BELGIUM

CIRCUIT ZOLDER

A decade after a first track was built here on the outskirts of Zolder, and flush with cash from its success, plans were enacted to further extend the layout into what the local motor-club hoped would become a world class facility. For that to succeed, Dutch track designer of note John Hugenholtz (the man who designed two of the world’s finest tracks in Zandvoort and Suzuka) was brought in to oversee the plans. By the mid-’60s, the new Zolder was hosting both national and international races and, when big brother Spa was shut down in the ’70s, it took on the mantle as the home of Belgian motorsport. With the return of Spa, and the Zolder circuit proving too problematic and dangerous for the new generation of cars, it slowly went into a period of decline until a big spend in the mid-’90s brought it back to FIA standards. These days it’s home to GT racing, saloon cars, and a prestigious 24-Hour race and remains as difficult to tame as it always was—narrow, winding, flat and supremely technical. It’s a track that comes alive for drivers able to find their rhythm around this place.

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