I hadn't planned on attending Spa Classic this year. In fact, I nearly missed the event entirely. Luckily, a friend texted me, 'I'm going to Spa. You should come. There will be Group C.'. He said the magic words... Group C. I've always wanted to experience these mythical beasts in the flesh and this would be my chance.
We had some small hold ups on the way to the track but we made it just in time. When we got to the grandstand at the straight just before the legendary Eau Rouge corner, the Group C cars were just being readied for their practice run, and hit the track a few minutes later. I can't begin to express how it feels to see these machines in action. Accelerating at full throttle out of the first corner of the track, La Source, they will attack Eau Rouge at nearly 300 kilometers per hour. It's hard to grasp just how fast that is. And the glorious, glorious sounds they make...
Of course, it wasn't only Group C at Spa Classic. The event is made up out of various racing classes, a lot of them focusing on the legendary endurance racers of yesterday. As we were strolling through the paddock, I turned around and spotted another astounding car - the Porsche 917. The rear tires of this thing are absolutely mad - they measure 15.0/26.0x15 - that means the tire is 15 inches wide and 26 inches tall and fits a 15 inch rim. I don't think I've ever seen a wider tire on a car, apart from some dedicated drag cars.
I had never been to Spa before and only knew the track from videos and racing games. None of these do the track any justice - the elevation changes are considerable! And the track is way bigger than you would expect as well.
The paddock was open and accessible to everyone and it made it possible to get up close and personal with some of the cars and have a look at what makes them tick.
I was also very happy to see my favorite race car of all time present - the BMW M1 Procar. There were three of them lapping the course later in the day. Powered by BMW's M88 inline six engine, the M1 is one of the best sounding cars of all time.
I think what I love most about classic race cars is the fact that they are an experience for all of your senses. They look beautiful, they sound incredible, you can feel it in your gut when they blast past you... and they spit flames. Lots of flames. This could be seen perfectly from the straight before the last pair of corners (which are called 'the bus stop').
Finally we marched back around up to Eau Rogue as it was finally time for the Group C race. It was even more surreal seeing the cars blast up the Eau Rogue from the top of the corner. The pictures don't do the speed any justice.
Vintage racing is one of the best experiences motorsports has got to offer. If you have the chance to go attend a classic motorsports event, I urge you to do it - especially if there is something as beastly as Group C!