News 29 May 2024

GB3 aces head to the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit

This coming weekend GB3 heads to one of the most famous circuits in motorsport. The legendary Spa-Francorchamps is the host for round three of this year’s GB3 Championship and our three racers can’t wait to drive one of the greatest, and most historic circuits in the world.

Heading to the Belgian Ardennes, Will Macintyre sits third in the GB3 drivers’ standings (with two wins) just ten points off the top, while just another ten points behind is Tymek Kucharczyk – who was also a race winner last time out at Silverstone. Gerrard Xie is currently on 77 points and with a busy weekend of track time all three Hitech GP drivers are aware there is scope to come away from Spa with a decent haul of points.

The rural roads in the Belgian High Fens have been holding motor races since the 1920s. Today, the modern Spa circuit is a shorter version of the original course, but at 7km it is still the longest layout on the GB3 calendar. It’s also a drivers’ favourite. The fast, sweeping corners and elevation changes demand bravery and also a delicate touch, especially if Spa’s infamous fickle climate leads to an unexpected rain shower.

“I’ve never raced on any of the European circuits before, so I’m really looking forward to getting out on track at Spa,” says Will. “I’ve done what feels like millions of laps on the Hitech GP simulator so I’m feeling pretty confident ahead of the weekend. Last year Hitech GP were strong at Spa, so I’m confident we’ll have some good races here.”

From the tight opening corner at La Source, the Spa circuit features some of the most iconic corners in the world. The run down to Eau Rouge, then up Raidillon takes the cars to the limit, but a good exit is crucial to fend off a rival behind who’ll have picked up the slipstream along the Kemmel Straight to Les Combes.

“I made some good overtakes myself there last year,” says Gerrard. “Up through Eau Rouge to the first chicane is the best place on the lap to pass. After that sector the circuit narrows and with the high-speed corners you pick up a lot of aero wash from the car in front. Last year we were lucky we didn’t have any rain… but you can never rule it out.”

Further around the lap, Pouhon and Blanchimont are fearsome left-handers that punish the front-right tyre. Setup around the lap is always a compromise between low drag for the straights, but having enough downforce to achieve a competitive lap time in the middle sector.

“Racing at somewhere like Spa is a big deal for our careers,” says Tymek. “Spa is one of the best tracks in the world. It’s a challenge, but getting the experience to race it now will help us for the future. Also the characteristics of Spa are different to UK circuits like Oulton Park and Brands Hatch because the margin for error is bigger – so we can take a bit more risk.”

After two days of practice and qualifying on Friday afternoon, race one takes place on Saturday at 11.45 local time (10.45 UK), race two 16.40 (15.40 UK) with the final race at 13.55 (12.55 UK).

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