A battle between large and small – or America vs Europe

A battle between large and small – or America vs Europe

A Lotus Cortina hot on the heels of a Ford Falcon? Which has a Mini Cooper S on its tail? The Masters Pre-66 Touring Cars will showcase fights like these during the upcoming Historic Grand Prix at Zandvoort. This is truly a championship of large versus small – and between the old and the new world as well, as the V8s in the field are invariably from the United States while their nippy four-pot rivals all hail from European soil.

The Masters Pre-66 Touring Cars series is divided into four classes – the THA class for the big American cars, the THB class mainly featuring BMW 1800s, the THC class is for Lotus Cortinas and Alfa GTAs alike, while the Mini Cooper S is the weapon of choice in the THD class. This year’s championship has boasted full grids, with dozens of cars making the start at Paul Ricard, Brands Hatch, Donington Park and Magny-Cours already – and soon it’s Zandvoort’s turn.

The THA class’ heavy metal from Detroit is led by at least five Ford Falcons, of which the Leo Voyazides/Simon Hadfield and Julian Thomas/Calum Lockie examples are surely among the favourites for overall victory. As a road car, the Falcon Sprint became an unloved coupé as soon as Ford launched its sexy Mustang, but on track the Falcon remains a formidable weapon. Several Mustangs will want to prove otherwise, though, with the ‘Dutch’ Mustang of David and Olivier Hart heading the pack. Additional variety is offered by Chris Wilson who will bring a Dodge Dart to Zandvoort.

At this stage it remains to be seen who will sign up for the THB class but we certainly hope for Tom Sharp to enter his BMW 1800 TiSA after he shone at both Brands Hatch and Donington Park. And there are plenty more BMWs that would make a fine impression at Zandvoort.

Several Ford Lotus Cortinas have already entered the THC class. The Cortinas of John Spiers, brothers Geoff and Alan Letts and Norwegian Martin Strömmen will certainly feature at the front, while Mark Holme steps up to Europe with Nigel Greensall as a very fast co-driver. And if Mark Martin manages to retain the services of Steve Soper, he will be a sure candidate for class victory – and perhaps even the overall win.

It being the Mini’s 60th anniversary year, it’s only logical that the entry is stuffed with Minis, no matter if they were produced in Austin’s or Morris’ factories. Tom Bell and Joe Ferguson made a flying start to the season with three wins in a row but there are plenty of others fully intent on making their life very difficult. Among the 14 Minis already entered we should definitely consider those of Chris Middlehurst and Jonathan Lewis capable of doing so. And who knows – if a fresh September shower transforms the track conditions, we may even find the Minis at the very front. On a wet Donington Park, Bell put his Mini on pole!

Historic Grand Prix 2019
This year’s Historic Grand Prix at the Zandvoort circuit will take place on 6, 7 and 8 September. Free practice and qualifying are on Friday and Saturday, the races take place on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday evening 7 September will see a parade through the town centre of Zandvoort.

A pre-sale day ticket for the General Admission area is just € 18,99 (32,50 euros for three days). A paddock ticket, which includes access to the main grandstand and the General Admission area, is 32,50 euros (day ticket) or 55 euros (three days). Children up to 4 have free access. Also, the exclusive Paddock Club will allow you to experience the Historic Grand Prix at VIP level.

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