The rolling hills and forests of the Ardennes must make one of the finest settings for a motor racing circuit anywhere in the world. So stunning is the scenery that you find yourself gazing at it almost as much as the breathtaking selection of cars, which is saying something when you see the kind of machinery we’re going to be showing you in the next few days.
The pit and paddock area at Spa is, like the circuit, undulating and set on many different levels, the highest point being at the top of the old F1 pits near La Source hairpin. Strolling down the old pit lane, the garages house the Heritage Touring Cup cars. The range is mouth-watering: Mustangs, Camaros, Rover Vitesses, BMW 3.0 CSLs, Capri and Escort RSs from the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties. All flared-arches, wings and big horsepower and many of them carrying familiar liveries like Jagermeister, Marlboro and Mobil. What a sight! It’s all you can do to stop your inner-hooligan jumping in and trying to get airborne over the kerbs at the top of Eau Rouge. This is going to be tin-top racing of the highest order.
Walk over to the ‘new’ F1 pits on the start-finish straight and the scene is very different. For here are the Group C cars: Porsche 962s rub shoulders with Jaguar XJRs, Nissans, a menacing-looking Mercedes C11 and Rupert Clevely’s utterly gorgeous Lancia LC2. Teams of technicians toil away in readiness for this afternoon’s qualifying session; many of the cars sat there sans bodywork revealing their complex innards. Pink Floyd plays over the PA system. It’s a cool scene, but not as cool as what’s going on down at the circuit’s own filling station…
It’s not every day that you see a Ferrari GTB4 Daytona in full race trim filling up, followed by an Early Porsche 911. Further down the paddock we’re excited by the sight of an AC Cobra, then another and another. In the end we lost count. Expect them to be rubbing shoulders with Lightweight E-Types, Mustangs, Corvettes, 911s et al in the Sixties Endurance race.
Like the Le Mans Classic, the Monaco Historique, the Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca and of course Goodwood’s two historic race meetings, the Spa Classic is a car lovers paradise. Sit tight and we’ll get to work bringing you the very best of it.
Photography: Tom Shaxson