RSRSpa Corner Guide - Eau Rouge
Named after the little stream below the track right at the compression, this big corner sorts out the men from the boys. Ironically it is not Eau Rouge that causes problems, it’s the uphill stretch (18% incline) leading into Raidillon which is often the scenery of horrific accidents, with total loss of car and ego as a result.
This is the scene where Zonta and Villeneuve both tried it flat out in the BAR Honda and crashed. Stefan Bellof died here in 1985 in a Group C Porsche colliding with Jackie Ickx. Infamous is the Gulf Porsche 917 battle between Jo Siffert and Pedro Rodrigues. This is a serious corner.
The complexity of the section is in the down-hill compression / up-hill sequence at very high speeds. However what many do not realise is there’s much more to it than only this. In the uphill part, there are 2 crests which lighten the car, reducing overall grip and balance. The camber can work in your favour if you are in ‘sync’, but can turn into violent off-camber grip reductions when you don’t have the track knowledge. In the wet it’s important to be aware of the rivers coming down the track at different places, giving very inconsistent grip.
The key to a high exit speed is to ‘sacrifice’ in the easy part Eau Rouge, positioning the car at the right angle. Where it goes wrong most of the time is simple - going too fast too soon. Take your time, it really isn’t something you can master the first time out here. Until you are able to copy your line exactly at least 10 times in a row at these lower speeds, you are simply not ready to speed up.
The Most Common Mistakes
- Going too quick too soon
- Listening to people who say they do it flat out
- Not consulting the people who know
- Straightening the entrance at the Eau Rouge too much - creating the wrong line
- Negotiating the crests the wrong way
- Not using all the road on your way to the final exit at Raidillon
- Ignoring the mental aspect. This truly is a high speed corner
Doing It Right - Not for Novices!
Arrive from La Source in top gear. Aim for the red marshall post on top of the endurance pitwall. Come in late towards the wall (mirror should almost touch). After a ‘determined’ turn-in, you want to cross the triangle of kerbing, and only then you can settle the car on the brakes.
Turning in to right will surprise you with the unbelievable grip on the left front end. Hug the inside curb closely on the uphill stretch, straightening out almost completely over the first crest. After the car settles, turn left on to the -still- invisible left kink for Raidillon and be ready for the second crest. Using all of the road, finish the corner fully on the right hand side.
Depending on the gearing of the car and whether you have a conventional manual or paddleshift gearbox, you will sometimes need to drop a gear in the downhill section, just after the triangle or in the uphill section, right after the first crest.
If It Goes Wrong
Running wide in the uphill right hander section does not always mean the end of your car - if you don’t panic. Study the run off and you will know that by straightening out the wheel and running over the white striped run off area, you should survive without a scratch.
There are three of these technical high speed, 120mph on exit turns on this track. Good luck, be careful and consult an expert!
- Ron Simons, CEO and Chief Instructor - RSRSpa