Zandvoort – Dutch Grand Prix

In the dunes just north of the town of Zandvoort, Netherlands is a motorsport race track. This track is located in Burgemeester van Alphenstraat near the north coastline.

There were plans for auto races at Zandvoort before World War II.  The first race was held on June 3, 1939. 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, Sidney Charles Houghton 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”.

The first race took place in 1948, under the title of the Zandvoort Grand Prix. It was won by Thailand’s Prince Birabongse Bhanutej Bhanubandh in a Maserati 4CL with British driver Anthony Peter Roylance (Tony Rolt), Alfa Aitken, and Reginald Harold Haslam (Reg Parnell), Maserati 4CLT behind him.

There was no Formula One or FormulaTwo Grand Prix at Zandvoort in 1954. A sports car race replaced it, but 1955 saw the first proper Formula One race counting for the World Drivers’ Championship. After 2 more years without a race the Dutch Grand Prix was back on the World Championship 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.


Posted in MEMOIRS.

Emilio Lezcano

Journalist - Editor - Photographer
Professional Race Car Driver

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