6 Hours of Spa 2014
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6 Hours of Spa: King Elan

In typical Ardennes weather conditions, the 6 hours of Spa were held at the Francorchamps circuit on 20 September.

Under the generic name of 6 hours, 12 races take place in Francorchamps that are held on Saturday and Sunday, with Friday's day devoted to training to establish the order of the different starting grids. From September 19 to 21, 2014, the 6 Hours of Spa reached its 22nd edition, confirming the success and incentives to which the organizers have us accustomed.

However, aside from the cold statistical figures, my general impression is that in 2014 the number of participants dropped somewhat with respect to previous most popular editions.

By typically Ardennesian conditions, to which we alluded earlier, we understand a sudden change from sun and clear skies to torrential rains in a short space of time. In a matter of minutes, a dry track can turn into a swimming pool where speeding cars have the effect of a plunge that knocks them out of control before they can change tires.

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Incidents and Incentives

This is precisely what happened on Saturday, when the 6 o'clock start was given under a splendid sky and after a few minutes of racing a terrible downpour was unleashed, producing accidents and chained track starts. A three-car chain collision took place on the grandstand straight, just above the finish line.

Fortunately, there were no personal injuries and only the cars were damaged. Remember that just a few weeks ago there was the last fatal accident in classic car competition at the British Silverstone circuit, when Denis Welsh died driving a Lotus in July, whose shadow hovered for a few moments over Francorchamps.

The safety cars intervened several times, leaving the race neutralized and allowing the teams to deploy their best strategy, changing tires, refueling and taking turns with the drivers without being penalized by the timer.

To win at Francorchamps, which is a fast type circuit, with a strong and long climb uphill, the recipe is the power of the engines. It is not surprising that in recent years the top positions have been taken by the Ford GT40, a circumstance that was confirmed again in 2014.

6 Hours of Spa 2014
The GT40s go on the attack and take the lead right from the start

The Ford GT40

No less than 10 Ford GT40s started the test, of which 7 were at the top of the grid, with one in ninth place and another two in places 11 and 12.

As expected, as soon as the starting flag was lowered, The GT40s set a pace that very few could follow, distancing itself notably from the rest of the competitors until the first storm broke out in the course of the first hour, with a Jaguar E rapidly climbing to fifth. In the second hour, 3 Jaguar E occupied the fifth, sixth and seventh positions, with one of the GT40s falling back to No. 89.

King Elan

However, the king of the difficult day was undoubtedly a Lotus Elan (header photo) that, having started in twentieth position, climbed positions and overtook the cars without the most powerful ones being able to prevent it.

To the admiration of both the public and its competitors, the British team consisting of Wilson, Wolfe and Stirling managed to rise to seventh place in the general classification, behind 5 Ford GT40s and a Jaguar E, ahead of a sixth GT40 classified in eighth position.

As a comparative data, the fastest lap of the Lotus Elan was timed at 139,100 km / h, while that of the Ford GT40 ranked eighth was 146,171 km / h, which indicates a greater regularity of the Elan maintained during the tough 6-hour test.

In circumstances of precarious stability, The Lotus Elan has the magic formula to defeat its most powerful adversaries: lightness, maneuverability and braking. It must also be taken into account that the difference in purchase price between a Ford GT40 and a Lotus Elan is abysmal, as is the unbeatable cost of maintenance of the Elan, which makes it an ideal car for beginners and teams with modest means that, however, can give a check to the best-endowed teams.

The race was won by the Ferrao-Stretton team's Ford GT40, ahead of Voyazides and Hadfield's GT40.

No Spanish team ventured to participate on this occasion.

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In the Spa rain with an Austin-Healey 3000

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The races

The different races that take place during the weekend are the following:

Junior Formula

Masters Tourism category (pre-66)

Woodcote and Stirling Moss Trophies

FIA Masters Formula 1 Championship

U2TC Historic Motor Competition

Masters Gentlemen Drivers

Historic Grand Prix Car Association

CanAm Interserie Challenge

Historic Engine GT U2TC

Historic Car Club Sport category

FIA Masters Championship Sport category

6 hour endurance race

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6 Hours of Spa 2014
Fierro places his Maserati 250F on the starting grid

Spanish

Spanish teams, always scarce in international classical competition, they shone again by their absence, not only in the 6 hour race, but in the rest of the scheduled disciplines. Joaquín Folch, who is usually one of the regulars in the top Francorchamps categories, although he was on the list of entries, did not appear on the starting grid.

On the contrary, Guillermo Fierro, whose presence we detected at the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, performed for the first time at Francorchamps, achieving an excellent result by obtaining fifth place in the general classification in his Grand Historical Cars Association career. Prize on Sunday 21st.

Starting tenth on the starting grid, Fierro moved into eighth position fifteen minutes from the end of the race, moving to sixth place one minute from the end. In the course of the last lap, Fierro gained one more place, finishing in fifth position.

Guillermo Fierro was kind enough to tell me about his participation in classic competition, as well as to present in detail his extraordinary Maserati 250F from 1957, with an interesting history in competition, since it has been a car driven by Francisco Godia (in rental and not owned, since as we know Godia later had another similar 250F), Fierro's car was also used in competition by Luigi Musso, Stirling Moss and Luigi Villoresi, among others.

For a long time, The Maseratis have been a bit in the shadow of their fellow Ferraris, However, with the arrival of the centenary of the brand they are obtaining a deserved recognition, since they are authentic grand prix cars.

We will now admire some of its six-cylinder engines, without being fooled by the twelve spark plugs and two magnets, since they are dual-ignition engines.

6 Hours of Spa 2014
Hartley's Arrows A4 has all the ballots to win the championship

FIA Masters Formula 1 Championship

The top category, also in classics, is still Formula 1, although the starting grid was less crowded than on other occasions, with only 16 participants.

Briton Hartley is confirmed as the fastest of the season who, at the wheel of his Arrows A4, again won Sunday's race, having finished second in Saturday's.

The Shadow of Your Smile

Two Shadows were active in their respective F1 and Can-Am categories, sporting the color of the shadows. There was no other car as ugly on the track as the German Lagaaij's Shadow MK1 Can-Am, whose shapes are reminiscent of a place where we will all be sooner or later and not of our own free will.

Slightly less gloomy, the French Audi Formula 5 Shadow DN1 (so spelled as the car brand), was JP Jarier's car in his active life.

Ferrari

Among the many examples of the Maranello brand, we will highlight the one that happens to be the least Ferrari among the Ferraris, that is, the Dino. However, it was precisely a 246S with a V6 Dino engine that was the best classified, obtaining second place in his career for the Woodcote and Stirling Moss Trophies.

Tires

It is no secret that tires are an essential part of which victory depends on many occasions. Classic teams are equipped with as much variety of tires as the weather conditions require. The qualities of the tires put grip over durability, so just the budget for wheels and tires for a single race would ruin anyone without consistent financial backing.

6 Hours of Spa 2014
It takes mountains of expensive tires to race a weekend

Curiosities

In the paddock we observed the presence of a beautiful Montesa registered in Great Britain.

A store specializing in advertising posters relaunched a reprint of posters announcing the great prizes in Francorchamps, highlighting one of June 1947 with a very well achieved atmosphere.

In the visitor parking lot that, as we know It is sometimes as interesting to visit as the paddock itself inside the circuit, rare cars abounded. By rare we must understand not the most beautiful cars or the ugliest, the most expensive or the cheapest, but those that we see rarely, even those that we discover for the first time.

Among them, we will mention Midas (not one but two had come), in memory of the king who transformed everything he touched into gold; Has anyone ever heard of a Helguero Sport? We have seen it and had to get closer to convince ourselves that it was not a Ferrari; Is there a more ugly and disproportionate car than the Pacer X? I personally don't know what they were thinking when they designed it. It seems that it was not reliable from a mechanical point of view either.

Prices

The general ticket gives the right to access the paddock and grandstands, as well as the pit area up to the Pit Lane (demarcation with the circuit itself), it costs 30 euros for the weekend and 20 euros only for Sunday. Parking is paid separately as it is managed by another company, its rates vary according to location.

The Golden Potato

The Belgian national dish par excellence is simple: a cone of fried potatoes with sauce to the taste of the consumer.

The euro, responsible for a rise in prices without the modulation allowed by national currencies (sudden increases in a product of the order of 166 pesetas were rare, however now a rise of 1 euro has that impact), has led to the potato chip cone that cost 3 euros (500 pesetas) in 2013, has risen to 4 euros in 2014 (664 pesetas, with which before you could eat something else, even outside of Spain).

However, a visit to Francorchamps is not complete. without having eaten a good cone of chips at the foot of the old control tower, watching (and hearing) the cars go by towards the starting grid.

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What do you think?

Mario Laguna

Written by Mario Laguna

Mario Laguna, author of the book "The Pegaso Adventure", scholar and observer of the history of motor racing, brands and characters. Regular visitor to automobile competitions, whether of current or historical categories, international contests of elegance, lecturer ... View all

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