Spa Francorchamps

SpaWith all the myth surrounding Spa it is actually quite an easy track to drive.  There are not very many corners and they are all technically fairly straight forwards.  What you do need to be quick around Spa, though, is lots of bravery.  Some of the corners, Eau Rouge-Radillion, Pouhon and Blanchimont for example require a third Shredded Wheat before really attacking them.

La Source

The hairpin at La Source used to be a junction on the road from Stavelot as it joined the road between Francorchamps and Malmedy.  Now it is the first turn of the permanent circuit of Spa.  It is a fairly simple hairpin with a wide entry and exit with a steepening down hill exit.  Brake in a straight line, turn in late and on the brake upto the apex, use a bit of the flat apex kerb if you want to then power on out to the exit again using the kerbs if you want as they are flat and smooth.

Eau Rouge-Radillion

Eau Rouge is the simple left flick at the bottom of the hill leading down past the endurance pits, the difficult part of this corner sequence is the climbing Radillion curve.  Eau Rouge sticks as a romantic name however as ‘Red Water’ has all sorts of dangerous connotations.  In fact it is the name of the stream that runs under the track here, so called because the mineral deposits in the water turn the rocks coppery in colour.  Now I’ve shattered you illusions lets look at the corner properly.  Approach down the hill slightly away from the pit wall on the right.  If you get too close you will experience aero drag off the wallwhich will slow the car a touch.  As you approach the bottom of the hill, move over to the right, skim the wall then bring the car over to the left aiming to use all of the kerb on the left.  You want to open out the right hander as much as you can so don’t turn in too early or you will run out of road as you climb the hill.  Nibble the bottom of the kerb on the right and be careful here in a powerful car as there is a slight crest at the apex which can make the car go a bit light and get you in trouble.  Pick up the kerb at the top of the hill and use all of the left kerb as you exit and some of the right kerb on the Kemmel straight as well.

Les Combes-Malmedy

Brake late as you approach Les Combes, the circuit is heading uphill here so you will loose speed more easily.  The ‘S’ is quite quick, not like a modern chicane.  Turn in just before the end of the kerb on the left and use the apex kerb on the right if you want to.  It is high but smooth.  Use the left apex kerb but only try to use 3/4 of the track width to the right as you exit so you can get back over to the left for a good sweep through Malmedy.  It is a short straight after Malmedy but carry as much speed through and out of this corner as you can.  Again use all the apex kerb and flat exit kerb.

Rivage

As you brake down the hill for Rivage it gets a bit bumpy but head almost straight for the inside of the corner.  This is a long hairpin and down hill all the way so get the nose into the bend early to avoid taking too long of a line on a more traditional late turn in.  also by getting into the corner earlier you are fighting less of the downhill camber in the first part of the corner making it easier to turn in.  Brake deep into the apex and get on the throttle about 2/3 around using all the exit kerb

No-Name

The following left hander has no name (that I’ve ever heard) and is a tricky down hill left.  The car will want to oversteer as you turn in but treat it like a ‘textbook’ 90 left.  Brake in a straight line, turn in a bit late, get on the power as early as you can, use all the exit kerb and maximise your exit speed for the run down to Pouhon.

Pouhon

A tricky double apex left which is quick and blind on the way in.  Turn in quite early, a good couple of car lengths before the end of the kerb on the right and aim to apex half way round the first 90 left.  Let the car run out to the right in the middle of the 2 turns, using some kerb on the right here if you need to, then continue the arc with the steering as you come back into the left.  Stay off both apex kerbs but again you can use the exit kerb here if you want as it is flat and smooth.  the second part of the corner is all about building speed so aim to carry speed into the first part but with the slowest part at the turn in then build all the way through to the exit.

Pif-Paf

Its proper name is Les Fagnes but everyone refers to it as Pif-Paf.  A quick ‘S’ bend.  The tightest part is the second corner, the left hander so approach the ‘S’ on the left, brake and bring the car into the right hand kerb.  Don’t overdo the speed here as you need to to keep the car right of centre as you exit to get the best line through the left.  You can use the right hand apex kerb but I suggest staying off the left.  Exit using the flat kerb on the right.

Stavelot1

Another fairly ‘text book’ right hander but one of the slower corners on the track.  You can get away with using the apex kerb here and on the exit, particularly in a well damped and powerful car, use all the exit kerb and stay on the kerb until you turn into the second part of the corner.

Stavelot2

An opening right which leads back up the hill towards the start.  Its important to carry speed through here and not make any mistakes as any lost speed here will hurt you for the next mile up the hilll to the bus stop.  Use the exit kerb if you need to to flatten the exit.

Blanchimont

Fast but technically quite easy.  Shallow out the bend as much as you can and use the exit kerb if you need to.

Bus Stop

This is now a very severe right/left chicane.  Use the flat kerbing but beware of the ‘sausage’ lumps behind the flat kerbs.  Sacrifice the first corner by exiting tighter to the right to open out the left hander to give you the best run onto the start straight.

The following hot lap video should be watched in conjunction with these notes.

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