I had a fun weekend. And no, there were no bars, dancing girls or amplified music involved. This weekend I watched the Avenue21 Porsche race at the 12 Hours of Zandvoort.
I should probably first explain if Avenue21 suddenly has a Porsche race car. Nah, the car is owned by PG Motorsport, but especially for this big race the team applied for number 21, and ran an Avenue21 logo where other cars ran the regular series-mandated numbers.
PG Motorsport is a Dutch, mainly Porsche, team that runs, tunes, restores, even rents out, race cars. And Paul Geeris, the “PG” in the name, was one of Avenue21’s first Facebook likers. So we talked about it and; I like the team, he likes the site, and before you knew it there was an “Avenue21 Porsche”.
The 12 Hours of Zandvoort is part of an endurance series with races in Italy, Spain, Hungary, France, Dubai and obviously The Netherlands. A total of 53 entries showed up, divided over 7 different classes. “Our” Porsche GT3 ran in the Sport 3 Class, which are pretty fast, but no match for the A6 Class where Ferrari, Lamborghini, Corvette and several Mercedes SLS’s pack hundreds of horsepowers more.
The city of Zandvoort is basically Amsterdam by the Sea. Don’t tell the inhabitants that I said so, but if I can pedal my race bike there within an hour, it’s Amsterdam. Zandvoort is pretty, it has beaches, dunes and a historic racetrack that has hosted 34 Formula 1 races.
The first official race ever run in Zandvoort was a street race in 1939, and it convinced Mayor van Alphen that his town needed a permanent track. And even when a year later the Nazis invaded Zandvoort, he never dropped the idea. So after the Germans blew up large parts of Zandvoort for strategic reasons, he suggested that the Nazis use the rubble to construct a Parade Street. Because after they won the war, they would need one…
The Nazis liked his idea. So then the rubble of 600 houses and 40 hotels had to be moved to the future Paradestrasse. This gave many Zandvoorters a job that kept them out of German labor camps. The mayor doubted that there would ever be a Nazi victory parade, but figured that the construction might come in handy later. And even today, this rubble still forms the foundation of Zandvoort’s start-finish straight and the world-famous Tarzan corner.
The 12 hours of Zandvoort
Even in the preparation for the 12 hours of Zandvoort, PG Motorsport played to their strengths. They had a solid team, smart drivers, a reliable car and a clear plan. They didn’t care about qualifying speed, mid-race ranking or brave overtaking moves. They ran a consistently good pace, kept the car in one piece, made a few smart strategic moves and stayed out of trouble. And that worked out well.
And the winners are….
The overall victory went to the Martini Mercedes SLS, headed by Renger van der Zande. I like Renger, he’s a cool guy, who is currently building a good career in the States. So it was nice that he could come home and win in front of his friends and family.
The Mercs actually swept the podium, so they obviously had a good day. And you know who also had a pretty great day? PG Motorsport. The Porsche driven by Erik den Dekker, Jan van Es, Tjarco Jilesen and Maik Barten finished 9th overall out of the 53 entries, ánd they triumped in their SP3 class.
I had fun hanging out with the team, keeping people updated on Facebook and celebrating a victory. Yep, this definitely was a fun weekend at the beach.
Photos: Geert Langelaan. Geert’s website: actionimages.nl or check his Facebook here.