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On this page I will take you for a lap on the old Spa-Francorchamps circuit. I show you not only the familiar route, but also the less known sections like l’Ancienne Douane, the chicanes at Malmedy and Masta and the pre-war version of the Stavelot Corner.
We start our lap at the original Start/Finish straight. Since 1983 the Formula 1 start at another straight because this one was descending too steep.
Until 1938 here was only a left hand corner, the Eau Rouge. Since 1939 the steep right hand corner cuts off the l’Ancienne Douane section, the famous Raidillon (the steep right-hander)!
On the photo above you can still recognize that the original Eau Rouge corner was longer.
Now we follow the pre 1939 version of old Spa-Francorchamps, with the l’Ancienne Douane Hairpin.
Old Spa-Francorchamps as a public road
The little road you see on the photo above is a remain of the original road. Until 1995 it had its original wideness but for the enlargement of the run off area at the Raidillon they removed a part of the surface. Till 2000 the l’Ancienne Douane was a part of the public road. Until 1995 for traffic in both directions, and since 1995 only for descending traffic. Because this road was narrowed, increasing traffic had to take the steep climb on the Raidillon!
Above a great view from the top of the Raidillon during the VW Fun Cup in 2005. Many thanks to the friendly Marshalls who allowed me to take this picture from their post.
Since 1979 Kemmel is a straight, in the day’s of the old circuit it was a series of fast kinks. The kink before the straight is a remain of that.
We’re arrived at Les Combes. No, Les Combes is not a chicane. It’s a fast left hand corner at the highest point of the track! Here starts the real old Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
After Les Combes it goes downhill to a very fast and spectacular descending section called Haut de la Cote.
We’re arrived at Burnenville, a very long and fast right-hand corner. One of the most demanding corners of old Spa-Francorchamps.
Above a very famous point of old Spa-Francorchamps. The white house at Burnenville. Look how close it is on the track!
Above the first of the fast left right combination Malmedy. Below the second of Malmedy. The road on the left was often used as a chicane in the pre-war version. The chicane was reused since 1970 after safety questions.
Above a photo of the Malmedy Chicane, taken in 2015. See the main article “Spa-Francorchamps Circuit – The history” for more information about this chicane.
Blasting full throttle on the Masta Straight! Even now, a dangerous place to take a picture. So that’s the only one I have from the Masta Straight.
Masta Kink, the most feared corner of old Spa-Francorchamps!
The most famous corner of old Spa-Francorchamps was the Masta Kink. In fact is was a very fast left right combination, so Masta S-Corner would have been a better name. Even after the construction of the Raidillon in 1939, this was the corner the drivers feared most!
But there was also an alternative for the fast Masta Kink, a chicane (picture above). This chicane was constructed in 1975 in an attempt to make the track safer. But after tests it was found more dangerous than the original Masta Kink, and the chicane has never been used!
Above the kerb of the Masta Chicane. Below the second part of the Masta section, followed by the Holowell Straight.
The old and “new” Stavelot Corner
Above the Holowell Kink. Below the entry to the banked Stavelot Corner (right). Just like the famous Raidillon this was an artificial corner, constructed in 1947, to make the circuit faster. But we will follow the pre-war version (straight) of old Spa-Francorchamps, with the original Stavelot Corner…
Short after the pre-war Stavelot Corner we see on our right hand the exit of the pos-war banked Stavelot Corner (above). Below a photo of the banked corner itself.
We’re now at La Carriére, a section with fast kinks on the way back to the part we know from the current circuit.
Above pictures from 2003 when the road was in a very bad condition since the 90’s. Below you see the same road in 2011 after it was repaved.
Above the entry to the current circuit. After the fence the new part connect to the original part, which is now a permanent circuit from here. So it was also more difficult to take pictures on the track.
Full throttle to Blanchimont (on the background)! Special thanks to the friendly marshalls whow allowed me to take this picture between two sessions.
The Bus Stop Chicane
After Blanchimont the speed was killed by a chicane since 1981. In 2007 this section has undergone a tremendous renevation with a new chicane. Above the current situation, below the old Bus Stop Chicane in 2005. On the right you see the original road which was used by traffic until they changed the semi street circuit into a permanent race track in 2000.
The left kink before the short straight to La Source. On this site Mercedes Grand Prix driver Dick Seaman had his fatal accident in 1939. Unfortunately, nowadays not longer recognizable since the reconstruction in 2007.
Above the short straight to La Source, which is since 1983 the Start/Finish straight of the Formula One. On the background the original La Source hairpin. Since 2007 La Source has been moved inside. Below the exit of La Source to the old Start/Finish straight…
On the old Start/Finish straight ends our lap at old Spa-Francorchamps!
© Text & photos: Herman Liesemeijer
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