Rollercoaster of race emotions.
On Saturday, April 29, the next event of the World Endurance Championship is due to take place: the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. After the successful third place in Portimão, the Porsche Penske Motorsport Team aims to surpass themselves with the Porsche 963. The six Customer Racing Teams entering with the Porsche 911 RSR are making claims for the podium in their category.
Bedded in a valley of the Ardennes in Belgium, the third racetrack of the WEC awaits: the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps – a legendary, over 7-kilometer-long track, known for its mercurial nature. Due to its altitude, it is quite possible for one part of the track to be rainy, while the other is completely dry. So, there are new requirements for the tire strategy. But also the track hides one or the other pitfall: Despite the renovations made for the seasons 2022 onwards, the racetrack remains an emotional rollercoaster for racing.
Right off the bat, the first turn packs a punch: The La Source is a hairpin curve leading up to a long straight. Following that is the reknown Eau Rouge that has always proven to be a challenge despite seeming nondescript on track maps. Since 2022, an additional run-out area has been added, providing more room for mistakes during the ascend into the right-left combination. After that, the long Kemmel Straight. Drivers are then received by the combination of curves called Les Combes, a combination of three curves that naturally flow into each other and reduce the speed developed in the Kemmel Straight. The following straight trails downward into the Bruxelles, the next hairpin curve that calls for the right amount of breaking. The track heads further down into a left turn and onward to Pouhon, a long-stretched double left that permits high speeds. Further down Campus awaits, a right-left combination, followed by Stavelot, an almost 90-degree right turn. On the way back to the start-finish line, vehicles pass through Courbe Paul Frére and Blanchimont – the latter is a long-stretched left turn like the Pouhon turn and permits equal amounts of speed. Just before reaching the finish, drivers have to pass through a chicane where the wrong speed can quickly throw a vehicle off the course.