The Spa-Francorchamps circuit has played host to the Belgian Grand Prix since 1985 and is now a fan favourite thanks to the gorgeous scenery and the excellent racing we have so often seen there.
Spa’s Eau Rouge/Raidillon hill climb is one of the most famous sections of track in the world while corners like Les Combes, Pouhon, and Blanchimont provide challenges to both man and machine.
Finding an ideal setup for this circuit is very tricky. There are two lengthy flatout sections but also 20 corners, some of which bring the car down to Monaco levels of speed. Maintaining the balance between cornering performance and straight line speed is crucial.
How should you setup your car for the Belgian Grand Prix?
Spa’s long flatout sections from turn 1 to 7 and 15 to 19 requires a low-drag setup to maximise pace.
We have gone with a 2-4 setting here to really make the car slippery at top speed. It provides enough downforce to keep the car stable through the corners, and while the middle sector will be tricky to carry speed through you more than make up for it in the first and third sectors.
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Spa isn’t too tough on tyres, but it is a long lap and keeping the rears alive for the big traction zones is key to a quick lap.
We have set the on-throttle differential to 65% to help protect the rears when we put our foot down. It also helps prevent the car snapping when we accelerate on uneven surfaces which will happen here.
The off-throttle differential is a bit more locked up at 85%. This keeps the rears rotating more evenly and helps to drive the car out of the corners.
Suspension geometry is always tricky. Full right camber and full left toe is the quickest one lap setup to use for most circuits, but it leads to higher tyre wear.
Spa isn’t particularly harsh on tyres as the long straights give you a chance to cool the rubber and there aren’t too many prolonged corners that really stress them. As a result we can push the cambers to -2.80 & -1.30 and feel the advantage in cornering speed that provides.
Toe is moved to 0.08 & 0.32. It keeps the fronts responsive on turn-in and the rear stable on exit.
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Our suspension settings as always err on the softer side. We are running with a 2-2 setting to let the weight shift on acceleration and braking. This is especially helpful coming out of the slot turn 1 for the long run up to Les Combes.
The anti-roll bars are set to 6-4. This helps specifically with the triple-corner Les Combes but also most of the middle sector as it keeps the front responsive but without overloading the tyres.
Ride height is set to 3-4 to create a rake that will help add some of the turn-in effectiveness we lose with our low front wing.
Brake pressure is set to 90% to help us slow the car effectively. If you don’t use the ABS assist this will result in too many lockups so you should lower it into the 80s. Spa has a couple of big overtaking points though so the brake pressure should be as high as possible.
Brake bias is set to 54%. This keeps the front responsive under braking, though it does lower braking power a little. When lining up an overtake you can push the brake bias forward to 60-62 to help the car stop.
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While Spa isn’t harsh on tyres it is a long lap and to keep strategies open you should keep the tyre pressure fairly low. Fronts are set to 23.4 psi to reduce rolling resistance while rears are at 20.7 psi to aid traction and dissipate heat.
So that’s our setup for the Belgian Grand Prix. It is terrific for front-runners as in clear air it can really fly. In the pack it gives you terrific overtaking potential but following will be tricky due to the lack of aero performance. However the strategic flexibility will serve you well.
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