Friday, 20 September 2019 13:04

Historic Grand Prix Zandvoort 6-8 September 2019

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The eighth edition of the Historic Grand Prix Zandvoort was again a great historic racing event for all classic car enthusiasts. During three days, races were held for twelve different race series and four demonstration runs were organised. Touring cars, GTs, sports cars and formula cars from several decades drove the 4.3 kilometre circuit in the dunes. The visitors enjoyed the rich history of motorsport in all its facets, both on the track, behind the track and in the parking areas. During the previous seven years we were a bid spoiled with lovely late summer weather and Friday was indeed a sunny day but Saturday and Sunday there were some heavy rain showers.
On Friday training and qualification for most series were held. The first race of the weekend was the Lurani Trophy for Formula Junior Cars. These small single seaters from the late fifties and early sixties with a 1.0 or 1.1 litre 4-cylinder engine have an excellent power-to-weight ratio. The older cars have the engine in the front just like the Formula One cars from that era. The two races at Zandvoort are the fifth and penultimate round of this year’s FIA European Championship. The Swiss Bruno Weibel won the first race in a Lotus 22 and the second race was won by Mark Shaw in a Brabham BT6.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
Saturday morning the first race of the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association was held. The starting grid showed 37 single seaters made until 1966. After an exciting battle, Andy Middlehurst won with a Lotus 25 R4 closely followed by William Nuthall in a Cooper T53. Both aforementioned drivers finished in the same order in the race on Sunday-afternoon. This race ended earlier than intended as eighty years old Brian Jolliffe crashed his Cooper T45 in the Arie Luijendijk corner. Brian was taken to hospital for medical examination and all seemed reasonably well.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The FIA Formula One will return to the Netherlands on the third of May next year. After 35 years the biggest racing event in the world will take place again in Zandvoort. Preparations of the Zandvoort circuit has been started this month. Dutchman Max Verstappen is widely regarded as one of F1’s most promising drivers and he has been tipped to win the World Drivers’ Championship one day. Since the start of Grand Prix racing there haven’t been many Dutch drivers which took part in the the highest class of single-seater racing. In 1952, Jan Flinterman and Dries van der Lof were the first Dutchmen which competed in the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. In 2019 both racing drivers would have reached the age of 100, a good opportunity for an exposition in the Museum of Zandvoort about their succesful career in motorsport but also a good idea to organise a special race, the ‘Revival 1952 Dutch Grand Prix’. Sixteen drivers qualified themselves for the two races. Amongst them was Alexander van der Lof, the son of Dries van der Lof, driving a beautiful Ferrari 340 F1 with a V12 4.1 litre engine. This 1950 Ferrari with chassis-number 125-C-4 was raced by Alberto Ascari and José Froilan Gonzalez and was found in Uruguay during the ’70s by Englishman Colin Crabbe. He rebuilt the car and briefly campaigned it in some historic events. Shortly after, it joined the collection of Dries van Lof. Also the granddaughter of Dries van der Lof, Shirley competed in these races, driving the HWM-Alta in which her grandfather Dries participated in the 1952 Grand Prix. Ian Nuthall won both races in his 1952 Alta F2.                                                                                                                                                                                                Sunday-morning the public could enjoy the 1-hour race for the FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship. At the Zandvoort circuit the 4-cylinder Chevrons B19 were quicker than the V8 Lola T70s. Thomas Bradshaw in his Chevron B19 finished 29 seconds ahead of the second Chevron B19 driven by Henry Fletcher. Fighting for third position were Leo Voyazides/Simon Hadfield (Lola T70 Mk3B) with Manfredo Rossi’s Osella-Abarth PA1. Five laps for the chequered flag fell Hadfield passed the Osella-Abarth.                                                                                                                                                                                            Just ten cars were entered in both races for the FIA Masters Historic F1 Championship. In the HSCC Historic Formula 2 Championship 35 cars were entered. This massive field delivered two mighty spectacle races with battles all the way down the field and across the classes. Also the races for the FIA Historic F3 European Cup showed an impressive number of cars on the grid. Entries are split into two categories. Category 1 is for cars of the 1971-1978 period (11 cars), while category 2 entries for the more recent 1979-1984 racers saw 13 entries. Christian Olsen from Denmark dominated both races in a 1983 Martini Mk. 39.                                                                                                                                                                                        The Masters Gentlemen Drivers is a European championship for GTs until 1966. Most of the cars raced in the first half of the sixties at Le Mans, Goodwood, Spa-Francochamps and the old Nürburgring. With one or two drivers per car and mandatory pit stops the Gentlemen Drivers offers an exciting 90-minutes race. With a class structure split by year and engine capacity, the grid showed AC Cobras, Shelby Daytona Cobras, Corvettes, Jaguar E-Types and TVRs against the smaller cars like Marcos 1800 GTs, Porsche 911s Lotus Elans, MGBs and Austin Healeys. 31 cars were registered for the 90-minute race. Most striking car was the Ferrari 250 GTO/64, a fantastic recreation by Roelofs Engineering. Dutchman Nicky Pastorelli drove this race also last year and almost won but due to a mechanical failure didn’t finish that race. Roelofs and Pastorelli were back this year and naturally wanted revenge. The powerful Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé driven by Julian Thomas and Calum Lockie was extremely fast and won the race but Pastorelli in the 250 GTO/64 finished second. The race was finished under safety-car conditions as Caroline Rossi (Healey 3000) crashed her car in the Scheivlak corner. Steve Soper finished third in a Lotus Elan 26R.                                                                                                                                                                                        The organisers of this classic racing event ( Circuit Zandvoort and the Dutch Historical Auto Race Club) can look back on a successful eighth edition of the Historic Grand Prix Zandvoort in its current form. Despite the moderate weather conditions a large number of visitors turned up to watch unique cars and exciting races.                                                                                                                                                                                        
Pictures by Guus Docen
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