The Historic Grand Prix might very well be one of the largest events at Circuit Zandvoort this past summer. Martin Philippo looks back with mixed feelings.
During the Historic Grand Prix at Zandvoort historic motorsport shows its two faces. There is the pleasure and the passion amongst both participants and visitors. Summer sun and carefree entertainment. And there is the dark side. On Saturday French contestant David Ferrer gets into a terrible crash. Stewards are on the spot immediately, a trauma helicopter takes the battered driver to hospital at once. Later that week the world receives the message that David didn’t survive his injuries. A blow in the face of the historic motor sports in general. When on Sunday CineCars visits the event, the good spirit has returned. People still believe in a quick recovery of the unlucky Ferrer, the September sun is high up in the air overlooking the track and all of us are up for a beautiful day of racing. Besides DTM, the Historic Grand Prix might very well be the largest event at Circuit Zandvoort. A large number of visitors is there to proof that statement. So many people gathering automatically bring a certain spirit to an event like this.
It needs to be mentioned, there has really been an effort to make the Grand Prix truly Grand. Circuit Zandvoort gathered an enormous starting grid. The trailers, gazebo’s and mobile workshops of the participating teams cover almost all of the parking area. The field is international, English, German and Scandinavian. The French change their barets for racing helmets and, of course, there is a good Dutch delegation. Famous names on the programme, drivers that truly earned their merits in the racing sport. Besides races, there is entertainment a plenty. The audience can enjoy the Formula One racers of Team Force, who bring very imposing demonstrations of their skills.
BMW and Porsche brought several museum pieces to Zandvoort. The sidecar drivers and their companions show their incredible balancing act and a classic propellor air craft does some tricks above the dunes. The large crowd enjoys itself tremendously. Some of them even having a close shave by one of the barbers that have put up shop in the paddock for the weekend. For those of the Dutchies that want even more, there is always national hero Max Verstappen racing at Monza and shown on a giant screen.
To help this spectacle succeed, the sunny weather is a great addition. Three days of sunshine turn this Historic Grand Prix into an even bigger success. Except maybe that one English driver, muttering in his somewhat incomprehensible dialect that he drives best in the rain. He almost commences his personal rain dance, which he claims truly works. Once in the United States he danced it and it should be said, the heavens opened up and it rained for days. I’m glad he keeps his feet together during these races, quietly whispering ‘weird guys, those Brittons’.
They do have a sense of humor though, that’s for sure. I go on enjoying the tightly stacked programme, the magnificent thunder of the V8 engines in the Cobra’s and the high pitched whine of a Ferrari. Loving the great weather and the happy faces of the visitors to this great spectacle. Secretly we admire the young ladies in their latex body suits posing in front of the racing cars. They belong together, racing cars and grid girls. Another example of historic racing that should be kept for the future. Way to go, Zandvoort!
Photos by: Martin Philippo and Robbert Moree