Zandvoort, Noord-Holland

Zandvoort was a regular highlight of the Formula 1 World Championship until 1985. The town had held a street race in 1939 but designer John Hugenholtz used the communications roads adjacent to the North Sea coast that had been left by the retreating German army to create a new circuit after World War II. The combination of a fast final corner onto the long pits straight before the famous 180-degree Tarzan corner produced great racing with plenty of overtaking. Sand dunes act as natural grandstands around the circuit. However, Zandvoort struggled financially after losing the Dutch GP and it was taken over by the town council after falling into bankruptcy in 1988. Dutch noise pollution laws also led to alterations, including a manmade sand dune built between the town and a new, shorter circuit opened in 1989. The layout was extended 10 years later, returning Zandvoort to F1 length while retaining the character of the original course. Although there was sporadic talk of the Grand Prix returning, that remains unlikely as the series expands outside Europe. Today the annual highlight is the Formula 3 Masters, which has replaced the Monaco support race as Europe’s most prestigious event for the category. Luca Badoer’s Ferrari F1-2000 set a new unofficial lap record of 1m21.568 during a 2001 demonstration.