Spa-Francorchamps is a notoriously intimidating circuit, even when it’s bone dry. Last weekend, it was most definitely not dry. It was flooding, actually.
Stavelot, the town in which Spa resides, got absolutely walloped with rain on Friday. So much so that a nearby river overflowed its banks, sending in water over the circuit’s fences down its main straight, just after the La Source hairpin, and pooling down into Eau Rouge. Not Raidillon, as I had to remind myself, but definitely Eau Rouge, so named for the stream that runs beneath it.
The damage was so profound that crews acted quickly to begin resurfacing the front straight and making other repairs over the weekend, according to officials from the Belgian circuit.
The track, at the level of the endurance grandstand, which due to the power of nature’s elements had been raised, is being re-laid. There is also damage to the sides of the track and a thorough cleaning operation is essential. The current of water not only brought water but also dragged a fair amount of soil and mud with it.
The stone walls in certain parts around the circuit have also been affected, among others at the level of the Eau Rouge, and at the exit of the ‘24 Hour pitlane.’ Here also the stone wall will be reinforced.
In addition, many areas of the Circuit have been flooded, among others the boxes and cellars, as also the Ster, Eau Rouge and Blanchimont tunnels.
Videos and the photo below shared to Twitter by Lotus Cup Europe team ES Motorsport illustrated just how bad the situation was. “Unfortunately we have just been told the weekend has been cancelled in Spa,” the team tweeted on Friday. “Gutted but the track and tunnels are falling apart.”
Not surprising that the race got canceled when you look at the track.
That’s just the water that flowed in from the banks outside the main grandstand. A geyser also formed within the pit lane, further contributing to the deluge from the opposite side of the track. For a region named after its immaculate mineral water, it does not look like water I’d want to drink.
As many racing fans will tell you, Spa and precipitation often go hand-in-hand, though not usually to this degree. When Spa is wet but not so wet as to prevent racing, bad things can happen. The track says “staff and the subcontractors are doing everything in their power” to ensure normal activities resume Tuesday.
Coincidentally, the 24 Hours of Nürburgring also transpired over the weekend, and the Nürburgring is located just 50 miles to the east of Spa. That race was postponed 14 hours from 9:30 p.m. local time until 11:40 a.m. the following morning due to a blanket of fog limiting visibility in parts of the 13-mile Nordschleife course. The result was the shortest-ever Nürburgring 24 Hours in the event’s history, though an adorable Dacia Logan finished the race so it wasn’t all bad.