Euroboss F1 race at SPA
2008 was a fantastic year … and not only because I celebrated my 30th anniversary !
This was a fabulous racing season, I took a lot of fun driving the Vipers and participating in major events such as Goodwood. Also fabulous cars have passed through my hands this year and being firstly a passionate and secondly a dealer this meant a lot to me.
Winter is there and a lot of snow felt in France, tracks are now very far, this is the reason why I wanted to share what I have kept secret until then … my first Formula 1 race and then recall to my memory this outstanding experience, actually my own present for my 30th birthday …
This held during the Euroboss F1 race at Spa-Francorchamps in September, no need to recall Spa is the most fabulous track in the world, high speed curves uphill-dowhill and the “Raidillon de l’Eau Rouge” which is probably the most terrific one a driver could face.
The Benetton B188 was completely dismantled from January to August, gearbox, suspension ( renewed and crack tested ), brakes were rebuilt. The Cosworth-DFR engine was sent to Nicholson McLaren in UK with a full rebuild done and was dyno tested at 600 HP…
Though having raced a lot of GT race cars including GT1s I had never raced or even driven a Formula then my first experience with this type of cars would be with a 600 HP / 530 kg Formula 1 at SPA track. Crazy am I ? no but most likely not thwarted by danger !!!
Fortunately SPA track was not new to me as I had already done some laps a few month ago for a test day with a Viper, my friend Vincent Vosse ( famous Belgian driver ) spent one hour to tell me about the track and how to drive such a car there before the Sunday race. This learnt a lot to me but I did not try the Radillon “flat” as he advised me !!!
On Saturday, the Benetton didn’t work well in practice and I couldn’t take part to the qualifying in the afternoon, soon the problem was found … the fuel filter was obstructed by Silicon. Very short in time due to August holidays the first run was done at SPA.
On Sunday, based on the free practice time I was not last on the grid, and after the first lap I had passed 5 cars. I decided then to be very quiet as for my first F1 race the most important was to see the chequered flag. The Blanchimont curve almost flat at more than 260 km/h is a fabulous experience.
It was a huge emotion for me during the final lap as I was born in the same town as Alain Prost and used to live at only 200m from his house. Most of my interest and passion for race cars grew up viewing the F1 races on TV, seeing my neighbour and idol winning four World Championships.
This is the same passion that still leads me into my work, the Spa week end was an old dream, I’m glad I had the chance it came true.