crankandpiston returns to Spa-Francorchamps for the historic Spa 6 Hour Classic.[Not a valid template]
The 21st running of the Spa 6 Hour classic marked my second time at this superb event. No longer a rookie overwhelmed by the amazing sights, I could instead focus on getting some great stories and fantastic pictures.
That was the plan at least as I hurtled from Germany to Spa-Francorchamps on the autobahn, though as it turns out that couldn’t have been further from the truth. The second you reach the historic 7km 20-turn Spa, there is nothing you can do but be overwhelmed. That feeling is amplified by a field of more than 100 entrants and multiple support races scattered around the paddocks.
This year once again displayed a stunning entrant list. With ten Ford GT40s taking up most of the top 15 after qualifying, that was reason enough not to miss the event. Some big names where on-hand too to get the crowd going. The oversteer happy Kenny Brack – fresh from his Goodwood GT40 experience – was back behind the wheel. The Flying Dutchman Jan lammers would pilot the always quick but quirky looking Corvette Grand Sport, while Britain’s YouTube monkey Chris Harris would be back for a third year with his good friends in the Ford Falcon. With perfect weather setting the stage for this stunning spectacle, the racing would be close, the speed staggering and the chain of GT40s at the start would be epic. A sight every man, women and child should experience during their lifetime.
As the evening drew closer, a warm sunset would flood the track. However, with darkness just around the corner, this magic hour would come to an end and the traditional mayhem of nighttime driving would show itself. Indeed, within minutes of darkness a safety car would appear. Rumours of a GT40 off at Eau Rouge filled the paddocks and soon the pits would be alive with activity. Driver changes, quick fixes and refueling would all happen within minutes before drivers headed back out on to the largely unlit Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
As the race came to a close the result would a common spectacle. With some unexpected surprises. Last year’s winning GT40 piloted by Leo Voyazides and Simon Hadfield would take the top spot, the hard charging Dutch trio of Michiel Campagne, Allard Kalff and Jan Lammers in their corvette Grand Sport taking a well deserved second after a frantic battle with a flurry of Fords. Rounding out the podium in their Ford GT40 would be Shaun Lynn and Andrew Haddon. A very memorable drive by Wilson, Wolfe and Stirling in their little Lotus Elan 26R would land them seventh position.
Unfortunately for Chris Harris, his hopes of driving just one lap of this historic race were again thwarted by engine problems, his Ford Falcon retiring after just a few hours. Never mind Chris, there’s always next year.
After covering so many historic events this season, I have to say I was becoming a little jaded. With similar lineups and parade style racing (not wheel-to-wheel) they all started to blend together. But the Spa 6 Hour classic is none of the above. It has such a diverse line-up of drivers and cars, stunning wheel-to-wheel action and an amazing setting. Not to mention all the support races, but more on that in a crankandpiston.com article to follow.
Watch this space…