Circuit History

The history of the circuit in 20 dates

  1. 1920

    Three routes to create a circuit

    At the end of the first World War, the chevalier Jules de Thier, owner of the Liège newspaper La Meuse, was looking for a site to revive the La Meuse Cup, a car race that had been interrupted by World War 1 from 1914-1918. Following a meeting at the Hotel des Bruyères, in Francorchamps, with the Baron Joseph de Crawhez (burgomaster of Spa) and the racing-car driver Henri Langlois van Ophem, it was decided that the triangle formed by the routes 32, 23 and 440 connecting Spa-Francorchamps to Malmédy and Stavelot constituted an ideal circuit.

  2. 1921

    Motorbikes replace cars

    The first car race was scheduled for the month of August 1921 on a track that was 15.820 km in length. Unfortunately, only one driver registered. The event was thus replaced by a race which gathered together 23 motorbikes and was won by Hassal on a Norton 500cc at an average speed of 90 km/hr.

  3. 1922

    The first RACB Grand Prix

    One year later, the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium organised its "Belgian GP" at Francorchamps, an endurance race for cars won by the Baron de Tornaco-Bruyère in an Impéria-Abadal at an average speed of 88.900 km/hr.

  4. 1924

    Antonio Ascari in an Alfa Romeo won the European GP.

    After the construction of a timing booth, of a scoreboard and a Press stand, the RACB organised the first edition of the 24 Hours of Francorchamps.

  5. 1925

    The European GP at Spa

    Antonio Ascari in an Alfa Romeo won the European GP.

  6. 1928

    Tarmacking of the track

    To avoid stones being thrown up, the dirt track had tarmac laid down.

  7. 1939

    Creation of the Raidillon

    The removal of the old Customs bend and the construction of a spectacular curve whuich was baptised the Raidillon, more often called the Eau Rouge bend by foreigners. This fast curve with a steep (17%) incline was going to contribute to the international reputation of the circuit and was soon to become the most exciting bend on the calendar.

  8. 1947

    Wimille, first post-War winner

    After seven years of interruption because of World War 2, racing started again with the European GP of International Formula won by Jean-Pierre Wimille in an Alfa Romeo.

  9. 1948

    Creation of an Inter-Communal Circuit structure

  10. 1950

    Fangio wins the first Belgian Formula 1 GP

  11. 1951

    Enlargement of the circuit (from 6m to 9m) and creation of the Stavelot bend

  12. 1963

    Installation of the first safety rails

  13. 1964

    Renaissance of the 24 Hours of Francorchamps for Touring cars

  14. 1970

    Rodriguez carries off the final F1 Grand Prix on the old long track

    The Mexican Pedro Rodriguez won the 29th and final Belgian F1 GP organised on the long track at an average speed of 241 km/hr. Under the leadership of the champion Jackie Stewart, the F1 drivers' association then declared that Francorchamps was too dangerous and impracticable.

  15. 1973

    The world speed record of Pescarolo at an average 262.461 km/hr

    During free practice for the 1000 km of Francorchamps, the Frenchman Henri Pescarolo set what remains today a speed record for a lap of the circuit at the wheel of his prototype Matra at an average 262.461 km/hr.

  16. 1979

    Inauguration of the new 6.9 km-long circuit

    Creation of what is still called the "new portion" between Combes and the new Paul Frère bend. The length of the new circuit was brought up to 6.947 km.

  17. 1983

    Return of the F1

    For its return to Francorchamps, the Belgian GP was won by the Frenchman Alain Prost in a Renault.

  18. 1991

    The Motorbike GP deserts Francorchamps

    For safety reasons the FMI decided to no longer organise Motorbike GP races at Francorchamps.

  19. 2003

    Semi-permanent circuit

    As traffic was forbidden from March to October, the Circuit became semi-permanent. Then very quickly permanent with 220 days of operation annually. Because of the prohibition on tobacco advertising, the F1 GP was cancelled.

  20. 2007

    Creation of the new pits

    A budget of 15 million Euro was earmarked for the creation of new facilities with, in particular, pits conforming to the new FIA standards. After a year of absence, the F1 returned to Francorchamps. The agreement with the Belgian GP runs now until 2018. Very popular with organisers and drivers, pros or amateurs, from the world over, the Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps constitutes today a great example in terms of modernity and safety while continuing to hold onto its naturally virile character.