I’ve been a Formula 1 fan since I was four years old and I always dreamt about driving around Spa-Francorchamps in a Ferrari. After years of dreaming, I was finally able to live this experience. This is how I ended up in a Ferrari 430 Scuderia.
After a three-hour ride from Utrecht (The Netherlands) to Stavelot in Belgium, we entered the Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps. You could feel the history of the track. As a long-time Formula 1 fan, Spa-Francorchamps stood very high on my bucket list. As a gamer, I’ve virtually raced this track countless times and knew every turn by heart.
We met up with a collector who goes by @slowrabit1 on Instagram. He brought his Ferrari 430 Scuderia to the track. We took some photos of the car at the lower part of the pit lane and soon after we were at the starting line. After two warm-up laps, the owner’s friend Imad invited me to join him as his co-pilot. I put on my helmet and fastened my seatbelt. It was about to happen – my first metres in a Ferrari 430 Scuderia at such a legendary place.
We drove out of the pit and headed toward the most notorious corner of any track: Eau Rouge. As we came around the La Source hairpin, Imad hit the gas for the first time. I’ve never felt such acceleration in my entire life. Eau Rouge is like a big black wall of tarmac that you approach unbelievably fast, and it has the vibe of a high-speed rollercoaster.
After climbing the Eau Rouge and Raidillon we entered the Kemmel straight. This time the driver floored it for real. The car felt so powerful and we hit speeds of 250 kph (155 mph) with ease! But the truly scary and impressive part of the 430 Scuderia is its braking capabilities. In a normal car, you’d brake quite early coming into a corner, but in this Ferrari the driver is able to just kept speeding and speeding, brake at the very last moment and take the corner with ease.
At the highest point of the track, Les Combes, the route becomes more technical compared to the first part. Here you could really feel the aerodynamics and G-forces of the 430 Scuderia. It felt glued to the track, even with a light Belgian drizzle. Pouhon, the double left, was up next, and it flung me all the way to the right of the car. My adrenaline kicked in even more after that. What a beast of a car I was in! Don’t forget that the Scud is well over a decade old at this point.
As we neared the final turns in our lap we arrived at Stavelot: two slow right-handers before Imad could open up the gas again for Blanchimont. The first part was full throttle, but luckily the pilot found his brakes again for the second part. After that, we made our last sprint to the final corner of the track: the iconic bus stop chicane. Again, very late braking, which I just couldn’t get used to, before a heroic dash across the finish line.
That was my first ever lap on Spa-Francorchamps; in fact it was my first ever lap on any Formula 1 track. We went for another few laps before heading back to the pit. I exited the car a bit shaky from excitement because I’d finally been around the same track I spent hours driving on in video games.
What a day!