Luigi Cristiano Fagioli, nicknamed "the Abruzzi robber", was an Italian motor racing driver. He is the oldest driver to win a race in Formula One being the only race winner born outside the 20th century. Born in the small city of Osimo, in the Marche region of central Italy, as a boy Luigi Fagioli was fascinated by the new invention of the automobile and the ensuing racing. Blessed with great natural driving instincts, a young Fagioli spent several years participating in hillclimbing and sports car races before entering Grand Prix racing in 1926. By 1930, his racing success led to an opportunity to join the Maserati team on the Grand Prix motor racing circuit, he made his presence felt, winning the Coppa Ciano and Circuit of Avellino. In April of the following year he went head to head with Louis Chiron and his Bugatti Type 51 at the Monaco Grand Prix. In what is one of racing's most famous battles, Chiron won but Fagioli showed how skilled he was in a car geared for great speed on long stretches, not the tight twists and short runs of Monte Carlo.
Fagioli went on to take the victory at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Monza, Italy beating Chiron as well as fellow Italian greats, Achille Varzi and Tazio Nuvolari. In 1932, Fagioli won the Grand Prix of Rome driving for Maserati but for the 1933 season he was signed by the Alfa Romeo team of Scuderia Ferrari. Driving an Alfa Romeo P3, he won the Coppa Acerbo, the Grand Prix du Comminges, the Italian Grand Prix. A supremely confident Fagioli displayed a fiery temper and retaliated against other drivers on the track when he felt they had done something wrong, he took chances that others might not and as such he developed a somewhat negative reputation after he had several significant race crashes. His talents were considerable and for the 1934 season he was lured away by Mercedes to drive one of their Silver Arrows with the brilliant Hermann Lang as his chief mechanic; the move proved successful for Fagioli but his relationship with the German team manager and co-drivers was difficult. In his first race for Mercedes, one their cars dominated, a furious Fagioli abandoned his vehicle after having been given orders by team manager Alfred Neubauer to stay in second place and allow fellow Mercedes driver Manfred von Brauchitsch to win.
Despite the problems, Fagioli remained part of the German team, earning his second consecutive Coppa Acerbo and together with Rudolf Caracciola, drove a Mercedes W25A to claim his second straight Italian Grand Prix title. Following this, Fagioli went on to take first place at the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuito Lasarte. For the 1935 racing season, his factory Mercedes was upgraded to a W25B model with which he captured the Monaco Grand Prix and the AVUS and Penya Rhin Grand Prix races. However, his relationship with his teammates worsened, in particular, Rudolf Caracciola and in some races Fagioli tried to pass Caracciola against team orders, he left Mercedes at the end of the 1936 season and joined Auto Union where his rivalry with Caracciola escalated, culminating at the Tripoli Grand Prix when Fagioli physically attacked his former teammate. Health problems, including crippling rheumatism, soon began to affect Luigi Fagioli's racing ability. At the Coppa Acerbo he needed the aid of a cane just to walk and had no choice but to drop out of the race.
With his health somewhat improved, following the end of World War II, 52-year-old Luigi Fagioli joined Alfa-Romeo's 1950 Formula One team driving the 158/159 Alfetta, earning five podium finishes in six races en route to finishing a remarkable third overall in the first FIA World Championship. He entered the final round as one of three drivers in contention for the title, despite not winning a race, his only Grand Prix of 1951 was his last, but he won the French Grand Prix with Juan-Manuel Fangio, earning the distinction of being the oldest person to win a Formula One race. For 1952, Fagioli signed with Lancia to drive sports cars and took great personal delight by finishing in third place in the Mille Miglia ahead of arch rival Rudolf Caracciola. Shortly after, while practicing for a touring car race to be held as part of the Monaco Grand Prix, he had what appeared to be a minor crash: however, his internal injuries were such that he died in hospital three weeks later. Luigi Fagioli ranks as one of Italy's greatest race car drivers, has the second-highest percentage of podium finishes in the Formula One World Championship, after "one-time wonder" Dorino Serafini.
Avusrennen 1935 Coppa Acerbo 1933, 1934 Coppa Ciano 1930 European Grand Prix 1951 Grand Prix du Comminges 1933 Italian Grand Prix 1933, 1934 Monaco Grand Prix 1935 Penya Rhin Grand Prix 1935 Spanish Grand Prix 1934 * Two shared drives with Juan Manuel Fangio, resulting in positions 1 and 11, respectively. Each driver scored half points for the win. Trofeo Luigi Fagioli Hillclimb Official web site
Belgium the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, the North Sea to the northwest, it has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; the sovereign state is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organisation is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds, it is divided into three autonomous regions: Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south, the Brussels-Capital Region. Brussels is the smallest and most densely populated region, as well as the richest region in terms of GDP per capita. Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups or Communities: the Dutch-speaking Flemish Community, which constitutes about 59 percent of the population, the French-speaking Community, which comprises about 40 percent of all Belgians. A small German-speaking Community, numbering around one percent, exists in the East Cantons.
The Brussels-Capital Region is bilingual, although French is the dominant language. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments. Belgium was part of an area known as the Low Countries, a somewhat larger region than the current Benelux group of states that included parts of northern France and western Germany, its name is derived after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, the area of Belgium was a prosperous and cosmopolitan centre of commerce and culture. Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, Belgium served as the battleground between many European powers, earning the moniker the "Battlefield of Europe", a reputation strengthened by both world wars; the country emerged in 1830 following the Belgian Revolution. Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa.
The second half of the 20th century was marked by rising tensions between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking citizens fueled by differences in language and culture and the unequal economic development of Flanders and Wallonia. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Despite the reforms, tensions between the groups have remained, if not increased. Unemployment in Wallonia is more than double that of Flanders. Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union and hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament in the country's capital, Brussels. Belgium is a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, WTO, a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area. Brussels hosts several of the EU's official seats as well as the headquarters of many major international organizations such as NATO.
Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy. It has high standards of living, quality of life, education, is categorized as "very high" in the Human Development Index, it ranks as one of the safest or most peaceful countries in the world. The name "Belgium" is derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northernmost part of Gaul that before Roman invasion in 100 BC, was inhabited by the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings. A gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire; the Treaty of Verdun in 843 divided the region into Middle and West Francia and therefore into a set of more or less independent fiefdoms which, during the Middle Ages, were vassals either of the King of France or of the Holy Roman Emperor. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 15th centuries.
Emperor Charles V extended the personal union of the Seventeen Provinces in the 1540s, making it far more than a personal union by the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 and increased his influence over the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The Eighty Years' War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands; the latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and comprised most of modern Belgium. This was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. Following the campaigns of 1794 in the French Revolutionary Wars, the Low Countries—including territories that were never nominally under Habsburg rule, such as the Prince-Bishopric of Liège—were annexed by the French First Republic, ending Austrian rule in the region; the reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, after the defeat of Napo
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an automobile racing circuit located in Speedway, Indiana, in the United States. It is the home of the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400, the home of the United States Grand Prix, it is located on the corner of 16th Street and Georgetown Road six miles west of Downtown Indianapolis. Constructed in 1909, it is the second purpose-built, banked oval racing circuit after Brooklands and the first to be called a'speedway', it has a permanent seating capacity of 257,325. It is the highest-capacity sports venue in the world. Considered flat by American standards, the track is a 2.5-mile-long rectangular oval with dimensions that have remained unchanged since its construction. It has two 5⁄8-mile-long straightaways, four geometrically identical 1⁄4-mile turns, connected by two 1⁄8-mile short straightaways, termed "short chutes", between turns 1 and 2, between turns 3 and 4. A modern, FIA Grade One infield road course was completed in 2000, incorporating part of the oval, including the main stretch and the southeast turn, measuring 2.605 miles.
In 2008, again in 2014, the road course layout was modified to accommodate motorcycle racing, as well as to improve competition. Altogether, the current grounds have expanded from an original 320 acres on which the speedway was first built to cover an area of over 559 acres. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987, it is the only such site to be affiliated with automotive racing history. In addition to the Indianapolis 500, the speedway hosts NASCAR's Brickyard 400 and Lilly Diabetes 250. From 2000 to 2007, the speedway hosted the Formula One United States Grand Prix, from 2008 to 2015 the Moto GP. On the grounds of the speedway is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, which opened in 1956, houses the Hall of Fame; the museum moved into its current building located in the infield in 1976. On the grounds is the Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort, which opened as the Speedway Golf Course in 1929; the golf course has 14 holes outside the track, along the backstretch, four holes in the infield.
The speedway served as the venue for the opening ceremonies for the 1987 Pan American Games. The track is nicknamed "The Brickyard", the garage area is famously known as Gasoline Alley. Indianapolis businessman Carl G. Fisher first envisioned building the speedway in 1905 after assisting friends racing in France and seeing that Europe held the upper hand in automobile design and craftsmanship. Fisher began thinking of a better means of testing cars before delivering them to consumers. At the time, racing was just getting started on public roads. Fisher noticed how ill-suited the makeshift courses were for racing and testing, he argued that spectators did not get their money's worth, as they were only able to get a brief glimpse of cars speeding down a linear road. Fisher proposed building a circular track 3 to 5 miles long with smooth 100–150-foot-wide surfaces; such a track would give manufacturers a chance to test cars at sustained speeds and give drivers a chance to learn their limits. Fisher predicted.
He visited the Brooklands circuit outside London in 1907, after viewing the banked layout, it solidified his determination to build the speedway. With dozens of car makers and suppliers in Indiana, Fisher proclaimed, "Indianapolis is going to be the world's greatest center of horseless carriage manufacturer, what could be more logical than building the world's greatest racetrack right here?"Fisher began looking around the Indianapolis area for a site to build his track. In December 1908, he convinced James A. Allison, Arthur Newby, Frank W. Wheeler to join him in purchasing the property for $72,000; the group incorporated the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Company on March 20, 1909, with a capitalization of $250,000, with Fisher and James Allison in for $75,000 apiece and Frank Wheeler and Arthur Newby on board for $50,000 each. Construction of the track started in March 1909. Fisher had to downsize his planned 3-mile oval with a 2-mile road course to a 2.5-mile oval to leave room for the grandstands.
Reshaping of the land for the speedway took 500 laborers, 300 mules and a fleet of steam-powered machinery. The track surface consisted of graded and packed soil covered by 2 inches of gravel, 2 inches of limestone covered with taroid, 1–2 inches of crushed stone chips that were drenched with taroid, a final topping of crushed stone. Workers constructed dozens of buildings, several bridges, grandstands with 12,000 seats, an 8-foot perimeter fence. A white-with-green-trim paint scheme was used throughout the property; the first event held at the speedway was a helium gas-filled balloon competition on Saturday, June 5, 1909, more than two months before the oval was completed. The event drew a reported 40,000 people. Nine balloons lifted off "racing" for trophies; the first motorsport event at the track consisted of seven motorcycle races, sanctioned by the Federation of American Motorcyclists, on August 14, 1909. This was planned as a two-day, 15-race program, but ended before the first da
Formula One is the highest class of single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile and owned by the Formula One Group. The FIA Formula One World Championship has been one of the premier forms of racing around the world since its inaugural season in 1950; the word "formula" in the name refers to the set of rules to which all participants' cars must conform. A Formula One season consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix, which take place worldwide on purpose-built circuits and on public roads; the results of each race are evaluated using a points system to determine two annual World Championships: one for drivers, the other for constructors. Drivers must hold valid Super Licences, the highest class of racing licence issued by the FIA; the races must run on tracks graded "1", the highest grade-rating issued by the FIA. Most events occur in rural locations on purpose-built tracks, but several events take place on city streets. Formula One cars are the fastest regulated road-course racing cars in the world, owing to high cornering speeds achieved through the generation of large amounts of aerodynamic downforce.
The cars underwent major changes in 2017, allowing wider front and rear wings, wider tyres, resulting in cornering forces closing in on 6.5g and top speeds of up to 375 km/h. As of 2019 the hybrid engines are limited in performance to a maximum of 15,000 rpm and the cars are dependent on electronics—although traction control and other driving aids have been banned since 2008—and on aerodynamics and tyres. While Europe is the sport's traditional base, the championship operates globally, with 11 of the 21 races in the 2018 season taking place outside Europe. With the annual cost of running a mid-tier team—designing and maintaining cars, transport—being US$120 million, Formula One has a significant economic and job-creation effect, its financial and political battles are reported, its high profile and popularity have created a major merchandising environment, which has resulted in large investments from sponsors and budgets. On 8 September 2016 Bloomberg reported that Liberty Media had agreed to buy Delta Topco, the company that controls Formula One, from private-equity firm CVC Capital Partners for $4.4 billion in cash and convertible debt.
On 23 January 2017 Liberty Media confirmed the completion of the acquisition for $8 billion. The Formula One series originated with the European Grand Prix Motor Racing of the 1930s; the formula is a set of rules. Formula One was a new formula agreed upon after World War II during 1946, with the first non-championship races being held that year. A number of Grand Prix racing organisations had laid out rules for a world championship before the war, but due to the suspension of racing during the conflict, the World Drivers' Championship was not formalised until 1947; the first world championship race was held at Silverstone, United Kingdom in 1950. A championship for constructors followed in 1958. National championships existed in the UK in the 1960s and 1970s. Non-championship Formula One events were held for many years, but due to the increasing cost of competition, the last of these occurred in 1983. On 26 November 2017, Formula One unveiled its new logo, following the 2017 season finale in Abu Dhabi during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit.
The new logo replaced F1's iconic'flying one', the sport's trademark since 1993. After a hiatus in European motor racing brought about by the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the first World Championship for Drivers was won by Italian Giuseppe Farina in his Alfa Romeo in 1950, narrowly defeating his Argentine teammate Juan Manuel Fangio. However, Fangio won the title in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, his streak interrupted by two-time champion Alberto Ascari of Ferrari. Although the UK's Stirling Moss was able to compete he was never able to win the world championship, is now considered to be the greatest driver never to have won the title. Fangio, however, is remembered for dominating Formula One's first decade and has long been considered the "Grand Master" of Formula One; this period featured teams managed by road car manufacturers Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati. The first seasons were run using pre-war cars like Alfa's 158, they were front-engined, with narrow tyres and 1.5-litre supercharged or 4.5-litre aspirated engines.
The 1952 and 1953 World Championships were run to Formula Two regulations, for smaller, less powerful cars, due to concerns over the paucity of Formula One cars available. When a new Formula One, for engines limited to 2.5 litres, was reinstated to the world championship for 1954, Mercedes-Benz introduced the advanced W196, which featured innovations such as desmodromic valves and fuel injection as well as enclosed streamlined bodywork. Mercedes drivers won the championship for two years, before the team withdrew from all motorsport in the wake of the 1955 Le Mans disaster. An era of British dominance was ushered in by Mike Hawthorn and Vanwall's championship wins in 1958, although Stirling Moss had been at the forefront of the sport without securing the world title. Between Hawthorn, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, John Surtees and Graham Hill, British drivers won nine Drivers' Championships and British teams won fourteen Constructors' Championsh
Juan Manuel Fangio
Juan Manuel Fangio Déramo, nicknamed El Chueco or El Maestro, was an Argentine racing car driver. He dominated the first decade of Formula One racing, winning the World Drivers' Championship five times. From childhood, he abandoned his studies to pursue auto mechanics. In 1938, he debuted in Turismo Carretera, competing in a Ford V8. In 1940, he competed with Chevrolet, winning the Grand Prix International Championship and devoted his time to the Argentine Turismo Carretera becoming its champion, a title he defended a year later. Fangio competed in Europe between 1947 and 1949 where he achieved further success, he won the World Championship of Drivers five times—a record which stood for 47 years until beaten by Michael Schumacher—with four different teams, a feat that has not been repeated. He is regarded by many as one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time and holds the highest winning percentage in Formula One – 46.15% – winning 24 of 53 Formula One races he entered. Fangio is the only Argentine driver to have won the Argentine Grand Prix, having won it four times in his career—the most of any driver.
After retirement, Fangio presided as the honorary president of Mercedes-Benz Argentina from 1987, a year after the inauguration of his museum, until his death in 1995. In 2011, on the centenary of his birth, Fangio was remembered around the world and various activities were held in his honor. Fangio's grandfather, Giuseppe Fangio, emigrated to Buenos Aires from Italy in 1887. Giuseppe managed to buy his own farm near Balcarce, a small city in southern Buenos Aires Province, within three years by making charcoal from tree branches, his father, emigrated to Argentina from the small central Italian town of Castiglione Messer Marino in the Chieti province of the Abruzzo region. His mother, Herminia Déramo, was from Tornareccio to the north, they married on 24 October 1903, lived on farms where Herminia was a housekeeper and Loreto worked in the building trade, becoming an apprentice stonemason. Fangio was born in Balcarce on San Juan's Day 1911 at 12:10 am, his birth certificate was mistakenly dated 23 June by the Register of Balcarce.
He was the fourth of six children. In his childhood he became known as El Chueco, the bandy legged one, for his skill in bending his left leg around the ball to shoot on goal during football games. Fangio started his education at the School No. 4 of Balcarce, Calle 13 before transferring to School No. 1 and 18 Uriburu Av. When Fangio was 13, he worked as an assistant mechanic; when he was 16, he started riding as a mechanic for his employer's customers. He developed pneumonia, which proved fatal, after a football game where hard running had caused a sharp pain in his chest, he was bed-ridden for two months, cared for by his mother. After recovering, Fangio served compulsory military service at the age of 21. In 1932 he was enlisted at the Campo de Mayo cadet school near Buenos Aires, his driving skills caught the attention of his commanding officer, who appointed Fangio as his official driver. Fangio was discharged before his 22nd birthday after taking his final physical examination, he returned to Balcarce.
Along with his friend José Duffard he received offers to play at a club based in Mar del Plata. Their teammates at Balcarce suggested the two work on Fangio's hobby of building his own car and his parents donated space in a small section of their home where a rudimentary shed was built. After finishing his military service, Fangio raced in local events, he began his racing career in Argentina in 1934, which he had rebuilt. These local events were unlike anything in Europe or North America, they were long-distance races held on dirt roads up and down South America. During his time racing in Argentina, he drove Chevrolet cars and was Argentine National Champion in 1940 and 1941. One particular race, which he won in 1940, the Gran Premio del Norte, was 10,000 km long; this race started in Buenos Aires and ran up through the Andes to Lima and back again, taking nearly two weeks with stages held each day. Following many successes driving modified American stock cars. In the Tourism Highway category, Fangio participated in his first race between 18 and 30 October 1938 as the co-pilot of Luis Finocchietti.
Despite not winning the Argentine Road Grand Prix, Fangio drove most of the way and qualified in seventh place. In November of that year, he entered the "400 km of Tres Arroyos ", but it was suspended due to a fatal accident. In 1939, the circuit was in Forest, which conformed well with his last involvement with a Ford V8. With Hector Tieri as his partner, they led Turismo Carretera that year with a Chevrolet, competing for the Argentine Grand Prix. Suspended by a strong rain and resumed in Cordoba, he managed their first stage victory, winning the fourth stage from Catamarca to San Juan. In October, after 9500 km of competition in Argentina and Peru, he won his first race in Turismo Carretera, the Grand Prix International North, he became the first TC Argentine Champion to have driven a Chevrolet. In 1941, he beat Oscar Gálvez in the Grand Prix Getúlio Vargas in Brazil. For the second time, Fangio was crowned champion of Argentine TC. In 1942, he ended South Grand Prix in tenth place in accordance with the general classification.
In April he won the race "Mar y Sierras" and had to suspend the mechanic
1951 Indianapolis 500
The 35th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday, May 30, 1951. The event was part of the 1951 AAA National Championship Trail, was race 2 of 8 in the 1951 World Championship of Drivers. For the second year in a row, no European Formula One-based teams entered the race. Duke Nalon, who had suffered serious burns in a crash in 1949, who missed the 1950 race, made a comeback at Indy by winning the pole position in a Novi. Heavy attrition saw only eight cars running at the finish. Winner Lee Wallard's car lost its brakes, suffered a damaged exhaust pipe, broke a shock absorber mounting. In addition to the unbearably uncomfortable ride, Wallard had worn a fire retardant outfit, created by dipping his uniform in a mixture of borax crystals and water. Due to not wearing an undershirt, Wallard suffered serious chafing, required treatment at the infield hospital after the victory lane celebration, it was estimated. Wallard's winning car had the smallest displacement in the field.
About a week after winning the race, Wallard suffered severe burns in a crash at Reading, which ended his professional racing career. Three-time winner Mauri Rose, in his 15th Indy start and flipped on lap 126, it was his final 500. Time trials was scheduled for six days. Rain, pushed qualifying into a seventh day. Saturday May 12 – Pole Day time trials Sunday May 13 – Second day time trials Saturday May 19 – Third day time trials Sunday May 20 – Fourth day time trials Saturday May 26 – Fifth day time trials Sunday May 27 – Sixth day time trials Monday May 28 – Seventh day time trials Notes^1 – Includes 1 point for fastest lead lap First alternate: Bob Sweikert Pole position: Duke Nalon – 4:23.74 Fastest Lead Lap: Lee Wallard – 1:07.26 Ayulo and McGrath shared the same car. Points for 3rd position were shared between the drivers. World Drivers' Championship standingsNote: Only the top five positions are listed. Only the best 4 results counted towards the Championship; the race was carried live on the radio through a network arrangement set up by 1070 WIBC-AM of Indianapolis.
Mutual, which had carried the race for several years, had raised its advertising rates for 1951, lost its primary sponsor for the event, Perfect Circle Piston Rings. As a result, Mutual dropped the coverage altogether. Local station WIBC stepped in to cover the race, provided its feed to various Mutual affiliates. A total of 26 stations carried the broadcast. WIBC personality Sid Collins served as booth announcer, the remainder of the crew consisted of WIBC talent. Jim Shelton reported from his familiar turn four location, Collins interviewed the winner in victory lane. Like the Mutual broadcasts, WIBC featured live coverage of the start, the finish, 15-minute live updates throughout the race. Indianapolis 500 History: Race & All-Time Stats – Official Site Van Camp's Pork & Beans Presents: Great Moments From the Indy 500 – Fleetwood Sounds, 1975 1951 Indianapolis 500 at RacingReference.info
Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is a motor-racing circuit located in Stavelot, Belgium. It is referred to as Spa and is the venue of the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix, the Spa 24 Hours and 1000 km Spa endurance races, it is home to the all-Volkswagen club event, 25 Hours of Spa, run by the Uniroyal Fun Cup. It is one of the most challenging race tracks in the world due to its fast and twisty nature. Spa is a favourite circuit of many racing fans. Despite its name, the circuit is not in Spa but lies in the vicinity of the town of Francorchamps within the boundaries of the municipality of Stavelot, with a part in the boundaries of Malmedy. Designed in 1920 by Jules de Thier and Henri Langlois Van Ophem, the original course used public roads between the Belgian towns of Francorchamps and Stavelot; the track was intended to have hosted its inaugural race in August 1921, but this event had to be cancelled as there was only one entrant. The first car race was held at the circuit in 1922, 1924 saw the first running of the now famous 24 Hours of Francorchamps race.
The circuit was first used for Grand Prix racing in 1925. The original Spa-Francorchamps circuit was a speed course, with drivers managing higher average speeds than on other race tracks. At the time, the Belgians took pride in having a fast circuit, to improve average speeds, in 1939 the former slow uphill U-turn at the bottom of the Eau Rouge creek valley, called the Ancienne Douane, was cut short with a faster sweep straight up the hill, called the Raidillon. At Eau Rouge, southbound traffic was allowed to use the famous uphill corner, while the opposite downhill traffic had to use the old road and U-turn behind the grandstands, rejoining the race track at the bottom of Eau Rouge; the old race track continued through the now-straightened Kemmel curves to the highest part of the track went downhill into Les Combes, a fast banked downhill left-hand corner towards Burnenville, passing this village in a fast right hand sweep. Near Malmedy, the Masta straight began, only interrupted by the Masta Kink between farm houses before arriving at the town of Stavelot.
The track progressed through an uphill straight section with a few bends called La Carriere, going through two high-speed turns before braking hard for the La Source hairpin, that rejoined the downhill start finish section. Spa is located in the Belgian Ardennes countryside, the old circuit was, still is, used as everyday public road, there were houses, electric poles and other obstacles located right next to the track. Before 1970, there were no safety modifications of any kind done to the circuit and the conditions of the circuit were, aside from a few straw bales identical to everyday civilian use. Former Formula One racing driver and team owner Jackie Oliver was quoted as saying "if you went off the road, you didn't know what you were going to hit". Spa-Francorchamps was the fastest road circuit in Europe at the time, it had a reputation for being dangerous and fast – it demanded calmness from drivers, most were frightened of it; the old Spa circuit was unique in that speeds were high with hardly any let-up at all for three to four minutes.
This made it an extraordinarily difficult mental challenge, because most of the corners were taken at more than 180 miles per hour and were not quite flat – every corner was as important as the one before it. If a driver lifted the throttle more than expected whole seconds, not tenths, would be lost; the slightest error of any kind carried multiple harsh consequences, but this worked inversely: huge advantages could be gained if a driver came out of a corner faster. Like the Nürburgring and Le Mans circuits, which ran on public roads, Spa became notorious for fatal accidents, as there were many deaths each year at the ultra-high-speed track. At the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix, two drivers, Chris Bristow and Alan Stacey, were both killed within 15 minutes and Stirling Moss had crashed at Burnenville during practice and was injured; when Armco crash barriers were added to the track in 1970, deaths became less frequent, but the track was still notorious for other factors. The Ardennes forest had unpredictable weather and there were parts where it was raining and the track was wet, other parts where the sun was shining and the track was dry.
This factor was a commonality on long circuits, but the unpredictable weather at Spa, combined with the fact that it was a track with all but one corner being high-speed, made it one of the most dangerous race tracks in the world. As a result, the Formula 1 and motorcycle Grands Prix and 1000km sportscar races saw smaller than usual fields at Spa because most drivers and riders feared the circuit and did not like racing there. Multiple fatalities during the 1973 and 1975 24 Hours of Spa touring car races more or less sealed the old circuit's fate, by 1978, the last year Spa was in its original form, the only major races held there were the Belgian motorcycle Grand Prix and the Spa 24 Hours touring car race. In 1969, the Belgian Grand Prix was boycotted by the F1 drivers because of the extreme danger of Spa. There had been ten car racing fatalities in total at the track in the 1960s, including five in the two years previous