Belgium celebrates its racing heritage

| 9 Dec 2011

A display of 40 of Belgium’s most significant racing cars at Brussels Autoworld honours more than 60 of the country’s racing drivers and their contribution to the nation’s competition heritage.An Aston Martin DB3S raced by Paul Frère and the 1955 Jaguar D-type campaigned at Le Mans by Johnny Claes are among the highlights of the Belgian Racing Legends exhibition, opened last night by six-time Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx.Adding to Ickx’s first-hand experiences were Teddy Pilette (son of racer André) and brothers Armand and Jean Blaton – along with former F1 drivers Thierry Boutsen (below) and Eric van de Poele.

Other standouts in the period displays, complete with pits-inspired backdrops, include a 1965 Ferrari 250 driven by Henri Langlois, the ex-George Harris and Lucien Bianchi 1957 Ferrari 500 TRC and a 1962 Abarth-Simca 1300GT, plus a pair of Porsches: a 550 and 904.

The celebration also pays tribute to Ferrari racing privateer Jacques Swaters, who died a year ago, with a display of his memorabilia and racing trophies (above) – along with a couple of Ferrari 250GTs and his Ecurie Francorchamps 250GTO.

Also on show in the Belgian’s team colours is a 1952 Talbot-Lago T26C (above) – part of a Francorchamps Yellow pit tableau – while other notables include a 1953 Cooper-Bristol T23 and a Porsche 911 (below) that Ickx brought home second on the Dakar rally.

Video footage of period racing adds to the experience.

The exhibition closes on 15 January. Entry to the museum (and exhibition) costs €9 (adults), €6 (students) and €4.5 (6-12 years).

See Brussels Autoworld for more.

Words and photos courtesy of Mario Laguna