With the ever-changing landscape of motorracing, safety has become a major part of the sport. After the death of Ayrton Senna in 1994, motorsport has come a long way. Since then, racing cars are build with a potential crash in mind and the circuits got equipt with specially designed barriers for maximum energy absorption on impact. A feature drivers from the past could only have dreamed about.
Back in the days, racing drivers like Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda feared for their life, everytime they got into a racecar. They raced on racetracks with an average speed of over 200 km/h, fast corners and no barriers on either side. That is what made Spa Francorchamps, the Nürburgring, Avus and Reims Gueux so frightening. One mistake and it was all over. No second chances.
The 1970’s were a first turning point in terms of racing safety. Drivers started to complain about racetracks, up to the point that races were boycotted. In an effort to create a safer sport, many circuits were deemed unsafe and dropped from the calendar. For most circuits that was the beginning of the end. They struggled to keep a financial income and eventually closed down for good. Later they were converted back to regular public roads or completely redesigned and updated to suit the new safety standards.
Broken tarmac, rusty armco barriers and ruins of old pit buildings are slowly disappearing but the spirit of racing will stay forever.