Enjoying the WTCC in Zandvoort as a VIP.
A couple of weeks ago my uncle asked me if I would like to join him on national Liberation day at the WTCC
(the official FIA World Touring Car Championship)
at Circuit Park Zandvoort.
Of course I liked that idea as I've never seen the WTCC, and it had been a long time since I had been at the
circuit. My uncle could also get some free entry tickets through his work, so why not...?
Closer to May 5th my uncle discovered that they weren't just simple entry tickets, but special VIP ones. We
had no idea what these tickets meant for us, but we would be finding out shortly. On the morning of May 5th
we (my uncle, some of his other nephews and I) left early for Zandvoort in order to arrive there in time,
as they would expect us to be there at 10 o'clock. We had to register at an office in a sort of
holiday/leisure park, were we received our tickets for the day. We got our tickets and walked to the
circuit. We already noticed that wherever we went no one stopped us. We came to an area with a red
carpet leading to it with boards beside it marked 'VIP Club'. We asked the two nice ladies (check
the Photo album for photos) who stood
at the entrance if this was the right place to go. They confirmed and let us through, and we entered the
special skyboxes in the VIP area. We were completely astonished by this treatment and were almost laughing
because of this unfamiliar situation. Later some other people asked these ladies if they too were allowed
to go our way, but they weren't allowed to do so. It was easy to find the skybox of the company from which
we got the free tickets. They gave us a warm-hearted welcome with coffee and small cakes/petitfours. They
wished us a nice day, which we could to enjoy as they would take care of all of our worries. They also
promised a warm lunch at noon and an appetizer with some warm snacks in the evening. There were also free
drinks on offer the whole day. We could also go wherever we wanted to -- but we already noticed that
When we finished our coffee, we took a look at the 'parc fermé', were we could walk through the trucks of
the racing teams that were standing there. It was really cool to be able to take a look in the kitchen of
the world of racing. The trailers of these trucks made me think of operating rooms in hospitals as they were
just as clean. We walked on towards the pitlane, to check that out. It was nice to see all the garages with
the cars and the engineers preparing the cars for the free practices. We also 'met' some famous racedrivers
like Alex Zanardi (a former Formula 1 driver from Italy who now drives with two prosthetic legs), our Dutch
hero Tom Coronel and various other drivers. After taking a lot of photos in the garages (you can see them in
the Photo album), it became clear that
the free practice would start soon, so they closed the pitlane to the public.
We left the pitlane and went upstairs to find a nice spot on top of the roof of the central building. This
roof is located right above the garages and the skyboxes. From this position we could see everything that
happened in the pitlane as well as on the long main straight with Start-finish line, the Tarzan corner and
a few other parts of the circuit. The wind from the sea was blowing very hard on top of the roof, but we
didn't care much about that. It only made it a bit tougher to take stable photos.
After the free practice was over it was about time for a nice lunch, so we headed back to the skybox. The
lunch, which was Chinese with other delicacies, was already waiting for us. It all tasted really good. After
lunch we went upstairs again to watch the demonstration of a drifting team. It was awesome to see the cars
burn their tires amidst plenty of smoke. They were drifting with these specially prepared cars over the
whole track and make 'donuts' on the main straight.
After this special break it was time for the qualification of the WTCC drivers. Every driver got a certain
amount of time to try to drive some quick laps. The best times would determine the starting order for the
race on Sunday. In the Photo album you
can see some beautiful action shots from the qualification laps. I also listed the starting positions they
achieved there. When the qualification was finished, there was another nice surprise for us: our prime
minister Jan Peter Balkenende was at the racing track in Zandvoort. Not long after the qualification, Tom
Coronel took him in his car and drove two laps at full speed around the circuit. After this cool stunt there
was a Seat Cup race, but they stopped this race early because many of the drivers had serious issues with
their tires, which couldn't guarantee their safety. In the meantime we enjoyed some nice drinks and tasty
snacks in the skybox.
Unfortunately, this fantastic day being a VIP had to come to an end, but first we decided to go to the beach
for a nice walk. The beach is just a few hundreds of meters away from the circuit. The wind had already
attacked us a lot during the day, but here it was even worse. We had a great time on the beach anyway, and
I was able to take some nice photos. Just as we were about to go home we found a boomerang on the beach
and we couldn't resist playing with that toy for a while. The others did quite a good job, but when it was
my turn... I have no experience with such a boomerang at all and gave it much too hard a swing. The fierce
wind blew the boomerang away and it landed on top of a beach caravan. A rather stressed guy from Amsterdam
didn't like that 'move' and became quite angry and shouted out some typical Amsterdam phrases which I'd
better not repeat here...
But after all, we had a fantastic day that I would like to do again if I could. Thanks Gerrit!