Every man (and woman) loves to unleash the inner child every now and then. Martin Philippo enjoyed a track day at Zandvoort.
Deep in our hearts we’re all racing drivers. Secretly we rev up just a little more than strictly necessary, choose a twisty back road to put the pedal to the metal of our daily driver. Alas we soon will have to adapt our behaviour behind the wheel to the traffic around us, a public road simply isn’t a circuit. The track being occupied by the genuine racing drivers with their fire proof overalls and racing licences. However there is a solution for the driver with racing ambitions. Most circuits organise track days on a regular basis. Tracks open for everyone that pays the usually small fee. The German Nürburgring is best known for it, the long track is open for the public every day, making the Nordschleife one of the countries most famous tourist attractions. Today we take a look at the Zandvoort circuit, where track days are on the agenda most every month.
The scent of adrenaline spoils the air when we arrive at the circuit. Drivers are on edge and excited. For twenty minutes they can be Nikki Lauda, James Hunt or Max Verstappen. It aren’t but young men that enter the game, we do spot some older gentlemen as well, frantically passing around their vehicles. The ladies present prove that motorsports is no longer a male only activity. The cars used today are as diverse as their owners. Some are specially prepared for days like these, sometimes to an extend that forfeits them for further use on public roads. There even is a company renting out racing cars prepared for the circuit, but most cars we see here today are daily drivers.
BMW is represented in large numbers, mostly old bangers that won’t mind another scratch or dent. There are some Mercs and a lost Porsche. Of course I notice the Saab 900 Classic by father and son Mink. Now these Saabs aren’t well known for their track record, but this one is quite sporty to say the least. ‘We own a Saab workshop’, Peter Mink explains. ‘We repair and service these cars on a regular basis, replace parts and keep’em tidy. This one here is our toy, we use it to enjoy ourselves, experiment and learn. To go where no-one has gone before. And to do all of this with a bunch of youngsters is even more fun.’ The Saab in question has been fitted with some seriously modified underpinnings as well as quite some added horsepower. By removing parts like the complete interior the weight of the vehicle is considerably lower. This is a Saab with serious potential!
The driver of an Alfa Romeo Giulia is slightly disappointed on the low number of classics present today. His vehicle arrived freshly from Italy, where it competed in the Trofeo Giulia, it’s still wearing all the stickers. The car even shows the scars of a long racing life. For the new owner it is the first time to unleash all of the cars potential. And after that? ‘This winter I’ll be applying for my racing license and then I aim for the Historic Grand Prix.’ The twinkle in his eye gives away how much he’s looking forward to that. Until then he’ll have to make do with the track days. There’ll be another one next month. No competition today, everyone enjoys the track and helps where necessary. For one day all participants live in a dream world. Unleashing the boy racers that are usually hidden deep inside. How cool is that?