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24 facts about
the 24 Hours

1. The 24 hours of Spa is 1 year younger than the 24 hours of Le Mans. Dating from 1924, it was designed to show the French that anything they can do, Belgians can do it better.

2. The first 24 hour challenge was, ironically, won by two French drivers. Henri Springuel and Maurice Becquet, in an obscure Bignan 2L at an average speed of 78.33kph.

3. In 1953 the 24 hour competition was included in the World Sportscar Championship and that saw F1 drivers Nino Farina and Mike Hawthorn team up to seize the podium with Ferrari 375 MM Pinin.

4. The 1993 race was stopped 15 hours into the competition due to the death of the Belgium’s King Baudouin.

5. The 2003 race marked the only time the winning crew had been made up entirely of Le Mans winners: Romain Dumas, Stephane Ortelli and Marc Lieb.

6. And in 2004, a woman – namely Swiss racer Lilian Bryner – was among the winning line-up for the first time.

7. This year marks the 69th edition of the 24 hours of Spa. The race wasn’t held in 1935, ’37, from ‘39 to ‘47, from ‘50 to ‘52 and again from ’54 to ‘63.

8. This year 64 GT3 cars and over 34 teams made up of 3 or 4 drivers.

9. Two unique items from the news surrounding the 2017 pilots: The ex-F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella will be joining team Kaspersky Motorsport behind the wheel of a Ferrari 488 GT3 and England’s Abigail Eaton will be the only female participant, also in a Ferrari, but with team AFcorse.

10. BMW won for 23rd time in 2016 with their GT3 M6 on its Spa debut, making the German firm the most successful manufacturer ever at Spa.

11. Speaking of German manufacturers, the first driver on the list of the 2017 24 Hours is Japanese driver Nobuteru Taniguchi of Good Smile Racing & Team UKYO in a Mercedes-AMG GT3, numbered 00.

12. In 2016 Pirelli brought 13,000 tyres to the race in total (including tyres for the support series) and practically all of them were used. That’s a lot of tyres.

13. And on average during the first 20 hours a tyre was fitted every 21 seconds - with an incredible maximum output of a tyre every 14 seconds during peak fitting. A record we will be aiming to beat this year!

14. The 60-strong field gets through close to 135,000 litres of fuel last year.

15. Some 60,000 spectators turn up to watch the race, while 20,000 fans typically turn up to admire the parade going from the track to the centre of Spa for the annual autograph session.

16. ‘Frites-Mayonnaise’ – the staple food of the Spa 24 Hours – may be known as ‘French fries’ but they were actually invented in Belgium in the 17th century. Fishermen from the Meuse River had been in the habit of deep-frying small fish for many years, but during a particularly bad winter the river froze – so they took to deep-frying potatoes instead.

17. More than 5000 espresso coffees were drunk by Pirelli personnel and guests during the 24 Hours week (but only two boxes of Red Bull).

18. Despite being ubiquitously referred to as ‘Spa’, the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is actually within a triangle formed by the towns of Francorchamps, Malmedy and Stavelot.

19. The original Spa circuit was 15 kilometres long – until it was sensibly ‘shortened’ to 14 kilometres in 1947. The current seven-kilometre layout was inaugurated in the early 1980s, but still very much maintains the character of the original.

20. The village of Spa has been popular since at least the ninth century for the healing properties of its water. Eventually, the small Belgian community became synonymous with healing waters, and now there are spas around the world, taking their name from the original.

21. Spa is also home to the oldest casino in the world, which began construction in 1763.

22. In Formula 1, the Pirelli fitting area – where tyres are fitted to the rims – is usually, if not within, near the paddock. At the European rounds it typically consists of two tents and abroad can occasionally be found in permanent circuit facilities. At the 24 Hours of Spa, there isn’t a fitting area, but rather a Fitting Village. to host a fleet of 24 two tier camions.

23. One of the main attractions of the Spa 24 Hour weekend are the concerts on Saturday evening. This year will include a line-up of rock and electronic music: something for everyone!

     17:30 The Planes

     19:30 Mel Gaynor

     21:30 Simon Le Saint

     23:30 Henri PFR

     00:30 Chuckie

     01:30 Simon Le Saint

24. At the 22nd hour of Spa, the Hungarian Grand Prix will begin in Budapest and we'll show how we've mastered the art of being everywhere

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