Spa Francorchamps. Unpredictable weather coupled with the incredibly high speeds reached--even required--on this road course, make it one of the most enjoyable, demanding, and potentially deadly race tracks in the world.
This beautiful, expansive, and hilly track is nestled peacefully in the lush Belgian hillsides of the village of Francorchamps. The unassuming track goads racers into driving faster and faster until they are caught off guard by one of its elevation changes or a sudden shift in the weather.
Indeed, only true masters of their vehicles can navigate Spa Francorchamps with all of the speed that the track allows - which is why Ron Simons, former touring and GT car championship driver, is the perfect host for my day at Spa.
Like Spa Francorchamps, Ron also has an unassuming, but fierce presence. Now the owner and CEO of RSR Nurburg, one of the premier establishments for track car rentals and driver instruction at the Nurburgring and Spa Francorchamps, Ron is a quiet, but focused man. Determined to keep every car running in tip-top shape, he can be seen dashing through the paddock from vehicle to vehicle, collaborating with his team of mechanics on what items need to be done in order to keep the cars and the day's events running smoothly.
His passion for racing is clear, but he is a man of few words. Perhaps this is why when Ron speaks, the room listens. The messages he conveys when sharing his knowledge about racing, car control, and driving dynamics are poignant and precise. And, they are always an effort to keep his customers from crashing his vehicles, or more importantly, killing themselves.
RSR offers customers an opportunity to ride along with one of their instructors for a single hot lap starting from EUR199. While I'll leave it up to you to judge whether this experience is worth the cost, I was fortunate enough to have a chance to ride along with Ron for a couple of laps of Spa in one of RSR Nurburg's Lotus Exige S and his personal Lotus 211.
While we all know that these vehicles are highly capable, Ron truly impressed me with his ability to simultaneously give me a spectacular ride while talking me through each corner. Many talented drivers can't teach. And many teachers can't drive. Ron Simons can do both. Extremely well.