Tuesday, March 4, 2014

1955 Belgian Grand Prix (Shell Film)

Stirling Moss in the rainy practice for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps in 1955, in the all-conquering
Mercedes-Benz W 196.  He came second to team leader Juan Fangio in a dry race. 

I thought I'd seen about all the old film there was to see of Old Spa (make that Old Old Spa) on YouTube, but no.  This one is excellent.  It runs 30 minutes.  It alternately made me smile, and gape, and gasp, and cringe.  And then smile and gape and gasp and cringe again.

Thanks to Stirling Moss's website for the link.


Around 1955 Spa was locked in combat with Reims to be "the fastest real road course in the world."(Monza was excluded because it was a closed circuit.)  And so it was around this time that Stavelot was changed from a hairpin bend near the town to a banked sweeper that bypassed it.  "New Stavelot" is prominent in the film, along with the still-used Eau Rouge-Raidillon complex.  (New New Stavelot is the right-hander on the modern infield segment just before it rejoins the old course on the run up to Blanchimont.)

For still pix of Old Spa in 2010, here's a link to a previous post on this blog:



Wannabe Hotshoe said...

Wonderful footage - not spoiled by hollywood subplots! Love these historical perspectives, showing how raw racing used to be before being sanitized by sponsorship dollars and safety gods. Fascinating to watch mechanics reaching right into the hot engine bays without gloves.....working on a regular run-of-the-mill factory racecar that today would top 4 or 5 million at auction. I imagine these images were flashing through Pilote's memory as he drove the roads on vacation, eh? Very, very cool

Pilote Ancien said...

Yeah, it was SOMETHING to drive in the tire tracks of my heros from the 50's, 60's, and 70's, on the most daunting course of all.

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