Special memories from Spa: Maxime Martin
In the run-up to the FIA WEC’s return to racing at Spa-Francorchamps which will be held behind closed doors (13-15 August), we spoke to various drivers to find out some of their favourite things about the legendary Belgian circuit.
Today we hear from Aston Martin Racing’s Maxime Martin who hails from Belgium, and has some extra special family-based memories from his home circuit...
“My earliest memory from Spa was when I was six and my dad (Jean-Michel) won his last 24 Hours victory in 1992. At the time he’d set a record number of victories, so after the race he was given four pigs as a present! Each pig was wearing a T-shirt with a sponsor for each the cars he won with. They came home to live with us, and we kept them for a long time!”
As an LMGTE Pro driver, Martin identified various challenges of competing at Spa in a GT Car. He took up the story:
“For some cars, like F1, it is easy flat every lap, but in a GT car it is not flat every lap and it is very challenging. Also, you have the double-left at Pouhon which is a downhill fourth gear corner, but that is very, very fast on the entry. It’s really challenging as well. You don’t have that many long and fast corners on many tracks and I think this is one that is really interesting, where you also need courage to gain some time there.“
Last year’s WEC race at Spa saw sun, rain, snow and hail but Martin and his team-mate Alex Lynn took it all on their stride as they went on to win the LMGTE Pro category. So, we asked Martin what is key to creating the perfect lap – even in the toughest of conditions?
He explained: “You really have to feel the flow of the track because except for the last chicane and La Source, you don’t have big stop-and-go corners. The main thing to be fast there is to maintain that flow. With a lot of tracks there is quite of lot of big braking, turn-in and then back on the power, which is more robotic. Spa is about keeping the speed and feeling the personality. Silverstone is very similar, where it is important to keep the momentum into the corners. If you get it, you can be really fast, but if you don’t get it, that is where you start to struggle because you are out of rhythm.”
Finally, if Martin could race against any other driver at Spa who it would be? “I would like to have raced against my dad. To race with your dad is always nice and going up against him would be really fun.”