Wednesday, 26 September 2012 02:32

Historic Grand Prix Zandvoort - Part 1 - 21-23 September 2012

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Circuit Park Zandvoort is a racing track located in the dunes north of the town of Zandvoort, in the Netherlands, near the North Sea coast. The circuit was inaugurated on August 7th 1948. In 1955 the first Formula 1 race counting for the World Championship was held at Zandvoort. Until 1985 the Formula One Grand Prix was part of the calendar every year. From 1985 several problems manifested themselves mainly caused by inhabitants of Zandvoort living near to the track complaining about the noise from the track. For the next fifteen years the continuation of the races at Zandvoort were troublesome but thanks to the persistence of some real race-enthusiasts and businessmen the track was redesigned to a 4.3 kilometers long circuit and a new pits building and a new grandstand were realized. The noise restrictions still make it impossible to organise many race events but this year the circuit received a permit for 12 decibel-free days, which allows the organisation to run unsilenced cars all weekend, so it was possible to organise this historic race event. 
The British Masters Historic Racing organisation brought the World Sportscar Masters, Sports Racing Masters, Grand Prix Masters and Gentlemen Drivers to Zandvoort. The Historic Grand Prix Cars Association was represented with the Grand Prix Cars Pre-61 and the Grand Prix Cars 1961-65, while the Historic Sports Car Club had a presence with the Historic Formula 2. Of course, the Dutch national historic racing scene was also represented with the Delta Lloyd Xclusief Dutch championship for historic touring cars and GTs.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 World Sportscar Masters
Although there was a small grid for the World Sportcar Masters, the one-hour race became a real thriller. From the start David Hart took the lead in his Lola T70 Mk3B from the pole-position Lola T70 Mk3B of David Coplowe, which had been qualified by Martin Stretton. Hart was followed by the Abarth Osella of Manfredo Rossi di Montelera, which stayed on the tail of Hart’s Lola T70 for the early laps. During Rossi’s pitstop the Abarths fuel tank was leaking and the Italian lost time while the problem was fixed. In fifth place, David Coplowe made the pitstop and Stretton took over the car and set off in pursuit. With just 10 minutes to go Hart drove into a backmarker who didn’t pay attention and he damaged the left side of his Lola. The door flew open and he was forced to make a pitstop to have the door removed. Returning to the track he was still in the lead but Stretton was behind him within 10 seconds. Stretton  was too eager to win the race and became overconfident and slithered off the road in the last round. Hart took victory and with Stretton out of the race, Phil Hall became second in his Lola T212 and the recovered Rossi took third place.

Sports Racing Masters
The Sports Racing Masters race, had a disappointingly low entry, which seemed to imply that many competitors were saving their cars for the Goodwood Revival. Again David Hart showed to be an excellent racing-driver with the advantage of knowing every square meter of the track. Hart won both races in his Lola T70 Spyder. Interesting was the battle for fourth place between Hans Hugenholtz in his Racing Team Holland Ford GT40 and Marcus Mussa’s McLaren M1B. The blue GT40 car with the familiar bubble in the roof – to accommodate Hugenholtz’s head – won out at the end. Sadly, Marcus collided with Gareth Burnett (driving Adrian van der Kroft’s Merlyn MkIV) two laps before the end of the race and the Merlyn got stuck in the gravel. Mussa was disqualified for his involvement.

Key to images:

Top row: World Sportcar Masters winner David Hart 1969 Lola T70 Mk3b
               Grand Prix Cars 61-65 BRM P261, Lotus 18, Cooper T59
               Grand Prix Cars 61-65 Lotus 24
               Grand Prix Cars 61-65 Heron Alfa F1

 Middle:   World Sportcar Masters 1971 Chevron B19
              Sports Racing Masters 1963 Merlyn Mk4
              Sports Racing Masters 1963 Cooper Monaco Ti61M
              Sports Racing Masters  1965 Ford GT40

 Bottom: Gentlemen Drivers 1964 Porsche 904/4
              Grand Prix Cars pre -61 Bugatti T51
              Grand Prix Cars pre -61 Scarab Offenhauser 
              Grand Prix Cars pre -61 Gordini T16-31

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