King Car rules the street of Knokke during the Zoute Grand Prix
In case you still had some doubts about the Zoute Grand Prix, they would probably disappear like an ice cube in the sun. The event once again reinforced it’s name, as if that would even be necessary. The Zoute Grand Prix 2016 proved again to be the best classic car event in Belgium, and maybe even far abroad. Saying it is a strict classic car event is even an understatement. With the presence of a dozen top brands like Porsche, Ferrari, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and BMW to name just a few, the thousands of visitors that flooded Knokke Zoute didn’t know where to throw an eye first. An absolutely stunning line-up of almost any supercar or sportscar you can find on the current market was their part.
Thursday : technical scrutineering
From Thursday morning on, classic carss were regularly spotted in he streets of Knokke. After all, most of them headed to the technical scrutineering located near the Albertplein. Every car that competed in the rally was subject to a technical inspection. Therefore it was a continuous coming and going from a range of cars spanning the early decades of last century. Bentley’s from the twenties followed by Ferrari’s and Porsches of the fifties or early sixties. As usual, the street running parallel to the coast line wasthe epicentre. The majestic Bonhams Auction tent was set up at the opposite side of the road, compared to the previous years. Some 100 meters further you could find the driver’s lounge where the cars took the start on Friday and Saturday morning. After the technical scrutineering, the cars that competed in the rally, drove a prologue to determine the starting order the next morning. Thursday is a great day to see al the competing cars closely. From moment one we knew this would be another great event. The ex-Josef Jeser Porsche 550 Spyder, that competed in earlier editions of the Zoute Rally was here again. Just that car justifies our coming. Next to that dozens of Porsche 356 from all ages, with an 1955 Porsche 356 bent-window as the oldest one.
Friday : the fields of Flanders
On Friday morning the tour took off under a blue sky. It promised to be another great day. The tour brought the participants from the Belgian east-side of the coast all the way to the Fields of Flanders. Large crowds on both sides of the streets made clear to the drivers and co-pilots that they were close to their destination. Once again the organisation did a great job with the lunchbreak at the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 in Zonnebeke. .A Scottisch music choir, including the pipes, welcomed the cars at the Memorial Museum. Lunch was served in war style tents where a music band played the tunes that wouldn’t be misplaced on a radio station from back then. After lunch, cars went off for another exciting tour back to Knokke, but not without the obligatory Flying 1/4 Mile in Knokke-Heist. the Zoute Sale by Bonhams made sure you could complete your car collection or buy the first one to start your collection. Some interesting cars like the ex-Derek Bell Porsche 928 CS prototype went under the hammer. You’ll read about this later in a separate article.
Saturday : visit to Kortrijk
Early Saturday morning, people in Knokke woke up again with the sound of roaring engines. Fortunately enough, the whole day there was no drop of rain. A scenic tour led all the way to Kortrijk. where the participants were welcomed by hundreds of people. While the cars were parked in the city centre, pilots and co-pilots enjoyed a marvellous lunch at the oldest hotel in Belgium : Hotel Damier at the grand place. The hotel even housed guests like Barack Obama, during his visit to Belgium on the occasion of First Word War Centenary. After the coffee, back to the cars for a ride through the countryside to the finish in Knokke.
Zoute Concours d’Elegance
In the few years of existence, the Concours d’Elegance at the Royal Zoute Golf Club has grown into a classy event with top cars. Around 50 cars are gathered at the fairway of the Royal Zoute Golf Club where an international jury inspects them thoroughly. The 2016 Porsche 911R that was accompanied by it’s older brother; the 1967 Porsche 911R won a first prize : the competition class.
Zoute Grand Prix 2016
Pictures : Vintage Race Photography and Wilfried Geerts