Gentlemen Drivers promises to deliver epic GT battles

Gentlemen Drivers promises to deliver epic GT battles

It was the time distinguished gentlemen joined the professionals in endurance racing with perhaps the most beautiful cars ever built – the Gran Turismos of the early sixties. It’s not for nothing that Masters Historic Racing has dubbed its European series for these cars the Masters Gentlemen Drivers. At the Historic Grand Prix, we will once more be able to enjoy an epic 90-minute bash that includes several home favourites with a chance of a class victory or even the overall win.

As in previous years, Masters Historic Racing will step up to the plate as the main supplier of grids for the Historic Grand Prix. The UK-based historic organiser will once again bring four grids of European standard to Zandvoort, with the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship and the FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship as its showpieces. As usual, the Masters Pre-66 Touring Cars and the Masters Gentlemen Drivers – the European series for pre-66 touring cars and GTs respectively – will also attend. The latter championship will allow you to enjoy the cars that in the early sixties raced at Le Mans, Goodwood, the old Spa and the ‘real’ Nürburgring.

30 cars have already entered the 90-minute race with a mandatory pit stop (and a possible driver change) halfway through. A few Dutch favourites are among them, most notably the Ferrari 250 GTO/64 recreated by Roelofs Engineering that last year in Nicky Pastorelli’s hands only missed out on victory through mechanical failure. Roelofs and Pastorelli are back this year looking to avenge themselves.

Andy Wolfe’s 2018-winning AC Cobra won’t be there but Pastorelli will instead have to deal with some heavy artillery in the shape of no less than four Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupés. The Julian Thomas/Calum Lockie car won twice already this year, the Leo Voyazides/Simon Hadfield example took the remaining win. What’s more, David & Olivier Hart will also be present at Zandvoort – and this Dutch father-and-son duo may even be faster yet. Other C3 class rivals include Carlos Monteverde & Gary Peason’s regular Cobra, the Jaguar E-types of Jon Minshaw and Martin Melling/Jason Minshaw, Frenchmen José & Brady Beltramelli’s Corvette Stingray and the Shelby Mustang GT350s of Larry Tucker, Italian Manfredo Rossi and Belgian duo Christian Dumolin/Pierre-Alain Thibaut.

The Ferrari and the American cars will be able to stretch their legs on Zandvoort’s main straight but the technical section at the back of the circuit will allow the lightweight cars from the CLP class to come into their stride. An entire fleet of Lotus Elans forms the lion’s share of this class, with the Dutch crowd keeping fingers crossed for Sander van Gils’ example. Van Gils has to compete against the single Ginetta G4R of Masters boss Ron Maydon and the Elans of Mark Martin, Paul Whight and Nick & Eddie Powell, among many others. Meanwhile, will Steve Soper be back with his Elan? We are eagerly awaiting his entry.

In C2, there is a similar battle between the odd-one out and the ‘logical choice’ of the class, as a wealth of Austin Healey 3000s compete against Keith Ahlers’ and Billy Bellinger’s lone Morgan Plus 4 SLR – and ever so often the Morgan comes out the winner. The fastest ‘Big Healey’ taking it on is probably that of Swede Nils-Fredrik Nyblaeus and his skilful co-driver Jeremy Welch, as Nyblaeus and Welch have been competing for class victories with Ahlers and Bellinger for years. However, don’t rule out the Healey of Mark Holme and Nigel Greensall – Greensall is very quick in everything he pedals.

In the smallest class, the Zandvoort crowd have another home favourite to support, as Michiel van Duijvendijk and Pascal Pandelaar have entered their Porsche 904/6 to take on the 911s and MG Bs in the C1 class. Both Dutchmen are very quick, so for now they are not just the home favourites, but class favourites as well. Will we see three Dutch class winners holding a Masters trophy in September? It could happen just like that.

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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