4/23/2020

Rollercoaster Feels.

The unmistakable yellow-red curbs emphasize the breathtaking curves of the circuit. Absolute fun thanks to G-Force.

It’s not for nothing that the naturally cultivated Spa-Francorchamps route is a favorite among race drivers. Beginning in the 1950’s several Belgian federal highways near the German-Belgian border were connected to make what is now the longest, most unpredictable and probably the most demanding course of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup series. The course is slightly more than 7km and has an altitude difference of approximately 100 meters. No other race course in the world has as many gradients as the Spa-Francorchamps and it's these constant variations in altitude that give the course such striking features.

‘The source’ to succeeding on this course lies directly at La Source, the track’s first extreme hard and tight right bend. Whoever gets it manages a slightly delayed down-shift from 6th to 5th and will fly by ‘Eau Rouge’ (named after a small body of water rich in iron giving it its red hue). From there, it’s a full throttle surge up a 17% incline straight through Raidillon and into top speed on Kemmel Straight. It’s important to note that sprinting into Les Combes from Kemmel presents options to the drivers: do they spread out or overtake with an aggressive right-left maneuver?

17% Incline. 20 Curves. Total Concentration.

After Les Combes, it’s difficult to change positions and cadence is everything. We head downhill through Rivage and along the natural contour of the Ardennes and into the valley of Stavelot – a second pivotal point of the course. From here the 911 GT3 Cup needs to push maximum velocity to exit Blanchimont’s elongated double left. After all, it’s all about being well positioned heading into the hard right-left Chicane to either assert your place before the finish or to conquer another competitor.

Back on the start-finish straight, the game begins again: La Source gives us the super-hard right-hand bend to get us back onto the roller coaster-like passage to Eau Rouge and Raidillon. This is an absolute G-Force monster that demands a drivers’ absolute attention each and every millisecond.

The curve names give an indication of what one might expect during the stomach tingling flight on the Spa-Francorchamps: water. It isn’t uncommon for a light drizzle to occur in the pit lane, or for an extensive rain shower in the Kemmel – at the same time. So for mechanics and the pit crew, performance setup and tire selection is another dynamic of this course’s difficulty. What does that mean in practice? It’s all in the feeling of the route and the skill of the driver. And that’s why they love the Spa-Francorchamps so much.

Enjoy live-racing in Spa-Francorchamps! We are broadcasting rounds 5&6 of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Virtual Edition here on the Porsche Motorsport Hub, starting on Saturday 25 from 4:00 p.m. CEST.

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