Spa-Classic: The History Of Motorsport In All Its Glory!
Images: Peter Auto
Over the weekend of May 12th-14th, Spa-Francorchamps hosted the colorful and fun-filled historic racing event that Peter Auto has been organizing for several years now.
This eleventh edition of Spa Classic had as many as 22,000 enthusiasts thronging the spectacular track to admire and see 430 historic racing cars battling it out on one of the most beautiful circuits in the world.
The show was not only on the track but also in the village where more than 800 club cars were on display. In a festive atmosphere, young and old were able to enjoy numerous activities including temporary tattoos (why not permanent?), getting a haircut, duck fishing, photo calls, or a whole lot of popcorn and cotton candies.
Even though Spa-Francorchamps remains an exceptional circuit, the capricious weather also characterizes the place—and sure enough, it did not disappoint this time either.
If drivers like to come and bash fenders at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, would it not be because of this exceptional roller coaster circuit that is one hell of a challenge for the very best? Barely out of the chicane, after a short straight, the hairpin bend of the source ensures some drastic braking, before being thrown towards Raidillon and close encounters with the Armcos.
And then there is the unpredictable weather. The race may start under a sunny sky… which could quickly turn into a drenching session with a very slippery track, and the need for an unplanned tire change in a short time.
During the last Spa-Classic, the conditions were similar for all the various grids that Patrick Peter and his team at Peter Auto had planned out.
Spa-Classic is, above all, a story of passion and exceptional enthusiasm that brings together on the track, for the greatest happiness of the public, some of the finest racers and historic racing cars. As Belgian racing star Eric van de Poele explained: “For the public, it is fantastic to see these cars on the track again, to see them and hear them as they sounded decades ago. And for us to pilot them. The idea is not to go for the last hundredth of a second at all costs or overtaking stupidly. Yet there is real racing.”
Yet for an hour and a half, the pre-1966 short-chassis Porsche 911s defied track conditions as they went charging around Spa-Francorchamps. If Seb Perez had an advantage with #77, the British ace could not get rid of the Spaniard Christian Coll, one of the best Gentleman Drivers today, who was driving #53.
Despite the length of the race, the gap between the two cars never exceeded a handful of seconds. And as Coll burst out after the obligatory pit stop, several overruns of the track limits earned him a 45-second penalty. Seb Perez and George Gamble, therefore, won the general classification, while Coll consoled himself with the victory in the Gentlemen Drivers class, ahead of Daniele and Ambrogio Perfetti and Bonamy Grimes.
In the Gentlemen-Elite class, Lukas Bucher and David Verzijlbergen won. Starting from pole position, the McLaren M6B of Max and Andrew Banks dominated the final race of the meeting, reserved for prototypes and GTs on the Classic Endurance Racing 1 grid. The Lola T70s never had the opportunity to challenge the British duo.
Armand Mille finished a very positive weekend in second place, while John Emberson and Nigel Greensall (Chevron B19) were winners in the under 2-liters category finally, and therefore completing the overall top 3.
In GT1, Daniele Perfetti (Porsche 911 Carrera RSR) had the last laugh against Fred Wakeman's and Mike Grant-Peterkin’s Ford GT40, and the De Tomaso Pantera of Detlef Von der Lieck and Ralf Kelleners.
Worth noting, Jim Farley, the CEO of Ford, was there too at his “favorite European circuit” at the wheel of a Ford GT40, as well as a Lola T298.
In the Classic Endurance Racing class, the pace was very high, with the 60-minute race started under the leadership of Yves Scemama (Toj) #52, before Maxime Guenat (Lola) #50 managed to rise up the leaderboard to a second victory during this weekend in Spa.
More uncertain was the fight for the lowest step of the podium, with the end of the race marked by the impressive crash of Franck Morel (Toj) #131 at the Connection! It was more a case of getting a fright than any harm done.
Thus, it was Beat Eggimann (in a Cheetah) #11 who completed the top three.
On the GT2 side, the Porsche 935 K3 of American Carlos De Quesada #4 led before mechanical issues came in the way.
The way was then clear for Emmanuel Brigand (Porsche 935) #3 who won ahead of the BMW M1 Procar #81 of Emile Breittmayer and the Andreas Rolner/Michael Holden duo in their Porsche 935 K3 #90.
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