A pot­ted his­tory of Zand­voort


The first ever mo­tor race took place on the streets of Zand­voort in June 1939 and the event proved so pop­u­lar that the lo­cal mayor de­cided a per­ma­nent cir­cuit should be built in the dunes to the north of the town.

The new track hosted its first race, won by Prince Bira of Siam, af­ter the war in 1948. But it wasn’t un­til 1952 that the ‘de Grote prijs van Ned­er­land’ be­came part of the F1 world cham­pi­onship.

The 1967 Dutch Grand Prix was sig­nif­i­cant be­cause Jim Clark tri­umphed in the Lo­tus 49, record­ing the first win – on its de­but – for the Ford-Cos­worth DFV en­gine.

Tragedy struck at Zand­voort when Piers Courage lost his life in the 1970 event and then Roger Wil­liamson suf­fered a fatal ac­ci­dent three years later. Wil­liamson’s car over­turned, caught fire and de­spite the brave res­cue ef­forts of his friend David Pur­ley, he suc­cumbed to his in­juries.

James Hunt stunned the F1 es­tab­lish­ment when he over­came the might of Niki Lauda’s Fer­rari to win the 1975 Dutch Grand Prix in the pri­vately run Hes­keth – the lit­tle team’s only world cham­pi­onship vic­tory.

In to­tal, 30 F1 races were held at the track and win­ners in­cluded cham­pi­ons Mario An­dretti, Nel­son Pi­quet and Alain Prost. McLaren’s Niki Lauda tri­umphed at the fi­nal grand prix to be held at Zand­voort in 1985. Soon af­ter, the lay­out of the cir­cuit was short­ened.

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