Nope, that capital letter isn’t a typo. Not a massage, chill out and put cucumber on your eyes spa. The race circuit in Belgium! The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps… the real Spa!!
Now, I know what you’re thinking… girls don’t like racing… well actually, some do! I’ve been to five races at Le Mans, France (24 Heures du Mans), once to Nurburgring (1000 km of Nürburgring – as it was called then – part of the Le Mans series) once to Spa (WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps) three times to Silverstone (FIA WEC 6 hours of Silverstone) and to Thruxton for the British Superbikes!
I also had a brief fling working as a “hostess” (read: waitress) for the British Touring Cars series at Thruxton and Brands Hatch. The pay wasn’t great and I didn’t like being nice to snooty people for (not very much) money, so that affair was short, unsatisfying and over after two races!
So, anyway. Yes, I’m a girl AND I like racing. The atmosphere is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before in my life. It tops every party or gig I’ve even been to (and believe me, I have been to A LOT of amazing parties and gigs in my time!!) The people, the cars, the smell, the noise. It’s addictive. The adrenalin rush you get walking around the track is immense! And you’re just watching!! Imagine what the drivers must feel like!!
This year is particularly exciting for race-nerds as none other than Mark Webber (of F1 fame) is going to be there! Like many sports personalities, he’s a bit like Marmite. He has a lot of haters, but he’s going to attract fans who have never been to a WEC race before, so that’s great for the sport. I for one will be supporting him at Spa!
If you’ve never been to a motor race, but have always wanted to: Spa is a great taster session. It’s in Belgium, so easy to get to from surrounding countries: France, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany. From the UK it’s pretty easy too (especially if you live in the south) you can get cheap ferries from Dover via DFDS Seaways (other ferry companies are available ;-)) to Dunkirk or Calais and it’s only a 3-ish hour drive from there.
Tickets are €35.00 for the whole weekend including Paddock entrance, which in racing terms, is peanuts. (Ever looked how much it costs to attend an F1 race?) There’s camping around the circuit and if you know the right place to go it’s FREE! You’re also allowed to take food and drink into the circuit!! (Excluding glass bottles – fair enough.) Something which is extremely rare these days! (Man, I sound old.)
So there it is. I wholeheartedly recommend that even if you have the teeniest tiniest bit of interest interest in racing – go to Spa. The websites you need are here: FIA WEC and here Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Ps – Take a rain jacket. It ALWAYS rains at Spa! But don’t worry… as Norm used to say: “it’s a dry rain”. (RIP Norm Koury, Turn 10 legend.)