One of the coolest things I did at Spa 24 hour was the grid walk. The experience allowed me to take a shit ton of pictures of cars up close which meant I didn’t bother trying to use the phone at any other time which has historically gotten me in a lot of trouble for sneaking a shot here and there.
I had such a blast and took so many shots I would love to share them here for everyone else to enjoy. The weather was a bit soggy which was great because all the cars came out in perfect focus with no shadows. And there’s something inherently beautiful about cars that have good contrast against the background. So here we go:
Huge thanks to my Belgian friend Pol for all the awesome photos!
Two huge thumbs up for the SRO, the Spa 24h organizers and Spa-Francorchamps circuit for allowing marshals like me to have fun!
Most race tracks out there want racing fans to come to the circuit to check out the beautiful machinery racing there. Not Spa 24h. At 4pm on the Wednesday leading up to the big endurance race a number of race cars leave Spa-Francorchamps under their own steam to drive a few kilometers to the center of Spa along roads lined with spectators taking pictures and admiring the incredible GT3 machinery. Instead of having people come to the track, Spa 24h organizers bring the cars to the people and the city center gets pretty crowded as a result.
I was one of the spectators in the center of Spa eagerly awaiting the arrival of the race cars. My friend Pol and I had just arrived from Flanders and this was going to be the first glimpse of the race cars I’d get for this event. Spa was abuzz with excited people like me. We sat down at one of the outdoor bars for an ice cold Kriek beer surrounded by race fans, members of the crew from various teams, and even drivers. It became obvious we were surrounded by drivers when a fan with a thick stack of pictures of race cars started walking around asking for autographs from young kids wearing team t-shirts.
I asked Pol to snap a few shots of me with the famous background, and then the cars rolled in, parked and the huge crowd of people quickly started swarming them with their cameras clicking away.
Big thumbs up to the SRO, the RACB and Spa for doing this parade!
To say I’m super excited about my next race would be an understatement. I’m simply thrilled. Next week I’m off to Belgium to marshal my first Spa 24 hour event at the world famous Belgian circuit Spa-Francorchamps. So in preparation for the trip I’d like to share some information about the event to help me get prepped for the race. Sadly Andy Blackmore hasn’t come up with a handy spotter guide for this race, and the only one I’ve found so far is from 2013 on DailySportsCar.comhttp://www.dailysportscar.com/Uploads/BES/2013/SPA/BES_Spa_Francorchamps_Spotter_Guide.pdf 2013 coincidentally was the last year that Team Ukraine Racing with Ferrari participated in this event with their #123 Ferrari 458 Italia pictured above.
IF ANYONE HAS A SPOTTER GUIDE PLEASE SHARE A LINK HERE
The official Blancpain Endurance Series Spa 24 hour entry list can be found here: http://www.24hoursofspa.com/entry-list and it includes some of the finest and most exotic European GT3 machinery (all 60+ of them) including:
Oh and there will also be great entertainment besides all the events on track. Martin Solveig will be the headlining DJ for Saturday night’s concert according to the official event poster, found here: http://www.24hoursofspa.com/posters
And so with that, I don’t know what I should look forward to more. The concert? The different racing? All the exotics on track going flat out? Or maybe an amazing marshal post… there’s so many options:
Courbe Paul Frere
I think I would just be happy being there!
The trip over will take me via Rome, Italy on Alitalia so I’ll get to have some pizza in the motherland. And then fly home again on Finnair via Helsinki, through Chicago.
I’m so looking forward to this trip, I just can’t wait to be there!
A little history. I have visited Spa-Francorchamps in the French part of Belgium and Zolder in the Flemish/Dutch part of Belgium on my 2013 road trip from Le Mans 24h to Nurburgring 24h with Pol. Pol has been an amazing organizer for all of my European events and I thank him from the bottom of my heart for all the help. Belgium will be my 14th country to marshal, and Spa-Francorchamps 30+ track, which is absolutely positively awesome. I love Belgium!
What’s really cool about this spotter guide is that it illustrates like a million cars due to participate in the 24 hour race around the Nordschleife and I will be a very happy camper blue flagging the crap out of most of those cars to facilitate the faster cars making it through the turn on the bridge in Adenau and up the hill past post #120 quickly and safely.
Unlike other endurance races like the 24h of Le Mans, N24h has many more classes of cars racing than just the 3 major types within WEC with a possible new class introduced soon including: (P1HY, P1, P2, (P3?), GT-Pro, GTPro-Am). The most interesting cars to me will be the SP9’s which are the FIA GT3 equivalent, and the SP10’s which are the SRO GT4 equivalent. But basically there are four classes (VLN Production, VLN Special, Group H (historic) and Cup classes) that are further broken down based on engine and fuel capacity. Read up on the classes on the VLN web site which is the sanctioning body that organizes this race weekend: http://www.vln.de/en/info/spectators/division-into-classes.html
Last year I was very keen to see the Lexus LF-A cars race as well as the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, BMW Z4 GT3, Audi R8 LMS, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, Porsche GT3 R, Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3, Audi TT RS and Seat Leon Supercopa.
This year I’m looking forward to seeing those above as well as the Bentley Continental GT3, and Scuderia Cameron Glickenhouse SCG003C. I’m surprised that the McLarens decided not to return.
and a bunch of other cars. I genuinely cannot wait to be trackside!
Oh and as far as WTCC goes, only 4 different cars including Honda Civic, Citroën C-Elysée, Lada Sport Vesta and a Chevy Cruze. I don’t anticipate there to be much lapping in this support race, but I am excited to finally see them in the flesh.