Wow - what a weekend. A HUGE thanks to ALL at Seven Mania who hosted one of the best weekends we have ever had with our 7. We had a great time with great people at the best track. Joachim and MOG Racing were perfect hosts and all did all they could to make us feel welcome - the same goes for all the fellow competitors and fellow enthusiasts. Another huge thanks to Tony and Adil who drove over with us and Sven who visited from Antwerp and came along as support - one of the highlights was rounding La Source at the end of the race and seeing you all leaning over the wall cheering and waving.
Hotel Beau Site Located only 10 minutes from the circuit in the small village of Hockai, the Hotel Beau Site was ideal for our stay. The fact that it was outside Francorchamps meant it was slightly cheaper - rooms being approx. E65 per night. Bar and restaurant also very convenient.
Having left our house at 2.30am on Friday morning Tessa and I had a very damp aeroscreened drive to Dover for our 5am crossing. We met Tony and Adil at the ferry port. The usual boring thrash through Belgium saw us arrive at Spa Francorchamps at about 11.30 that morning. Having unloaded the car at our Hotel in Hockai, Tessa and I returned to the track to look around.
The circuit at Spa-Francorchamps is situated in the Ardennes region of Belgium - that is the hilly bit in the south :)
First sight of the circuit. As you drive down through Francorchamps you drive down a small road that leads to the circuit at La Source.
The gates are normally closed, but may be open at the very beginning and end of each track day as this is where trucks and trailers access the F1 pit & paddock
If you look in the distance through the gates, you can see Eau Rouge - probably the most famous corner at Spa.
We're in! Here we are parked on the lower of the 2 F1 paddock areas. Tessa is looking over her shoulder at Eau Rouge. The control tower just visible on the left is above the second set of pits.
The building at the bottom of Eau Rouge is where the circuit officials offices are located. I don't think it is residential - but what a place to live if it was!
These pictures were taken on Friday when we arrived at the circuit. None of the Seven-Mania crowd had arrived yet, so we were just looking around. There was a track day or training day or sorts going on, but no real exotica circulating. we like to arrive at these places early - it gives you a chance to explore before you are stuck in the pits or paddock later!
Looking back up the track towards La Source, which is hidden by the control tower. We are standing on top of the pit lane garages which run down the hill towards Eau Rouge.
Eau Rouge itself. It looks a lot different now that gravel traps have been changed to tarmac run off areas. The track is in the centre, the road on the right is the new exit to the pit lane that we are standing above.
There is a mis-conception that Eau Rouge is the whole hill at this section of the track. Eau Rouge is actually just the left hander at the bottom of the hill. At the top, just over the crest in this shot, is Radillon which leads on to the long Kemel Straight.
As you can see, the sun was shining! We took the opportunity to take a few pictures of the car from above.
I am standing on the access stairs to get to the viewing platforms on top of the pits area to take these pictures. I think it is a very nice angle to shoot the car....
...and perhaps get some more unusual fun shots!
Sheltering from rain perhaps?!
By this time Tony and Adil had arrived, and we drove many of the roads around the circuit, eager for glimpses of the rest of the track.
A wicked rumour suggests that a VX powered caterham was once parked here! Some areas of Spa need a lick of paint it has to be said - but you forgive it everything once you have driven on the track.
A beautiful sunny Eau Rouge looked fantastic as we stood above the non F1 pits and watched the track day cars that were there going round. Tony and Adil joined us a bit later at the Hotel. We returned to the track at about 7pm to meet up with fellow racers who were arriving at the F1 pits that evening. We saw a likely bunch of trailers and 7's just outside the track and pulled up, unsure of who or what we would find. Right away everyone was very very friendly - all keen to say hello and meet the mad English people who had driven their car from the UK I think!
Gradually Seven-Mania competitors arrived and we all made our way to the F1 paddock and pit area once the days activities had finished.
Umm - lots of serious race cars and slicks!! here we see the Zetec powered Lotus (yes - it has a Lotus chassis number!) of Mattius, and the Caterham R400 of Holger. Both these gentleman were very eager to welcome us to the weekend, as indeed was everyone.
The 'Gulf' coloured 220 bhp Dax Rush Cosworth of Herr Muller arrives. First car (that was not a company car) and first ever track day - excellent way to start I say!
Within 5 minutes we knew we would have a great time. Off up to the F1 pits where we would be based and to meet the others. What was noticeable right away was the mix of cars. There were equal numbers of Caterham, Dax Rush, Donkervoort, Locost and a few I did not know, as well as a few Lotus 7's and a handful of Elise's, all together sharing the same pits and mixing. Great to see for we have no time for Caterham snobs who look down on anything else. Many of these cars were very well prepared race cars, equal and far quicker than many of the Caterhams.
No - not an Exige, but a proper Lotus GT car - central driving position and all! Fortunately not with us but attending the Piston Club track day that we were running with - though the Elise 111s behind was part of our group.
We saw this truck waiting at the La Source entrance to get in and thought 'What have we let ourselves in for? Are we racing factory teams??' - luckily not - another Piston Club customer!
I think 4 cars came out of this truck. Beautifully prepared, and with big slicks and wings, and a lot of power, seriously quick around the track.
As a modern take of a 7-type car, I think these Donkervoorts are not bad at all, with some very nice detail touches.
This shot of caged cars sums up the whole weekend - you see an Elise, Locosts, Caterhams, Dax all parked side by side. No badge snobbery here.
Most people had trailored the cars to Spa and many stayed in the pits on camp beds, or in motor homes - we would have done the same if we had known.
With in 5 minutes of meeting everyone else, we knew that we would be having a good time. we were made to feel very welcome, and I think people appreciated that we had come all the way from the UK to be there. Joachim provided the Hatz beer as promised - which, by the way, is very nice indeed. So - good company, good beer and our car at Spa - what could be better!