After the Second World War, a few young people from wealthy families, smitten with speed and thrills, decided to devote themselves to motorsport. Their names were André Pilette, Jacques Swaters, Charles de Tornaco, John Claes, Roger Laurent and Paul Frère. Their objective was to race at the highest level.
For example, later on, in 1951, Swaters created the Francorchamps Racing Stable (Ecurie Francorchamps) and Claes created the Belgian Racing Stable (Ecurie Belge). There were no sponsors for these pioneers. They had to pay for everything themselves – cars, fuel, spare parts, mechanics, travel and registration fees. And there were very few, if any, rules. Also, women were not excluded! Some of them were successful, such as Thirion, Beckers and Fontaine.
They ended up being dubbed “Belgian Gentlemen Drivers”, similar to their English counterparts. After them, many other Belgian pilotes were known worldwide such as Olivier Gendebien, Jacky Ickx, Willy Mairesse, Jean “Beurlys” Blaton, Lucien Bianchi, Pierre Dieudonné, Thierry Boutsen, Willy Braillard, Marc Duez, Bertrand Gachot, Georges Hacquin and Jean-Michel Martin.
The Belgian Racing Legends honors these heroes by recreating the magical atmosphere of the racetrack, with its paddocks, terraces and unique atmosphere and its finest competition cars (30 in total). The display will see some 15 cars placed in chronological on the starting grid, while other racing and rally cars will be placed in the paddocks and around the mezzanine. On the terraces, screens will display info about the drivers, their victories and their anecdotes. There will also be period film screenings, photo galleries, posters, trophy cupboards and much more.
For more information, visit www.belgian-racing-legends.be.
[Source: Belgian Racing Legends]