Regularly voted as tops by the drivers of the world, the Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps is part of the legendary motorsport tracks in the same way as Le Mans, Indianapolis or Monaco.
A regular theatre since 1985 of the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium, this legendary track, a little more than 7 km, the longest in the world championship, well deserves its official status of "the most beautiful circuit in the world". This global label for the Spa loop is rarely disputed and must be due to its undulating profile, to its quick turns, with its famous and unique Raidillon, of course, but also to a natural and majestic setting, in the middle of forests of fir trees in which the noise of the engines resonate. A real jewel constantly adapted to the very latest in FIA safety standards with an infrastructure as well maintained as the legend. A monument of Belgian history as well known throughout the world as the Atomium or the Grand Place of Brussels.
But there have been some changes to the circuit since the last time the World Endurance Championship visited, mainly to bring the track up to FIM Grade C in order to run the 24 hour EWC Motorcycle race in June 2022.
Starting at the La Source hairpin (T1) we see the run off area increased and an addition of a gravel trap, plus the old 24h grandstand has gone - this will be replaced in phase 2 of the works but not before the FIA WEC round later this month.
Moving along the track to the infamous Raidillon et Eau Rouge sequence (T 2-4) here we see the wall moved back from the track substantially and the bottom of the hill, a re-profiled track with a larger run off.
And possibly the biggest change, a new 4600 seat covered grandstand complete with VIP boxes - this will certainly afford a spectacular view! and it will be open for the FIA WEC round.
The pit exit remains to the right of the main track, exiting at the top of the hill. With the track much more open, will we see more side to side racing here?
At the end of the Camel straight, we find further changes at Combes and Malmedy (T 6-7) where we see the run off increased and the addition of a gravel trap.
As you may have already picked up, there are a substantial amount of gravel traps being installed around the track which will definitely have an effect on the racing we see on track with less room for error and possibly more FCY / Safety Cars to recover beached cars.
Double Gauche (T10 - 11) some of the fastest corners on the track and the scene of Thomas Laurent's massive shunt in 2020, have also had their massive tarmac run offs removed and replaced by gravel.
So definite changes at Spa for 2022, how will this effect the FIA WEC round this May and the F1 in August - time will tell!