It will be all sprint n speed at Belgium Spa


Belgium Spa Francorchamps redevelopment Image: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

A major reconfiguration project has been unbolted for Spa-Francorchamps motorsport circuit, home of Formula One’s Belgian Grand Prix.

The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is a motor-racing circuit located in Stavelot, Belgium. It is the current venue of the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix, hosting its first Grand Prix in 1925, and has held a Grand Prix every year since 1983.

The Belgian Grand Prix is an automobile race, part of the Formula One World Championship.

Details of the €80m (£61.5m/€67.7m) project have been announced ahead of the return of motorcycle racing to the circuit in June 2022, when the new International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) Endurance World Championship 24H Spa Motos event will make its debut. The repurposing work will form part of a 10-year investment plan designed to buttress the modernization of the historic circuit.

The EWC 24H Spa Motos – a new race announced in May 2019 – marks the return of top-level international racing to the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit. This new round of the FIM Endurance World Championship will be held in June 2022.

The circuit will spend from its own wallet €21m of funds for the project, with €29.5m to come in the form of a bank loan and a further €29.5m to be invested by Sogepa, the Wallonia Government’s investment company.

The Walloon Government or Government of Wallonia is the executive branch of Wallonia, and it is part of one of the six main Governments of Belgium.

The work will focus both on the track itself and the wider infrastructure of the circuit. Track modifications will see run-off areas enlarged and gravel traps installed at the La Source, Raidillon, Blanchimont, Les Combes and Stavelot corners.

The crux of the infrastructure plans will be a covered grandstand at the Raidillon corner. The stand will enjoy nearly 4,600 seats and provide bird’s-eye views of La Source, the Endurance zone and the Raidillon.

Five boxes will be set up along the length of the stand and will have a total capacity of 1,050. A further 4,144 new seats will be added in the Endurance stand, while two new boxes will overhang the stands.

The work will add a total of 13,000 seats, doubling the motor-racing circuit’s permanent seating capacity.

Belgium Spa Francorchamps redevelopmentImage: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

Remarked Melchior Wathlet, Chairman, Board of Directors at Spa-Francorchamps, “Today we are going to tackle the future of a historic circuit, or should I say we are launching the process which makes Spa-Francorchamps the historic circuit of the future. The diversification strategy is on track.”

Nathalie Maillet, CEO, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, stated, “With the investment we have lined up over the next 10 years, we are showing that dreams can become reality. By starting with a prestigious endurance race, we will achieve the first goal of our ‘Motorcycle Project’.”

François Ribeiro, Head of pan-European television sports network Eurosport Events, commented, “The unveiling of a project to renovate and modernize the Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps is a further step towards the return of motorcycle racing to this legendary racetrack. In coordination with the FIM and FIA, Nathalie Maillet and her teams have managed a huge and amazing accomplishment: Making Spa a circuit the FIM can homologate without taking away from the features that make this track truly unique, and offering fans and teams even more modern infrastructure. A 24-hour race at Spa will be a major addition to the Endurance World Championship (EWC) calendar starting June 2022 and for the following 10 years. We at Eurosport Events are proud to have set the ball rolling for the return of motorcycle racing to Spa-Francorchamps after starting discussions with the circuit’s CEO in 2016.”

It was announced last year that Spa would be hosting an FIM EWC event from 2022 as part of an agreement with Eurosport Events. The circuit is required to transform the track in order to measure up to FIM safety standards.

It was in mid-May 2019 that an announcement was made with Eurosport Events of the return of the world endurance championship to
Spa-Francorchamps in June 2022, an announcement which is now taking a step further.

It was accompanied by the presentation of a 10-year investment plan of 80 million euros to support the strategy of diversifying the activities of the Circuit and the modernization of its infrastructures.

The above announcement holds all the more significance as the world is going through very turbulent times due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and major sporting events are a closed-door affair. If the race is the DNA of the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, but sans fans it loses all the charm. The refurbishment work is being carried out keeping the fans in mind.

Willy Borsus, Vice-President of Wallonia, Minister of Economy, Research and Innovation, Digital, Agriculture, Urbanism and Regional Planning, IFAPME and Competence Centers, put in, “Today we are talking about investment, and as Minister of Economy that makes me happy. As part of the return of the World Motorcycle Endurance Championship, a global reflection has been carried out, both on the arrangements necessary for the return of international motorcycle competition and on the infrastructures of the Circuit.”

Large-scale revamp work will be carried out not only for the track but also for the infrastructure. The circuit’s infrastructures are aging and are not befitting of the most beautiful circuit in the world. Along with track, repurposing work on the infrastructure will also be carried out that is much needed to welcome spectators.

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