A popular addition to the calendar of recent years has been the revived Historic Grand Prix Zandvoort. Now in its fifth year, the event is a set fixture for spectators and competitors alike. The successful previous editions were held in the final weekend of the Dutch summer holiday but, for a variety of reasons, the 2016 event was pushed back one week. This also brought it just within a few days of the Goodwood Revival and the Historic Grand Prix now also coincided with several other major events on the British Isles and on the European continent. Combined, these factors contributed to lower visitor numbers and a slightly different line-up. The event nevertheless boasted all the familiar Masters grids, complemented by national and international grids of sports cars and single seaters. In addition to the racing, spectators were also treated to fine high-speed demonstrations provided by the Porsche Museum and the FORCE.
German manufacturer Porsche was strongly represented during the weekend as many owners were invited to bring their cars. The fabulous Porsche Museum also brought five competition cars from their collection, four of which were driven on track. Among them was the very first 917 K, which was entrusted to Dutch Le Mans winner Jan Lammers. He had vivid memories of seeing the cars as a child at Le Mans when his late mentor Rob Slotemaker served as one of the stunt drivers during the filming of the movie Le Mans. Lammers drove the 917, finished in the livery of the 1970 Le Mans winner, with verve even in the wet conditions on Sunday. Two-time Le Mans winner Gijs van Lennep was behind the wheel of the even more daunting 917/30, while former Porsche chief designer Harm Lagaay piloted the 911 GT1 EVO ’98. The fourth Porsche in action during the three demo sessions was the actual 1987 Le Mans winning 962C. Each day, the Porsche demonstration was followed by a run of the FORCE, which featured a fine array of 1980s and 1990s F1 cars and also the very first of the Group 44 Jaguar GTP cars.
Touring car titans:
Ford Falcon Sprint
The Historic Grand Prix Zandvoort also celebrated the centenary of German manufacturer BMW with a special race exclusively for 2002s and 3.0 CSLs. Run on Saturday afternoon, the event was dominated by Ollie Hancock in Alexander Rittweger’s 3.0 CSL. The cars were back out on track on Sunday for a high speed demo, headed for one lap by two lovely 2002 Tourings originally used by Zandvoort’s marshals. There was more touring car action on Saturday morning in the form of the one-hour Pre 1966 Touring Car race. Pole sitters Leo Voyazides and Simon Hadfield failed to make it to the grid due to crankshaft failure on the Ford Falcon they shared but that was about their only misfortune of the weekend. Up for grabs, the first position was swiftly filled by the Lotus Cortina shared by Michael Gans and Andy Wolfe. Mark Martin and Andrew Haddon finished second in a similar Cortina, while Andrea Stortoni drove his Mini Cooper S solo to a third place finish.
GTs and sports cars:
On Saturday, the final race was a 90-minute, two-driver race for 1960s GT cars as part of the Masters Gentleman Drivers championship. Usually, this race is very much a Cobra fest but the grid suggested otherwise. Although, the father and son, David and Olivier Hart driven Shelby Cobra Daytona was fastest, they were closely followed by the Ferrari 250 GT of Nicky Pastorelli and Jan Lammers and a diminutive Lotus Elan placed fourth. Starting third, the Cobra shared by Gans and Wolfe was an early challenger for the lead with Gans and father David Hart changing places several times. A perfectly timed safety car brought the Cobra Daytona shared by Voyazides and Hadfield back into contention. It had a fresh engine fitted between qualifying and the race, which allowed Hadfield to climb up the leaderboard and win the race just ahead of the Gans and Wolfe Cobra, while the Harts were third. Many of the same drivers lined up early on Sunday morning for the Masters Sports Cars race. Once again, a well timed safety car helped Voyazides and Hadfield get back into contention after the former had lost time early on in the race with his fabulous Lola T70 Mk3B. Hadfield again managed to get by Gans, who drove solo in his Lola T290. Third was for the Mark Piercy and Martin Stretton shared Lola T212.
FIA Masters Formula 1:
Tyrrell 012 Cosworth
Headlining the Historic Grand Prix Zandvoort, as always, was the FIA Masters Historic Formula 1 championship with a pair of 20-minute races on Saturday and Sunday. The warm-up first thing on Friday morning was cut short after just a few minutes due to a rather excessive oil spill. This made qualifying later that day a little more frantic but ultimately there was no stopping Nick Padmore in his Williams FW07C. Going into the weekend, he was already the championship leader, having won each of the rounds he had competed in previously. He was half a second ahead of Christophe d’Ansembourg in a similar Williams, while Gregory Thornton was third fastest in a Lotus 91 Cosworth. In the first race, Padmore set a fastest lap that was a full second faster than his nearest rival but he adjusted his pace so d’Ansembourg finished just under two seconds behind, closely followed by former champion Thornton. In Race 2, d’Ansembourg hit trouble, which promoted Thornton to second while the final podium position was reserved for Stefano di Fulvio in his Tyrrell 012. Since this weekend, Padmore had another perfect weekend at Spa and was crowned champion with two races to spare and despite missing the opening rounds.