The Spa Francorchamps track layout is the longest on the Formula 1 calendar. It’s now only half the length of the original death-defying circuit that was used in the early 1900s, but is still a favourite with drivers and spectators.
2022 saw some drastic upgrades and changes to the circuit, and now there are actually two separate configurations of the Belgian track.
This article details the Spa Francorchamps circuit layouts and provides information on the track length, number of corners, length of straights and top speeds, pit lanes, DRS Zones, sectors and what’s changed over the years.
Old Spa Francorchamps circuit layout
Spa Francorchamps was first used as a race circuit in the late 1920s. Back then the track looked completely different. It was over 14km / 9 miles long and used public roads linking the three towns of Mameldy, Stavelot and Francorchamps.
It was an incredibly fast circuit with mostly long, open, sweeping corners. The race organisers wanted the track to be as fast as possible, removing a slow hairpin section known as Ancient Douane and replacing it with the incredible Eau Rouge and Raidillon corners.
The image below shows the size of the old circuit in comparison to the new (current) one.
As the years went on and race car technology improved the speeds drivers were hitting on the track went up and up. Some of the corners could be taken at over 290kph / 180mph. In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s F1 drivers would average over 240kph / 150mph over the course of a whole lap.
With very little safety protection surrounding the circuit many drivers, spectators and even marshals were killed at Spa. The circuit grew a reputation for being incredibly fast, unforgiving and downright scary. Drivers eventually refused to race there on the grounds of safety. F1 drivers boycotted the 1969 Grand Prix because of 5 deaths in the 2 previous years.
In 1979 the circuit was changed dramatically and reduced to around half its original length, cutting out many of the high speed open road sections. This turned it in to the Spa Francorchamps track layout we know and love today.
2022 changes to Spa Francorchamps layout
In the late 1990s and early 2000s the FIM (equivalent to the FIA but for motorbike racing) held yearly rounds of the 24 hour motorbike Endurance World Championship (EWC) at Spa. But safety concerns over the speeds, lack of run-off and adequacy of safety barriers meant that bike racing ceased at Spa after 2001.
At the end of the 2021 season the diggers and tarmac laying machines set to work on some of the upgrading and changing the circuit layout to make it safe for motorbikes. This mainly consisted of relaying smoother tarmac, increasing run-off areas and improving safety barriers.
The most drastic and obvious change was at Speed Corner (also known as Speakers Corner or No-Name). The large bank on the outside of the turn meant the run-off area couldn’t be expanded there.
Instead the barrier on the inside of the corner was moved a long way back and a new section of track was laid further to the inside of the existing corner. This increased run-off and satisfied the FIM safety regulations. Once the circuit upgrades were finished the 24hour EWC bike race returned to the circuit in June 2022.
Spa Francorchamps track layout
As of 2022 there are now two different circuit configurations at Spa Francorchamps:
- Grand Prix Circuit
- Motorcycle Circuit
Grand Prix Circuit layout
The Grand Prix Circuit at Spa Francorchamps is 4.352 miles / 7.004km long. It’s used for all car racing events at Spa including the Formula 1 Grand Prix, 24 hour race and the Spa Classic.
Below is a map of the current Spa Francorchamps Grand Prix Circuit layout.
Motorcycle Circuit layout
The Motorcycle Circuit at Spa Francorchamps is 4.341 miles / 6.985km long. The new section of track on the inside of Speed Corner shortens the overall circuit ever so slightly. This layout is used for all motorbike racing events at the track including the 24hour EWC and the Spa 6 hour Motos.
Below is a map of the Spa Francorchamps Motorcycle circuit layout.
Spa Francorchamps circuit has a total of 19 corners. This includes three corners at the legendary Eau Rouge and Raidillon section (left, right, left) but doesn’t count the slight kink on the Kemmel Straight or the one after La Source as corners.
Below is a list of all of the corners at Spa Francorchamps:
1 – La Source
2 – Eau Rouge
3 – Raidillon (right)
4 – Raidillon (left)
5 – Les Combes (right)
6 – Les Combes (left)
7 – Malmedy
8 – Bruxelles (also known as Rivage)
9 – Speed Corner (also known as Speakers Corner or No-Name
10 – Pouhon (also known as Double-Gauche)
11 – Pouhon (also known as Double-Gauche)
12 – Les Fagnes (right)
13 – Les Fagnes (left)
14 – Stavelot (also known as Campus)
15 – Curve Paul Frere
16 – Blanchimont
17 – Blanchimont
18 – Chicane (right)
19 – Chicane (left)
The slowest corner at Spa Francorchamps is Chicane corner (Turn 19) which is the final corner on the track. Specifically it’s the second part of the corner that’s the slowest, the left hander on to the main straight. F1 cars drop to a minimum speed of 75kph / 46mph at the apex.
Chicane is slower than La Source, the tight hairpin bend that’s the first corner on the circuit. There F1 cars will reach a minimum speed of around 83kph / 52mph.
The fastest corner at Spa Francorchamps is Blanchimont (Turn 17). Here F1 cars will drop to a minimum speed of 310kph / 192mph as they turn in to the left hander completely flat out towards the end of the lap.
The second fastest corner at Spa is Raidillon. Turn right at the bottom of the hill after passing through Eau Rouge the cars will drop to a minimum speed of 300kph / 186mph before emerging over the crest and joining the Kemmel Straight. That’s followed closely by Pouhon where the F1 cars dip to a minimum speed just under 300kph.
How long does a lap take?
At the 2022 F1 Belgian Grand Prix the fastest lap time set during qualifying at the Spa Francorchamps circuit was 1:43.665 set by Max Verstappen. See all of the Spa lap records and fastest lap times.
The fastest lap in the 2022 24 hours of Spa qualifying session was 2:16.375 set by a Mercedes AMG GT3 driven by Joules Gounon, Dani Jucadella and Raffaele Marciello.
How many laps in an F1 race at Spa Francorchamps?
The 2022 F1 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps lasted for 44 laps. Drivers covered a total distance of 191 miles / 307 km.
Check out the Spa F1 timetable to see when the practice sessions, qualifying and race starts this year.
How long is the straight at Spa Francorchamps?
The longest straight on the Spa Francorchamps track layout is the Kemmel Straight. From the exit of Raidillon where the cars come over the crest to the turn in point for Les Combes the Kemmel Straight at Spa is 1.05km / 0.65miles long.
The Kemmel Straight is one of the DRS Zones at Spa for the F1 Belgian Grand Prix. When drivers have DRS active during the race they can reach over 350kph / 217mph at the end of the straight.
There are two DRS Zones at Spa. One on the start / finish straight and one on the Kemmel Straight, as mentioned above. Below is a map showing these.
Read our article on the Spa Francorchamps DRS Zones for more information on these.
For the Formula 1 event there are three timing sectors at the Spa Francorchamps circuit. These are marked by two split timing lines S1 and S2 as shown on the map below.
S1 is the boundary before Sectors 1 and 2 and is 145 metres before Turn 5 (Les Combes). S2 is the boundary between Sectors 2 and 3 and is 48 metres before Turn 15 (Curve Paul Frere).
The Formula 1 pit lane at Spa Francorchamps is 653 metres / 2144ft long and runs parallel with the start / finish straight. That’s the distance from the point at which the pit lane entry leaves the main circuit at Turn 19 to the point where the pit lane exit blend line finishes just after the exit of Turn 1.
It usually takes a Formula 1 car around 23 seconds to transit the pitlane, including a pit stop of 2 to 3 seconds. That’s from the time they cross the pit lane entry line and have to adhere to the 80kph speed limit to the time they cross the pit exit line and can accelerate.
There is a second pitlane at Spa known as the Endurance Pit Lane. This combines the main F1 pit lane with a second set of pit garages that run parallel to the circuit between La Source and Eau Rouge. It’s used for races with larger grids of cars such as the World Endurance Championship and the Spa 24 hour race.
The pink line on the image below shows the Endurance Pit Lane.
The pit lane entry is in the same place, but the pit lane re-joins the circuit after Raidillon, just past the kink on the Kemmel Straight.
The total length of the Endurance Pit Lane at Spa Francorchamps is 1.02km / 0.63 miles. That must surely make it the longest pit lane in the world!