorchamps, here's one: why on earth did the 24-hour race for 2CVs in 1985 use a circuit layout that took competitors from Les Combes to Stavelot, and then back again on a service road behind the guard rails?



#86 john winfield

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 11:43

Wolfgang,
When I was browsing through the Jacky Ickx site photos, I noticed the shot that you have posted of the Gulf and Matra leading three other cars through the wiggly section. Do you feel that is definitely the 'old' winding section between Eau Rouge and Les Combes, or is it over on the other side of the track at Carrieres, between Stavelot and Blanchimont? I don't have any other Carrieres photos to hand but I remember seeing a good shot (in Autocourse I think) of the two F1 Matras screaming through there in 1970. Imagine the noise!
Anyway, I'm probably wrong but what do you think?

#87 wolf sun

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 11:52

Well I don't have Delsaux's 1000 km book, but it's likely that the Trophée de Francorchamps was originally scheduled for May, but then postponed until September as the new circuit wasn't ready yet.

I don't think there is any mystery surrounding the old, wiggly Kemmel section anymore. It's well documented now that the straight used to be curved, and those maps are clear enough for me. But if you want more detail, here you go...


True, but the mystery for me was not whether the old layout was wiggly or not, but rather how the wiggles related to the new Kemmel. All very wiggly and wobbly... :wave:

I've seen the 2CV thing before...very odd, that!

#88 wolf sun

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 12:03

Wolfgang,
When I was browsing through the Jacky Ickx site photos, I noticed the shot that you have posted of the Gulf and Matra leading three other cars through the wiggly section. Do you feel that is definitely the 'old' winding section between Eau Rouge and Les Combes, or is it over on the other side of the track at Carrieres, between Stavelot and Blanchimont? I don't have any other Carrieres photos to hand but I remember seeing a good shot (in Autocourse I think) of the two F1 Matras screaming through there in 1970. Imagine the noise!
Anyway, I'm probably wrong but what do you think?


John,

I wasn't sure at first, too (I'm still not 100%) - but one pointer is the marshals' hut in the background, seen in the Bianchi still as well (and, I believe in the '79 picture, too). Also, if it were taken in the 'spooky section' there'd have to be a house on the apex of the first right-hander...although that might be just out of view...

Posted Image

PS - Yay, the sound of the V12s must have been amazing in the forests...!!!






#89 frp

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 01:20

But when it comes to mysteries at Spa-Francorchamps, here's one: why on earth did the 24-hour race for 2CVs in 1985 use a circuit layout that took competitors from Les Combes to Stavelot, and then back again on a service road behind the guard rails?

Presumably the 2CV 24 Hours wasn't then considered important enough to get permission to close the public highway, so the only option was this 'down and back' using the permanent race circuit section. Judging from the Rivage section we can see in the video, the service road is a bit narrow, so cars stuck behind a slow car up the hill - slow 2CV! What am I saying? - would lose a lot of time.

Andy

Edited by frp, 11 November 2010 - 01:38.


#90 wolf sun

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 09:29

Oddly enough, I somehow managed to miss this clip of the 1961 Belgian Grand Prix, featuring some nice footage shot from the wobbly bit, Les Combes, Clubhouse etc...there must be more material like this, lurking somewhere, not to mention the Super 8 brigade later on.

#91 Gregor Marshall

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 17:41

From the Spa museum this September:-

Posted Image

Red is the old track yellow the new and it looks much better in real life!! There is a signal box in front of this 3d map and it has all the corner and straight names with a button - press the buttong and a little light bulb lights up at the correct section; it kep me entertained for ages working out all the great bits my late Dad told me about.

I have some photos cycling round the orld track if you want me to post them also.

#92 wolf sun

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 09:31

Any contributions are always welcome, Gregor. I've got some photo laps as well, stashed away somewhere...

#93 Lutz G

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 23:46

Here's a work in progress spa historic clip of the racing sim rFactor 2 - IMO the Eau Rouge section is for the first time (unlike GP Legends) pretty accurate




Lutz

Edited by Lutz G, 12 November 2010 - 23:47.


#94 LittleChris

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 01:00

That is very very good !! On a par with Whoochoo's Longford and the Allam brothers version of Reims I reckon :clap:

#95 wolf sun

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 09:49

Impressive! Shame I use a Mac...

#96 Barry Boor

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 10:12

A remarkable piece of work. You would almost swear you were watching real film.

#97 Lutz G

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 19:05

A remarkable piece of work. You would almost swear you were watching real film.


I wonder if the building is included where Jackie Stewart had his big one - can anybody identify in the clip the exact part of the track where Sir Jackie went off in the BRM?

Lutz

Edited by Lutz G, 14 November 2010 - 19:08.


#98 LittleChris

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 20:19

I wonder if the building is included where Jackie Stewart had his big one - can anybody identify in the clip the exact part of the track where Sir Jackie went off in the BRM?

Lutz


At 1.58 - I think he ended up down in the drop to the right on the right hand part of the Masta Ess/kink having lost it on entry to the left hander


#99 harryt

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 21:58

I first went to Spa in 1990 for the 24 Hours with two Belgian friends. They told me about the local oposition to the circuit becoming permanent, this was part of the reason why the new bit of circuit from Les Combe appeared to be like a normal road. As you could actually drive on it then. Maybe they just said they were building a by-pass!!

This was also the reason why about 10kms of the nearby motorway was left unfinished, meaning you had to leave it at one junction & drive through Francochamps through Eau Rouge & up Kemmel & rejoin at the next junction. meaning to use the circuit they had to close a major motorway. During one 24 Hours, 1990 or `91 I think, apparently a protesting local resident set fire to his house knowing the only access for the fire brigade was using the circuit, resulting in a 2-3 hour safety car period. He was obviously hoping to get the race stopped.

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#100 LittleChris

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 23:48

During one 24 Hours, 1990 or `91 I think, apparently a protesting local resident set fire to his house knowing the only access for the fire brigade was using the circuit, resulting in a 2-3 hour safety car period. He was obviously hoping to get the race stopped.


Hope his house burnt down, the prat .