The ZOUTE GRAND PRIX ® 2018: Sun, sea and purest car pleasure…

This year’s edition of the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX ® proved once again magnificent, and not alone because of the truly beautiful weather. There was a lot to see, enjoy and drive during the four days from 4 to 7 October.

As it is becoming a wonderful tradition now, not less than four events were organized, and besides this general (pictorial) review of the 9th edition of the global ZOUTE GP® event here on these pages, we will come back to you soon, dear reader, with separate reports on each of the venues. We also participated ourselves in the ZOUTE GT TOUR® with an Alpine A110…

So stay tuned…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We enjoyed all of them to the full: the ZOUTE TOP MARQUES®, where 15 top premium car brands were displayed on stands, spread throughout Knokke on podiums at the Kustlaan and Albertplein, on the Zoute Dyke and last but not least the beach pavilions. As we participated at the ZOUTE GT TOUR® in an Alpine A110, so it is only fitting that we present you here this Alpine with its very feline curves which evoke faithfully the panache of the original Alpine Monte Carlo Winner decades ago.

Central place takes of course the ZOUTE RALLY®, which is spread over not less than three days, from Thursday October 4 to Saturday October 6. Owners and drivers of classic cars built before 1965 can participate.

On the first day, the cars are subjected to a technical scrutinizing, and drive a regularity test, the results of which determine the starting order for the 250 km tour the next day. The route is of course kept carefully secret until the moment of the start. On Friday the cars toured around Ypres, on Saturday the route led through the polders around Sluis, Breskens and Damme, with a magnificent lunch in Zoute style in Assenede.

Your servant followed this tour on Saturday in an official press car, and once again the organizers and their press team with last but not least Sarah Rillaert have to be congratulated for their truly excellent service. The tour consists of regularity tests, a balade and last but not least a spectacular ¼ mile speed test, the FLYING ¼ MILE® on the Graaf d’Ursellaan.

The auction ZOUTE SALE® by Bonhams was the highlight on Friday. We will come back extensively on this with a separate report, suffice to say here that the ZOUTE SALE® by Bonhams belongs together with the Grand Palais Sale in Paris to the absolute top in Europe, and is on a par with the Quail Lodge Auction at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance in Carmel (USA). Total amount of the auction was € 8.259.239.

The most expensive car at the auction – it went under the hammer for 975.000 Euros, with all fees and duties paid € 1.212.250  – was the 1962 Aston Martin DB4 ‘Series V’ Vantage Sports Saloon, in truly concours-standard condition. It is one of the few with covered headlights, has fully matching numbers and has a special series (Vantage) engine from new.

But here were more gems for the (racing) purists, like the 1956 Elva Mk 1/B Sports Racer, and a stunning 1951 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Villa d’Este Coupé, for the lovers of Italian elegance and purity.

Another venue not to be missed and where we shot our Nikon red hot on late Saturday afternoon was the ZOUTE CONCOURS D’ÉLÉGANCE® by Degroof Petercam at the beautiful settings of the Royal Zoute Golf Club. It celebrated 70 years Porsche, 70 years Land Rover and 40 years BMW M1.

But what we truly loved too was the ‘The Jaguar icons C+D+E+F types’ display. If there is a pure racing car which proved the fastest of the lot based on series production drive train, then it is this iconic Jaguar.

We show you here some photos of it, together with the BMW 507 which once belonged to Elvis Presley

and a Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Touring from 1948, which won the “Best of Show” Prize. But (much) more on this later.

ZOUTE GT TOUR® by EY proved to be also an absolute highlight. As said, I participated as a co-driver with Anja Van der Borght in an Alpine A110 at this tour, as we already told you on this site. It proved a truly wonderful experience, and a full report will follow soon.

Here you see us at the start of the ZOUTE GT TOUR® in the Alpine. We stood our ground in the special stages and also the FLYING ¼ MILE® speed test. We just floored the accelerator, and left the gearbox in the “D” position, and had a go. This resulted in us being faster than a Porsche 991 2 GT3, Alfa Romeo C4 Editione Corsa, Ferrari 488 GTB 2017, BMW i8 Roadster…The advantageous power to weight ratio of our A110 truly tells!

Participants enjoyed a well deserved glass of Ruinart champagne at the finish…

Some famous people participated in “our” ZOUTE GT TOUR®. Cycling champion Tom Boonen drove a Porsche 991 GT2 RS en Mickael Karkousse of the belgian music group Goose appeared at the start with an Audi R8 Coupé V10 plus. Football coach Roberto Martinez chose a BMW 8-series coupé.

We let you enjoy the photos here, but more reports will follow!

Hans Knol ten Bensel