So much has been written about the circuit over the years. However for the purpose of this site, a site primarily conceived to give visitors information to help with visiting the circuit and local area, I thought it would be worth pointing out some of the basic circuit facts.
The original circuit was created by the use of public roads that created a kind of triangular shape. Jules de Their and Henri Langlois Van Ophem were the 2 people who came up with the idea and planned the original circuit.
Its original length was 15km or 9.3 miles.
It originally held motorcycle races only but following the success of the Le Mans 24 hours race in France it ran its first 24 hour race in 1924.
In 1925 Antonio Ascari won the first Belgian GP.
There were some early changes to the circuit including quite a significant change adding Raidillon straight after Eau Rouge. Originally Eau Rouge was a fairly tight left hander that ran a few hundred yards down to a 180 right hander. This then brought the cars back to what is now the top of Raidillon. Chopping this out turned a very slow section of the circuit in to a very fast and challenging part of the circuit. Other slight changes brought the track length down to 14km or 8.7 miles.
However following a lot of campaigning over the safety of motorsport in general not just at Spa the circuit had its biggest change. This happened in 1979. Jackie Stewart in a BRM had had an accident in 1966 whilst negotiating the Masta Kink when he ended up in the cellar of one of the farm houses next to the road. It is believed that fuel was pouring out of his car all over Stewart.
The last race on the long circuit was won by Pedro Rodriguez in a BRM in 1970.
There was no race in Belgium in 71 and then the Belgian race was held at either Nivelles or more commonly Zolder until Spa returned in 1983.
The Spa circuit had been chopped down to 7km or 4.35 miles, still long by modern circuit standards but of course a huge change from the original. However unlike many other places where circuits have been changed or even new ones built, Spa managed to retain its appeal for drivers and fans alike. The new cut across from the end of the Kemmel Straight to what is called Stavelot these days is fantastic. It still full of high speed challenging corners with Pouhon perhaps being as good a challenge as any other corner on the circuit these days. With the natural features of the Ardenne region of Belgium the circuit climbs and falls wonderfully which helps make it more of a challenge for drivers and a wonderful place for spectators to watch.