Circuit Park Zandvoort
|Time zone||CET (UTC+01)|
|Major events||Dutch Grand Prix, DTM, RTL GP Masters of F3|
|Grand Prix Circuit (1995–present)|
|Length||4.307 km (2.676 mi)|
|Lap record||1:26.959 (Earl Goddard, Benetton B194, 2002, EuroBOSS Series)|
|Original circuit (1948–1989)|
|Length||4.252 km (2.642 mi)|
|Lap record||1:11:074 (Nelson Piquet, Brabham BMW BT54, 1985)|
1930s through mid 1980s
There were plans for races at Zandvoort before World War II: the first street race was held on June 3, 1939. However, a permanent race track was not constructed until after the war, using communications roads built by the occupying German army. Contrary to popular belief John Hugenholtz cannot be credited with the design of the Zandvoort track, although he was involved as the Nederlandse Automobiel Ren Club chairman (the Dutch Auto Racing Club) before becoming the first track director in 1949. Instead, it was 1927 Le Mans winner, S. C. H. "Sammy" Davis who was brought in as a track design advisor in July 1946 although the layout was partly dictated by the existing roads.
The circuit was inaugurated on August 7, 1948. The following year the race was called the Zandvoort Grand Prix and in 1950 it became the "Grote Prijs van Nederland" or Dutch Grand Prix. The 1952 Dutch Grand Prix was a round of the World Drivers Championship for the first time [but not a Formula One race, as the World Championship was for Formula Two cars that year and in 1953]. There was no GP at Zandvoort in 1954 (a sportscar-event replaced it), but 1955 saw the first proper Formula One race counting for the World Championship. After 2 more years without a race the Dutch Grand Prix was back on the World Championship(s) calendar in 1958 and from then on remained a permanent fixture (with the exception of 1972) until 1985, when it was held for the last time.
Mid 1980s to present
To solve a number of problems that had made it impossible to develop and upgrade the track, the most important one being noise pollution for the inhabitants of the part of Zandvoort closest to the track, the track management adopted and developed a plan to move the most southern part of the track away from the housing estate and rebuild a more compact track in the remaining former 'infield'. In January 1987 this plan got the necessary 'green light' when it was formally approved by the Noord-Holland Provincial Council. However, only a couple of months later a new problem arose: the company that commercially ran the circuit (CENAV), called in the receiver and went out of business, marking the end of "Circuit van Zandvoort". Again the track, owned by the municipality of Zandvoort, was in danger of being permanently lost for motorsports. However, a new operating company, the Stichting Exploitatie Circuit Park, was formed and started work at the realization of the track's reconstruction plans. Circuit Park Zandvoort was born and in the summer of 1989 the track was remodeled to an interim Club Circuit of 2.6 kilometers (1.6 mi), while the disposed southern part of the track was used to build a Vendorado Bungalow Park and new premises for the local soccer and hockey clubs.
In 1995, CPZ (Circuit Park Zandvoort) got the "A Status" of the Dutch government and began building an international Grand Prix Circuit. This project was finished in 2001 when, after the track was redesigned to a 4.3 kilometers (2.7 mi) long circuit and a new pits building was realized (by HPG, the development company of John Hugenholtz jr, son of the former director), a new grandstand was situated along the long straight. One of the major events that is held at the circuit, along with DTM and A1GP, is the RTL Masters of Formula 3, where Formula Three cars of several national racing series compete with each other (originally called Marlboro Masters, before tobacco advertising ban). A noise restriction order was responsible for this event moving to the Belgian Circuit Zolder for 2007 and 2008. However, the race returned to its historical home in 2009.
Circuit Park Zandvoort played host to the first race in the 2006/07 season of A1 Grand Prix from 29 September-1 October 2006. On 21 August 2008, the official A1GP site reported that the 2008/09 season's first race has moved from the Mugello Circuit, Italy to Zandvoort on the 4–5 October 2008 due to the delay in the building the new chassis for the new race cars. The Dutch round moved to TT Circuit Assen in 2010. A1GP bankrupted before its fifth season and the Dutch round was replaced with Superleague Formula
The circuit gained popularity because of its fast, sweeping corners such as Scheivlak as well as the "Tarzanbocht" (Tarzan corner) hairpin at the end of the start/finish straight. Tarzanbocht is the most famous corner in the circuit. Since there is a camber in the corner, it provides excellent overtaking opportunities. It is possible to pass around the outside as well as the easier inside lane. This corner is reportedly named after a local character who had earned the nickname of Tarzan and only wanted to give up his vegetable garden in the dunes if the track's designers named a nearby corner after him. On the other hand, many different stories about Tarzan Corner are known.
The circuit design has been modified and altered several times:
- 1948-1971: length 4.193 kilometers (2.605 mi)
- 1972-1979: length 4.226 kilometers (2.626 mi)
- 1980-1989: length 4.252 kilometers (2.642 mi)
- 1990-1998: length 2.526 kilometers (1.570 mi)
- 1999–present: length 4.300 kilometers (2.672 mi)
The corners are named as follows (the numbers correspond to the image above, starting at the start/finish line):
- Tarzan corner (1)
- Gerlach corner (2)
- Hugenholtz corner (3)
- Hunzerug (4)
- Rob Slotemaker corner (5)
- Scheivlak (6)
- Masters corner (formerly Marlboro corner) (7)
- naamloze corner (formerly Renault corner) (8)
- corner zonder naam (formerly the Vodafone) (9)
- the S corner (formerly Audi S corner) (10 + 11)
- Kumho corner (12)
- Arie Luyendyk (formerly Bosuit) (13)
The elevation difference is 15 meters (49 ft).
In the history of the circuit, several fatal accidents have occurred.
|Hendrik Dik||March 22, 1952||His Peugeot did not stop after completing the stage, but went straight on through some fences. The car then hit a small hill and rolled. It turned out the driver had suffered a fatal heart attack at the wheel of his car.|
|Wim Gerlach||June 10, 1957||Wim Gerlach rolled his Porsche during an up to 1600 cm3 sportscar race at Zandvoort on 9 June 1957. The car was not equipped with a rollcage and Gerlach, who was not wearing seatbelts, had his head crushed between the door of the car and the earth bank. The corner where this accident happened was named Gerlachbocht after him.|
|Werner Engel||April 30, 1958||Crashed his Mercedes 300SL cabriolet during the final stage of that year's Tulip Rally. As was usual at the time, the Tulip Rally's final stage was run as a race at the Zandvoort Racing Track, but in anti-clockwise direction, so as to counter unfair advantages for local (Dutch) drivers with racing experience of the track. Engel's car crashed and overturned on the back-stretch of the track, on the short straight leading away from Tunnel-Oost (in the direction of Scheivlak Corner) and came to rest upside down on the track.|
|Ian Raby||November 7, 1967||Seriously injured on 5th lap of the Zandvoort Grand Prix, 7th round of the 1967 European Formula 2 Championship.|
|Chris Lambert||July 28, 1968||British driver Lambert and a female spectator were killed when Lambert and Clay Regazzoni collided during the Dutch round of the European Formula 2 Championship, launching Lambert's Brabham BT23C over the guardrail and onto the pedestrian path below.|
|Piers Courage||June 21, 1970||His car's suspension or steering broke on the flatout 'Tunnel Oost'-bump. Instead of rounding the bend, the car went straight on into the steep dunes, disintegrated on impact and caught fire as the engine broke away from the monocoque; automatic fuel-sealing equipment was not yet being used. During the impact one of the front wheels broke loose and hit Courage's head, taking off his helmet (wheel and helmet came rolling out of the cloud of dust simultaneously). It may safely be assumed that Courage was killed instantly (or at least severely wounded and knocked unconscious) when the wheel hit him, moments before the car burst into flames (instead of being killed by the fire). This is in accordance with the fact that the monocoque was upright [not upside down, as is often stated by those who confuse the Courage and Williamson accidents) when it came to rest and did not seem to trap its driver in any way.|
|Roger Williamson||July 29, 1973||He lost control of his car due to a suspected tyre failure during the F1 Dutch Grand Prix and crashed into the barriers, spun upside-down and caught fire. David Purley stopped his own race and tried unsuccessfully to save Williamson. The circuit was poorly prepared and not enough extinguishers were on hand.|
|Rob Slotemaker||July 29, 1979||He broke his neck and died during a non-F1 event.|
|Hans-Georg Bürger||July 20, 1980||Crashed fatally in his Tiga F280-BMW at Scheivlak-Corner during the warm-up for the Grote Prijs van Zandvoort, the Dutch round of the European Formula 2 Championship. He succumbed to his head injuries in hospital two days later.|
|Alain Vinckx||May 25, 1987||During a World Record Day event Vinckx was killed when he attempted a stunt in which he drove a Chevrolet Camaro though three buses placed back to back. The second bus was positioned too low, the roof of the car was cut from it by the roof of the bus. Vinckx was unable to duck away from danger and was decapitated.|
|Oliver Heimann||March 30, 1991||The car of another competitor had come to a standstill and Heimann could not avoid this car. The car of Heimann came under the car that had stopped. Heimann broke his neck in the accident, and he died in a hospital in Haarlem, Netherlands, about one hour after the crash.|
|Vokko Otto||December 20, 1997||The Austin Healey #44 driven by Vokko Otto went out of control on the approach to the Tarzan corner, flew over the gravel run-off area and slammed into the barriers. The driver couldn't do anything to avoid the crash, possibly the accident happened as a consequence of a brake failure. He was hit by the steering column of the car, suffering a serious concussion and broken ribs. He remained longtime in a coma, survived for several years of rehabilitation in a wheelchair, until he died in Reeuwjik, Netherlands, on Saturday, 20 December 1997. He died four-and-a-half years after the accident.|
|Henk Schoorstra||July 29, 2010||After colliding with another car, Henk Schoorstra's single-seater went out of control and crashed into the guard rail between Henserug and the Rob Slotemaker bend. The driver was able to drive the car into the run-off area but it caught fire and Schoorstra was killed at the scene.|
Use in simulations / games
In 1998, the older "classic" Zandvoort circuit layout from 1967 was modeled in detail and can be driven in the Grand Prix Legends racing simulation for X86-based PCs. This was later converted to NASCAR 4, NASCAR 2002, 2003 and other simulations using a converter from website 'The Pits'. The current layout is used in the SimBin game RACE 07 - Official WTCC Game, TOCA Race Driver 3, Race Pro and the online simulation iRacing where it is laser scanned for millimeter accuracy. The layout from 1973 to 1980 can be driven in the ISI game Rfactor: it is included in the "Grand Prix 1979" mod. The circuit can also be driven in the "DTM Race Driver" games for PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC.
Since 2008, the course has been used as the venue for the Runner's World Zandvoort Circuit Run, a 5-kilometre road running competition. The 2010 edition of the race attracted Lornah Kiplagat, a multiple world champion, who won the ladies 5 km race.
- "Grand Designs: John Hugenholtz". Grand Prix View. 2010-10-05. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
- "The quintessential race track in the dunes". forix.autosport.com. Summer 2001. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
- "Masters to return to Zandvoort". autosport.com. 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2009-01-23.
- "Dutch delight". a1gp.com. 2009-08-10. Retrieved 2009-08-27.
- "Circuit Park Zandvoort, The Netherlands". a1gp.com. n.d. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
- "8W - When? - 1973 Dutch GP". Forix. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- Runner's World Zandvoort Circuit Run. Runner's World Zandvoort Circuit Run. Retrieved on 2010-03-28.
- Laarhuis, Andra (2010-03-28). Kiplagat makes successful return after injury . IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-03-28.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Circuit Park Zandvoort.|
- (Dutch) Circuit Zandvoort homepage
- The history of the Zandvoort circuit
- The prewar street circuit of Zandvoort
- RacingCircuits.info's history of Circuit Park Zandvoort
- Aerial photo (Google Maps)