Top Gear Philippines

Belgian Grand Prix

It's back into their race cars for the world's driving elite this weekend, as the seventh race of the 2012 Formula 1 season takes place at the Canadian Grand Prix. The race before this, the Monaco GP, was the second European event of the series, and some of you must have wistfully wondered whether you'd ever get to watch an F1 race at a classic Euro circuit.

If so, this could make your day: Red Rock Travel, which specializes in motorsports tours, has recently confirmed a 2012-season package for the Belgian GP happening from August 31 to September 2.

"Both hardcore and newbie fans are sure to enjoy the undulating Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps," promises William Herrera, Red Rock Travel's VP for operations. "Because it is a purpose-built track set in the beautiful Ardennes mountains, F1 cars running flat-out, especially on Eau Rouge, will be a sight to behold. On TV, Eau Rouge doesn't seem that steep, but try to view it from the bottom of the hill--or try to walk uphill on trackside--and you'll instantly realize that the TV coverage doesn't do it justice."

The Belgian GP package being offered by Red Rock Travel is priced at $2,757 (P120,000) per person, with a minimum of two persons traveling at the same time. "This is the first time we're offering a Belgian GP package," William adds. "It was made possible by Thai Airways opening up a flight to Brussels and providing low fares, making the package more affordable to fans."

Aside from round-trip airfare, also included in the asking price are: Philippine travel tax; Gold 1 pit grandstand tickets; and six-day, five-night accommodations at the Eurotel Lanken in Liege, 35km from Spa. Excluded in the package are visa application and processing; travel insurance; and airport and circuit transfers.

For a point of comparison, let's take a look at the inclusions to Red Rock Travel's most affordable Singapore GP package for 2012, priced at $1,208 (P52,500): round-trip airfare; Bay Grandstand tickets; four-day, three-night accommodations at the City Bayview Hotel; and airport-hotel transfers.

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Off the continent but closer to home than Europe, Australia is another country that hosts a grand prix. Red Rock Travel's base package for the Melbourne race last March, at AUS$1,716 ($1,680), included: round-trip airfare; five-day, four-night accommodations at Punthill Little Bourke; airport-hotel transfers; and a five-day Metcard. Apart from visa and insurance expenses, adding to the cost was the price of race tickets, which started at AUS$310 ($300) apiece. That raised the total to AUS$2,026 ($1,980).

"We suggest bringing around $100 per day of stay in Belgium; this would cover your daily expenses and a few souvenirs," William suggests. "It would be safe to say that attending the grand prix in Singapore or Australia would put less strain on your budget."

Still, the price is pretty reasonable. And given that Belgium could start alternating with France in hosting an F1 race starting next year, you might want to seriously consider this opportunity.

Sharleen Banzon
Editorial Consultant
An inveterate Formula 1 geek, Sharleen tips the scales at just 50kg because she starves herself to save up for F1 trips.
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