Historical Moments - Netherlands


The next League of Europe Round is the Dutch GP held at Zandvoort in North Holland, near one of the major beach resorts of the Netherlands, West of Haarlem.

At the 1952 Dutch Grand Prix, Jan Flinterman and Dries van der Lof were the first Dutch drivers to participate in a Formula One race; for both drivers, it was their only one. In 1957, Carel Godin de Beaufort was the first regular Dutch Formula One driver, and the first Dutch driver to score points, driving in 31 races between 1957 and 1964, before crashing fatally at the 1964 German Grand Prix.

Three Dutch drivers were entered for the 1962 Dutch Grand Prix: besides Carel Godin de Beaufort, who drove the entire 1962 Formula One season, Ben Pon drove in his first and only Formula One Grand Prix as de Beaufort's teammate. Rob Slotemaker was entered for the race, but did not participate because his car was not ready in time.

As for circuit street races were held around Zandvoort from 1939 but plans were to make a permanent track but these were delayed by World War 2 and planning for the circuit started in 1946 with British 1927 Le Mans winner Sydney Charles Houghton ‘Sammy’ Davies being signed to design the layout although the design was mostly ruled by existing roads. The first race on the 2.6 mile (4.2Km) 19 turn track was in 1948. It became part of the World Drivers Championship in 1952, no Dutch GP was held in 54’, 56’ or 57’ but it returned in 1958 till 1985 missing only 1972 from the Formula 1 calendar.

The circuit was removed from F1 after 1985 because of the difficulty of redevelopment and upgrading the track to meet new standards and reduce noise for locals, ideas such as moving part of the track away from a residential estate these plans were given the go ahead in 1987 but sadly the company that commercially ran the circuit CENAV went out of business. The track was owned by the local government of Zandvoort happy to save the track from being lost to motorsports a new company was formed and the tracks name was changed from Circuit van Zandvoort to Circuit Park Zandvoort and it was remodelled in 1989 to a shorter 1.6 mile track too short to hold any major motorsport Championship race though. Happily in 1995 the Government of Holland gave the circuit an ‘A’ grade so development started to build a new 2.7 mile (4.3Km) layout and it held DTM, A1GP and Formula 3 races from 2001 when it was reopened.

On 14 May 2019 it was confirmed that Zandvoort would host the Dutch Grand Prix for 2020 and beyond for a duration of at least three years, with the option to host another two in the future. The local government spent 4 Million Euros to make changes to the track such as a new banked final corner so F1 cars could race on it.

Lastly if comes up in a pub quiz James Hunt won his first ever race here in 1975, Niki Lauda won his last race here in 1985 and finally I must add the circuit is the home of the cycling 24hr which is an event open to the public for soloist or teams of up to 8 since 2013, maybe the venue for a real Excel vs QVR race?

On a more serious note who do you think will win this weekends races? Who will roar like Tarzan out of the first corner (its called Tarzanbocht – I’m funny)? We’ll all find out this Saturday on the League of Europe youtube channel.


written by Sir_Ibbo