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2018 Spa Six Hours
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|    2018   |  

Mark the calendar
Many historic racers put a mark their calendar each year for the Spa Six Hours. Like the name suggests the feature race of the event is a six-hour endurance race held for sports and GT cars from the late 1950s and 1960s. Running into the evening the Spa Six Hours Endurance provides the unique atmosphere of long distance, night-time racing. In addition to the feature race, the weekend was jam-packed with support races that alone could headline regular events. Among them were all of the Masters grids, which included the FIA Formula One Championship and the Endurance Legends for recent sports prototypes and GT racers. Other interesting fields were the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association for earlier Grand Prix cars and the U2TC race for two-litre touring cars.
Fortunately, summer hung on for one more weekend at Spa-Francorchamps. This allowed us to capture all the action in relative comfort. the result is this 200-shot gallery from all the highlights of the weekend.

All comers racing
One of the most unusual grids of the weekend was for the Historic Sports Car Club (HSCC). The two 30-minute races were open to all HSCC members and combined the fields that usually race separately. As a result, the colourful field included anything from a Cosworth DFV engined Lola T282 to MG Bs, Jaguar XK120s and a Ford Sierra Cosworth. Leo Voyazides started the first race on pole in his T282 but finished a delayed fourth. Taking the victory in the opening round were Robert Brooks and Victoria Brooks in their Lola T212. In race 2, there were no such issues for Voyazides and he clinched the win. Another colourful grid was for the Woodcote & Stirling Moss trophies. It boasted a 56-strong grid of 1950s sports racers. Oliver Bryant started on pole with the Lotus 15 he shared with his father Grahame. The father and son line-up looked set to clinch victory until the alternator failed. This promoted Chris Ward to the lead and ultimately the victory in his spectacularly driven Lister Jaguar.

The Masters
Making up the bulk of the support program were the various Masters Historic Racing grids. Among the most spectacular of these was the Masters Endurance Legends race for recent GT and sports prototypes. Among the entries were a pair of Peugeot 908 HDI Faps and one of the Prodrive built Ferrari 550 GTS Maranellos. Both races were, however, won by Christophe d'Ansembourg in his howling Lola-Aston Martin. He also won the first of two FIA Masters Historic Formula One races with his Williams FW07C. The second race featured a reverse grid for the first eight cars. d'Ansembourg managed to fight his way all the way up to second in the second 25-minute race but could not catch up with Michael Cantillon in a similar Williams. One of the most attractive fields of the weekend was for the Masters Historic Sports Car Championship. Taking on the flock of Lolas and Chevrons were Banks brothers Andrew and Max in their McLaren M6B. They qualified the ex-Jo Bonnier machine on pole and grabbed the victory in the one-hour race.

Spa Six Hours Endurance
The weekend's headliner featured a startling 114-strong field. Among them were over a dozen Ford GT40s. To be fair, most of these were toolroom copies but as a result they were driven on the edge by the owners, who were often joined by professional drivers. Qualifying on pole was the GT40 shared by father and son Bryant and James Cottingham. Unfortunately, a broken valve spring ended their charge early. Many of the other GT40s ran into trouble or were unlucky while re-fuelling at one of the four regular pumps in the paddock. There were few if any issues for the GT40 started second on the grid by Marcus Count von Oeyenhausen and Nico Verdonck. They beat five other GT40s to the victory in the race that was shortened to just five hours and twenty minutes due to a late start. Unfortunately, there was a heavy accident late in the race, which saw a Jaguar E-Type crash heavily at Blanchimont. The driver was injured but the latest reports suggest that he will make a complete recovery.

Final thoughts
For many reasons, the Spa Six Hours is an event like no other. With track action from dusk till well past dawn each day, this year's edition provided spectacular racing throughout the weekend. All this, and much more can be found in our 200-shot gallery.

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Report by Wouter Melissen and images by Wouter Melissen and Pieter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com