Spa-Francorchamps has the Raidillon de l’Eau Rouge, a steep uphill sweep named after the reddish colour of the nearby stream after a storm, while the 24 Hours circuit has Tertre Rouge Corner, named after the colour of the surrounding soil.
Just like the Forest Esses (see article), Tertre Rouge dates back to 1932 when land was purchased to build a private portion of track between the Pit Straight and the Mulsanne Straight. In 1939 a tunnel was built just before the corner, to access the outside of the circuit. In 1970, the corner underwent alterations and in 1979 was completely re-profiled.
Tertre Rouge Corner links the private part of the track with the Mulsanne Straight. When the ring road was opened, the ACO had to alter Tertre Rouge: from a right-angle it became a much sharper bend. The footbridge over the track was removed and the underground passage altered.
In the winter of 2006-07, major works were carried out at Tertre Rouge to enlarge the run-off area. The corner was widened and the track given a 3% incline. On the inside of the curve a bank was built to give spectators a better view. Entering the corner from the Forest Esses, the drivers try to retain their speed to the apex that they aim to hit late to accelerate out onto the Mulsanne Straight earlier.
Before last year’s race, the safety barriers were altered and tyres added to improve safety following Allan Simonsen’s fatal accident in 2013.
The Tertre Rouge slope is popular with spectators as there are eateries just behind it and they can see the big screen on the outside of the track. Also, the Guetteloup tram stop is not far away from the Eastern entrance. There is a special platform for fans with reduced mobility.
To be continued...
Cécile Bonardel / ACO - Translation by Emma Paulay
PHOTO: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, 9 & 10 JUNE 1979, RACE. Dick Barbour Racing's Porsche span on Tertre Rouge corner, but finished 8th overall.