The Ferrari Owners’ Club
of Great Britain

The 3rd Zandvoort Historic Grand Prix

01-10-2014

By Henk J. Brouwer © 2014 ‘nJoy Media

On Friday the circuit was already very lively. The access roads were crowded – but still not fixed- and the car parks were overflowing. Throngs of people entered via the old or new entry and at the box-offices there were long queues. Threatening clouds came in from the sea, but drove past or over, without dropping. And that was “the deal…”

When you walk underneath the circuit and get to the paddock you see all kinds of hustle and bustle. Benches are everywhere for the thousands of people who eat a sandwich, a burger or fries for dinner, or enjoy a beer or a coffee. You see the English teams, which thankfully are present again in large numbers, with their mobile homes and beautiful, often forgotten, classic racers. You also see a Bentley beside a tent with the owner of that Bentley probably booked in a hotel. On the back of the circuit Kroymans, the Dutch Ferrari importer, is showing a pair of beautiful Ferraris. To one side is an Alvis with its distinctive logo emblem.

For the 2014 event several prominent guests attended and there was David Brabham, son of Sir Jack Brabham, the legend who deceased in May, who pleased thousands of spectators with his lap around the center of Zandvoort; multiple Le Mans winner Jan Lammers, who drove a Porsche 911 along with Michael Koel. Also present were Gijs van Lennep, Arie Luijendijk, Michael Bleekemolen and Toine Hezemans, all known for their various racing achievements.

In the program of this third edition there are various classes, some particularly spectacular, such as the Grand Prix Cars-Pre 1961 and 1961-1965. In the Pre-1961 class there were marques such as Alfa Romeo and Maserati, besides the smaller English ones. Unfortunately we were missing some major players but this will undoubtedly be straightened out in the future, when also the legendary Mercedes Silver Arrows and Ferraris will roar across the dunes circuit. In 1961 the legendary Ferrari Dino 156 Sharknose and the Lotus 25 and 33 were born and great names of yesteryear, such as Graham Hill, John Surtees and Jimmy Clark, conquered at Zandvoort the hearts of car loving Dutchies.

In the Grand Prix Masters there are the “guns of yesteryear” and the class has been a huge success; historic Formula 1 has grown into a world spectacle that in every continent is increasingly sophisticated. In this historic class there is little Italian contribution but plenty of battles between Lotus, Tyrell, Arrows, and other marques. For the Formula 2 races the Zandvoort circuit has often been the scene in the 1980s in which Jacky Ickx, Clay Reggazoni and René Arnoux have left an unforgettable impression.

The World Sportscar Masters & Sports Racing has brought some beautiful races to Zandvoort. The Organization has even more categories on offer, such as the pre-1966 and seventies Touring Cars and the CanAm and Interserie sports prototypes. Zandvoort is of course one of the true old-style circuits which are so pure and that makes it such a special spectacle for the spectators!

The Historic Touring Car & GTs have pretty much the biggest line-up with 56 participating teams. In this class, each participant wants to be part of the event and it is quite a hit for the organisers. For the spectators it is a fascinating class with a lot of competition in the races between the different brands, such as Jaguar, Alfa Romeo, Porsche, Bizzarrini, Iso Rivolta, Ford, BMW, Fiat, Lotus, AC Cobra, TVR Griffith, Cooper, MG, Triumph , Alpine and Corvettes. Well-known national drivers like Michael Koel, Jan Lammers, Alexander van der Lof and Michel Oprey did their laps in this category. The crowd along the track, in the stands and in the dunes were all thrilled!

The Gentlemen Drivers class is liked by many people especially given some of the participants. The older spectators know the name Hans Hugenholz from the beautiful “Hugenholz Curve” and the original circuit design, but he is also an experienced driver. He proved that in the AC Cobra, together with Guido van de Garde, by taking an 8th place. The first place went to Tom Coronel, who drove with David Hart also an AC Cobra.

The Historic Grand Prix Cars Association has a nice grid, but it should be a bit bigger. During the qualifications we see a very rare Ferrari 625A (officially 750 GP # 0482). The car has a rich history and started its life as a factory racer in 1952 to be converted to 625 F1 specifications in 1954. In 1999 the racer ended up in the hands of Alexander Boswell, who does the only thing possible with it: racing! Besides the Ferrari we saw the Maserati 250F # 2534 of Jos Koster and Alexander van der Lof , and the CM5 van Klaus Lehr. Next year there might be another three Ferraris.

Of course, an event like the Historic Grand Prix at Zandvoort in its successful 3rd edition still can’t compete with, for example, the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix at the Nürburgring with the 42th edition this year. With 50,000 spectators, the third HGP Zandvoort again proved that a car-loving audience exists in the Netherlands and given the great and enthusiastic organization and sponsors, future success is assured.

So… every year can be evaluated to determine what is missing. During this third edition a little more exclusive Italians might have made a difference, perhaps written because of my slight bias, but in spite of that “loss” the young and old really had a wonderful time in the dunes!