Successful Total 24 Hours of Spa parade puts fans at the heart of the action
Thousands of fans lined the roads into Spa town centre today as a phenomenal collection of contemporary and classic cars took part in the annual Total 24 Hours of Spa parade.
An essential part of the week-long festivities, the event was received as enthusiastically as ever ahead of the race’s landmark 70th edition.
While the 24 Hours can celebrate a history that stretches back to 1924, not all of its traditions are quite this old. First staged as recently as 2002, the parade has quickly become an immensely popular and firmly established part of the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
Each year has seen the event grow bigger, both in terms of the participating machinery and the number of fans who attend, and 2018 proved to be no exception to this upward trajectory.
As ever, all of the cars that will take part in the Total 24 Hours of Spa were part of proceedings. That meant no fewer than 13 different brands were on show, representing a roll call of the world’s premier GT manufacturers.
What’s more, a number of iconic racing machines from the past and some highly impressive road-going GT cars joined the contemporary equipment on the parade route.
Among these storied machines was the legendary BMW 3.0L CSL, nicknamed the Batmobile for its distinctive aero styling. The same model was victorious at Spa in 1973 and 1976, accounting for two of BMW’s record 23 wins at the event.
While the CSL offered a glimpse into the past, the stunning Zerouno Coupe is a thoroughly modern machine. The high-end Italdesign Giugiaro car was also part of this year’s parade, providing a striking contrast between old and new.
There were more than a dozen other modern and historic machines on display during the parade, including the Ford Capri that won the 24 Hours in 1979 – the first race on Spa’s current 7km layout – and the Porsche 911 that triumphed in 1967. As ever, it was a feast for the eyes of every race fan.
Upon arrival in the town centre the cars were parked in front of Spa Casino, giving fans an opportunity to admire them up close. Drivers then signed thousands of autographs for the enthusiastic public, before heading to the theatre for the biggest drivers’ briefing of the year.
The day concluded with a return journey to the Spa-Francorchamps paddock in preparation for a very busy Thursday at the circuit. Once again, fans were out in force alongside the roads.
Thursday will see focus shift back to activities on the track. It promises to be a day of activity and drama, with four sessions – including qualifying – set to take place over a 12-hour stretch.
The action begins at 11:45 with free practice, which will represent the first chance this year for the entire field to test themselves on the 7km Spa circuit.
Pre-qualifying begins at 18:10 and will last for one hour, while at 19.35 fans will have another opportunity to meet the drivers with a pit walk and autograph session.
At 20:50 the most important session of the day takes place: qualifying for the Total 24 Hours of Spa. This will decide the 20 entrants who progress to Friday’s Superpole session, as well as the final grid slots for positions 21 and back.
With the parade complete and track action ready to take centre stage, the start of the 70th edition Total 24 Hours of Spa is drawing ever nearer.