Circuit du Spa-Francorchamps
Circuit du Spa-Francorchamps's Race Calendar
During the day at the circuit
Friday practice is the day to explore. Spa-Francorchamps is a huge circuit, but preparing for a good walk pays back great rewards. The circuit changes with every step. Whether you’re climbing the unbelievably steep Eau Rouge or looking down into the valley from the Kemmel straight or the lesser known view from atop the ‘corner with no name’ after Bruxelles where you can see across the valley and forest all the way to the start finish straight.
For the race and qualifying, Pouhon (aka Double Gauche) has an amazing atmosphere. Fans line the side of the hill from dawn till dusk cheering and jeering the action on the track. Get there as soon as the gates open for the best seats on level ground or be inventive, we saw fans bringing plastic chairs and a saw to cut the back legs off for a flat seat!
In the evening
Heaven on earth for F1 fans is on the road entering the circuit at La Source. In the evening countries unite as it becomes a hive of activity, crowds of fans line the streets watching and cheering the drivers, team bosses, celebrities and mechanics as they drive out of the circuit and through the center of the party. Brazillians dancing on the hills, Germans at the bar and the Italian Tifosi stood as close as physically possible to the center of the road manically cheering whenever a Ferrari logo is seen in the cars. All the stereotypes seemed to come alive there.
La Source is the perfect spot to get close to the drivers as many of them drive past with the windows down to experience the unique atmosphere at Spa.
Where to stay
There is an abundance of great camp sites around the track. Set in the forests or the small towns near by you’re never far away from the circuit. The closer you are to the La Source entrance the louder and more rowdy the party. We stayed at The Elephant campsite, perfect location, 20 minute walk to the circuit or shuttle for €20 all weekend. Also 20 minute walk from La Source so we made it to the party but could sleep well away from it.
Most roads don’t have pavements so try to see if the campsite has a minibus service, you’ll do a lot of walking at the circuit so you’ll want a ride at the end of the day.
In our experience we had a non-stop rainy Friday practice, which tested our commitment to F1. Fortunately we passed but the rain was thoroughly unpredictable and very cold. Mornings are very cold so take lots of layers as the circuit takes a while to warm up (especially at Pouhon where it will be mid morning before the sun reaches you). Once the sun is out it gets hot, so sun cream and sun glasses are a must.
Radio / Big Screen coverage trackside
Whilst there wasn’t a shortage of screens around the track the weather can have an impact on them. We had two screens in sight, both barely had a quarter of the screen working by the Saturday.
The track radio isn’t a dedicated English speaking channel, it switches between stations every 10 minutes or so. Unfortunately all I can recommend is a FanVision/Kangaroo equivalent if there’s one available. On a circuit like Spa you may only see a small portion of the lap and with a near two minute lap time a mini TV with a constant radio feed can really make the difference. We saw the 2012 Spa GP with Grosjean removing almost the entire front of the grid in the first corner. Without a FanVision and it’s accompanying Sky F1 broadcast I would have been very confused when the cars came back around minus the two Saubers, Alonso, Hamilton and Grosjean.
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