Last year, for three glorious late-summer days at Zandvoort, some 300 racing cars from the rich history of motorsport brought a crowd of tens of thousands back to days gone by. The boys are back in town in 2019, as the programme for the eighth Historic Grand Prix will offer at least as much excitement. Please note that it’s one week later than usual, so block 6-8 September in your diaries!
Starting off with a bang: in 2019, Zandvoort will once again be the only circuit in the world to host all four historic championships allowed to bear the official FIA name.
As in previous editions of the Historic Grand Prix, the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship and the FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship will headline the programme. The Formula 1 cars from the 1966-1985 era will bring spectators back to the Dutch Grand Prix as held in those years, while the international championship for sports cars from 1962 to 1974 will revive the glory times of Le Mans and Daytona.
At Zandvoort in 2018, Nick Padmore and Greg Thornton crowned themselves as F1 champions in the pre-78 and post-78 classes. Will Zandvoort again play a decisive part this year? The sports car race offered a great battle between the Lola T70 Mk3Bs of David Hart/Nicky Pastorelli and Leo Voyazides/Simon Hadfield, the Dutch team prevailing in the end. In the pre-65 class, Dutchman Michiel Smits was the unlucky man after his T70 Spyder’s Chevrolet engine gave up the ghost during free practice, so in 2019 he is looking for revenge.
The FIA Lurani Trophy for Formula Juniors is set to be back in 2019, having delivered two very exciting slipstreaming races last year. Swiss driver Bruno Weibel won both times out, but Italian rivals Manfredo Rossi and Piero Tonetti made life very difficult for him. Hopefully, Dutchman Floris-Jan Hekker will once again be the local hero. Meanwhile, the FIA Historic Formula 3 European Cup was begging for a repeat after a very successful inaugural showing in 2018. So, these races to decide the honour of best historic F3 driver in Europe are back on the programme in 2019. Last year’s trophies were collected by Dane Christian Olsen and German Marcel Biehl.
Two of 2018’s crowd favourites will be back for the eighth running of the Historic Grand Prix. In terms of noise, the cars from the Historic F2 Championship are up there with their Formula 1 counterparts, so last year the spectators were on the edge of their seats for a titanic tussle between Matthew Watts, Manfredo Rossi and Robert Simac, Watts’ March 772 prevailing twice. Also pleasing the crowd were the Tourenwagen Classics with dozens of cars from the DTM’s glory years and the various Super Touring championships of the nineties. Former DTM stars like Klaus Ludwig and Harald Grohs were present along with several Dutchmen such as Gerbert Luttikhuis (in a Mercedes 190E 2.3-16 Evo 2) and Marc Seesing (in a BMW E30 M3). This year these cars will re-appear at Zandvoort under the Tourenwagen Legenden banner.
As usual, the programme will also include Masters Gentlemen Drivers (for pre-66 GT cars) and Masters Pre-66 Touring Cars races. Last year’s GT race was an outright cracker, as local hero Nicky Pastorelli hung on to a narrow lead in the Roelofs Engineering Ferrari 250 GTO/64 before giving in to Andy Wolfe in the AC Cobra. The touring car race was decided on the final lap when Tom Coronel – in the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA shared with Olivier Hart – nipped past Andy Wolfe’s Ford Falcon in Gerlach corner. We are looking forward to equally thrilling fights to the chequered flag in 2019.
The Dutch contribution to the 2019 programme comes from two top championships under the HARC banner, the Dutch Historic Motor Racing Club being the co-organiser of the Historic Grand Prix. The Dutch championship for 1966-1981 GTs and touring cars provided a packed field in 2018 and looks set to repeat the trick in 2019. Will Daniel Schrey again be the dominant winner in his Porsche 935 K3? The Dutch championship for pre-66 GTs and touring cars last year shared grids with the Masters Gentlemen Drivers and Masters Pre-66 Touring Cars, but this year will have two races of its own again. Allard Kalff and Michiel Campagne were the 2018 winners with their bellowing Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport and will undoubtedly be favourite again in 2019.
Finally, the Historic Grand Prix Car Association that takes care of the pre-66 Grand Prix cars is back. That means that combined with the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship, F1 cars from 1948 to 1985 – the entire period in which Zandvoort hosted the Dutch Grand Prix – will take to the track during the weekend.
And that’s not all. Porsche and BMW will delight the crowd daily around noon with a sample of cars from their illustrious racing history. The Historic Grand Prix will also celebrate the 100th birthday anniversaries of both Dries van der Lof (23 August 1919) and Jan Flinterman (2 October 1919) who share the honour of being the first Dutch post-war Grand Prix driver – Van der Lof and Flinterman both made their first (and only) Grand Prix participation in the 1952 Dutch GP.
Speaking of Dutch GPs of yore: your special attention is required for the re-enactment of the 1961 Dutch GP – not just with the winning Ferrari 156 ‘Sharknoses’ that made their return to Zandvoort last year, but also with their opponents from the Lotus, Cooper, Porsche and BRM camps.
With the Parade on Saturday evening through the heart of Zandvoort, the Classic Car Park for enthusiasts and the Paddock Club providing a unique experience of the event, the eighth edition of the Historic Grand Prix looks set to provide three full days of historic motor racing excitement once again.