The Circuit Zolder, also known as Circuit Terlamen, is an undulating 4.011 km (2.492 mi) motorsport race track in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium.
Built in 1963, Zolder hosted the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix on 10 separate occasions in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as the 1980 Belgian motorcycle Grand Prix. F1 moved to Zolder in 1973 and with the exception of a race at Nivelles-Baulers in 1974, Zolder was the location of the Belgian Grand Prix until 1982. That year popular Canadian driver Gilles Villeneuve was killed during qualifying at the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix. Villeneuve’s Ferrari 126C2 collided at speed with the March of Jochen Mass. The Ferrari was torn up in the accident and when rolling, Villeneuve was thrown from the car.
After Villeneuve’s death, the Belgian Grand Prix was held at Spa-Francorchamps in 1983, before returning to Zolder one final time in 1984. Fittingly, Ferrari driver Michele Alboreto won the race carrying Villeneuve’s #27 on his car. Since 1985, the Belgian Grand Prix has permanently moved to Spa.
Zolder has also been used for cycling events including the UCI Road World Championships twice in 1969 and 2002 and the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in 1970, 2002 and 2016, the latter infamously saw the first confirmed use of mechanical doping when Femke Van den Driessche was found to have a secret motor inside her bike. Since 2009, Circuit Zolder has hosted a cyclo-cross race in December for the World Cup. The circuit hosted the UCI BMX World Championships in 2015.
In the beginning of 2006, the track underwent safety adaptations. In 2007, the track hosted a Champ Car World Series Grand Prix, and a round of the FIA GT Championship. The track was venue of a round of the World Series by Renault championship from 2003 to 2006, and replaced Zandvoort as site for the Masters of Formula 3 in 2007 and 2008. Zolder was featured on the car programme Top Gear in 2008. In the episode, the show’s British hosts competed against their German counterparts from D MOTOR. Zolder hosted also the FIA WTCC Race of Belgium in 2010 and 2011. The last race they drove in 2011 was won by Rob Huff in a Chevrolet and Gabriele Tarquiniin a SEAT. The WTCC then disappeared from the Belgian circuits until in 2014 the circus returned to Spa.
At this time, mainly the Blancpain Sprint Series and the BRCC national championship come by in Zolder. And also the 24 Hours of Zolder passes as a stand-alone event around the end of August or the beginning of September.
© GAVRA Racing 2018.