Spa-Classic: a record event

Throughout the weekend the glorious sounds of historic racing cars resounded all round the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit. On the track and off the fifth running of Spa-Classic fulfilled all its promises setting new records for spectators, 20 000, and cars with 1500 historic vehicles (clubs and racing) gathered together.

For once, all three days of Spa-Classic in the valley of the Ardennes were bathed in sunshine. Drivers, collectors, exhibitors and spectators were able to enjoy to the full the many attractions on hand starting with the races.

RACES

The on-track show was provided by seven grids with more than 250 cars. The eagerly-awaited saloons and coupes in the Heritage Touring Cup reminded the crowd of the halcyon days of the Spa 24 Hours, when, not so long ago, the Belgian endurance classic was reserved for series production cars. In the 24-Hour event drivers in BMW 3.0 CSLs, Rover Vitesses, Ford Capris, etc. did battle both in daytime and during the night as one of the heats took place late on Saturday evening creating a magic ambience.

The crowd enjoyed more endurance racing with the CER 1 and CER 2 grids as well as the Sixties’ Endurance and the Trofeo Nastro Rosso events, four Peter Auto grids consisting of prototypes and grand touring cars that raced in the Spa 1000 km in days of yore: Ford GT40s, E-Type Jaguars, Shelby Cobras, Ferrari 250 GTs…

Extra endurance thrills were provided by two grids invited by Peter Auto. The U2TC brought together cars of under 2 litres built before 1966 similar to those that competed in the early touring car Spa 24 Hours. And finally, the cherry on the cake was the field of Group C prototypes including a remarkable Jaguar XJR-14 from 1991 whose performances have little to envy those of the current crop of LM Ps.

CLUBS AND ENTERTAINMENT

While practice and races followed one another in quick succession on the circuit, spectators were able to leave the track for a few minutes - or a few hours - to look at more than a thousand collectors’ cars on show inside the circuit. Like the TVR Car Club which chose Spa-Classic to celebrate its 50th anniversary, numerous owners of historic cars came along and represented makes as diverse as BMW, Corvette, Datsun, Ferrari, Mazda, Porsche, Triumph, and Viper with 35 models from all over Europe which congregated at the circuit. On Sunday at midday this marvellous display retracing the history of the motor car was joined by the 180 crews in the Youngtimers Rally who ended their trip at the Ardennes roller coaster. In the village spectators were able to have their fill of excitement with the Wall of Death (motorshow) and the driving simulators. Other forms of entertainment (slot racing, concerts, dancing lessons, vintage hair dressing) and the exhibitors’ stalls (miniatures, ready to wear, books, etc.) delighted the public.

BONHAMS AUCTION

For the third year in a row the Bonhams auction on Sunday excited a lot of interest. Among the best-selling lots were:

- Porsche 962C chassis 962-155 de 1990 (1 495 000 €)
- Ferrari 365GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta de 1970 (667 000 €)
- Ferrari 308GT Berlinetta Vetroresina 1976 (253 000 €)
- Aston Martin DB Mark III Sports Saloon de 1958 (247 250 €)
- Lancia Flaminia Super Sport Double Bulle de 1965 carrossée par Zagato (218 500 €)
- Karting Birel Ex-Mika Häkkinen (9 200 €)

Given the success of this event Peter Auto is putting on the next one, the 6th Spa-Classic, in the spring of 2016. In the meantime the Peter Auto grids will be at the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or in two weeks on the Dijon-Prenois circuit.