Salty Grand Prix 2015
As every year for 6 years now, the seaside resort of Knokke-Heist becomes "the place to be" during the 4 days dedicated to this automotive event, both historic and modern. The first 5 editions having been very successful, it quickly became mandatory for us to attend this festival.
5 main events punctuate these 4 days of passion. First of all, the Zoute Sale, in partnership with Bonhams (since the 2013 edition), where many lots were auctioned - unfortunately, having only been present at the weekend, our team did not been able to attend the sale which took place on Friday, or the lots on offer. The Zoute Top Marques, an open-air fair in the main shopping street of the city during the 4 days of the event. This year, no less than 14 manufacturers came to exhibit their new models: Lamborghini Huracan Spyder, McLaren 570S, Ferrari 488 Spyder,...
The Zoute GT Tour which took place on Sunday, bringing together sports cars, GTs and other modern supercars that came for a ride and a parade in and around the Knokke-Heist resort. This edition allowed enthusiasts to see “simple” Ferrari 458s, a rare Lamborghini Murcielago SV, but also other Italian machines and German arrows (SLR, etc.) evolve. Then come the two events that particularly made me want to go to the Zoute Grand Prix this year: the Zoute Rally and the Zoute Concours d'Elegance.
Not having been able to follow the rally on Friday, I devoted almost all of my Saturday to it. After collecting all the press kit from the Zoute Driver Club and doing some shopping in the adjacent shop, I join the route taken by the participants, first of all not far from Aardenburg, a village located after the border and within the region of Zeeland in the Netherlands. We then take the road to the canals not far away, and will spend a large part of the morning there as the landscapes were so interesting. The course, both full-bodied and picturesque, of this criterion of regularity allows the 185 participating crews to discover the Belgian but also Dutch hinterland. What better way to end the car season than a regularity rally?
After the meal in Bruges, the participants return to Knokke-Heist where they will finish this criterium on the podium placed on the Albertplein in Knokke, before joining the unmissable prize-giving and gala dinner at the prestigious Royal Zoute Golf Club, golf course where the Zoute Concours d'Elegance will be held the next day.
This is how, after a “difficult” return to the north of France, I can already imagine myself the next day on the green lawns of the Golf du Zoute: the appointment is set for 9 am. Once arrived, no less than 50 exceptional vehicles are on display, and taken by storm from the end of the first hour of opening, the opportunity to take a few shots to illustrate the atmosphere. Unlike the other elegance competitions I have attended (Chantilly and Villa d'Este), no “dress code” is suggested or imposed: most of the public therefore did not take part in the game. that, some brave braved the morning cold (around 6°C) and put on “dressed” clothes, suits for the gentlemen, dresses and hats for the ladies.
Although having been able to take half an hour to take pictures empty of people in the early morning, it quickly becomes complicated to continue. I would therefore wait for the parade at the end of the afternoon to obtain “clean” shots of the competition cars. Indeed, it is a parade of the winners of the competition which takes place around 4 p.m. on Sunday, the winners travel the route Golf – Albertplein – Golf at a moderate pace, but it is above all the opportunity for us to see evolve cars like a Maserati MC12 Corsa, a Ferrari 250 GT SWB or the Bentley Blue Train on the open road (under police escort, of course).
It is on this parade that my Zoute Grand Prix 2015 will end, still amazed by the plateau and the buzzing ears following the passage of the MC12 Corsa less than a meter from me. I hope to go there again next year to enjoy this beautiful event on the Belgian coast.