To say we were excited about our visit to the Zandvoort Historic Grand Prix would be an understatement, and we were not disappointed. This year would be the seventh edition of the event and the organisers put on a very impressive show.
We chose to travel to the event via the Harwich to Hook of Holland route with Stena line. It was an extremely comfortable overnight crossing and with the Hook of Holland just over an hour drive to Zandvoort makes it extremely convenient too. We drove to the pretty town of Delft for a look around and coffee stop. It was then a short distance to the stunning Louwman museum. This is a ‘must do’ visit, the collection is breath taking and extremely well thought out and put together.
Zandvoort is a seaside town with a long sandy beach. The circuit is a short walk from the town amongst the dunes. We were staying at Centre Parcs which could not be situated more perfectly, adjacent to the circuit. In fact the noise of the cars practising on track as we arrived only heightened the excitement for the weekend. There is a large selection of bars and restaurants, that evening we elected to eat at a beach club whilst watching the sun set.
Saturday arrived and it was just a short walk through the dunes to the circuit, you are immediately into the paddock housing the Formula Juniors. The Paddocks got better and better as we walked through to the centre of the track. Attracting particular interest was the Porsche exhibition, as you entered the 908 Targa Florio car was the first car of the display. The rest of the exhibition housed some superb cars, notably the 4WD 961 that came 7th at Le Mans.
We made our way to the grandstands to watch some racing. First up a fantastic three way battle with the aforementioned Formula Juniors, made for a good start to the action. Next up were the local boys in their GT and Touring cars. Up the front was a very fast Porsche 935 K3 against a Ferrari Daytona which was doing well to hold its own, however in the end it was a Porsche 1,2 3. It was then Historic F2 and the very fast Matthew Watts in his March 772P, who was untouchable. The last race before the lunch break wasthe Historic Sports cars where Lola T70’s rumbled through for a comfortable 1-2 victory.
A real highlight was the ‘Tourenwagen’ class which mostly comprised of 90’s DTM cars. They put on a real show. This was followed by a very special BMW demonstration, only three cars but what a three! First up a M1 Procar driven by FIA Sportscar champion John Bosch. Next up a Mclaren F1 GTR Long Tail (in the BMW parade because of it’s Bavarian powerplant, of course) driven by BMW works driver Peter Kox. Lastly, local hero Jan Lammers drove the BMW V12 LMR, the car that won Le Mans in 1999.
Other famous drivers we spotted over the weekend were Arturo Mezario (in his iconic cowboy hat) driving a Ferrari 156 sharknose. Plus Le Mans winner Andy Wallace who was demonstrating the Le Mans Jaguar XJR9.
Plenty more fantastic grids raced on throughout the weekend including pre-66 Touring cars, F3-500 single seaters, the Gentleman Drivers 2 hours endurance race, F3 and not forgetting Historic F1, in which Nick Padmore (current Goodwood lap record holder) was mighty.
Another interesting addition to the weekend was the parade through the centre of Zandvoort town on Saturday evening. Lead by Jan Lammers, who is from Zandvoort, so at least he knew his way around! He was followed by 50 plus race cars as they did two laps around the town.
In summary we were really impressed with the event, superb grids, friendly atmosphere and Zandvoort is a lovely destination. Tour details will be published as soon as the dates for the 2019 event are confirmed.