Although there were plans for races at Zandvoort before World War II, the first street race was held on June 3, 1939. A real circuit was not built until after the war, built on communications roads built by the German army during its occupation in the Second World War. The circuit mainly designed by John Hugenholtz.
The circuit was inaugurated on August, 7, 1948. Next year, in 1949 the circuit hosted the Zandvoort Grand Prix. The following year, the race was called the Dutch Grand Prix, and it was included in the Formula One World Championship in . It remained on the F1 calendar for 30 out of the next 34 years. In , the Dutch Grand Prix was held for the last time. The company that commercially ran the circuit (CENAV) went out of business, marking the end of Circuit Zandvoort. The track, owned by the municipality of Zandvoort, was not used for some time and part of the grounds and approximately half of the track was sold in 1987 to Vendorado, a Bungalow park developer at that time. A plan to save the remaining track was made by a group of people and companies. Circuit Park Zandvoort was born, and the track was remodeled to an interim Club Circuit of in the summer of 1989.
In 1995, CPZ got the "A Status" of the Dutch government and began building an international Grand Prix Circuit. This project was finished in 2001 when, after the track was redesigned to a long circuit and a new pits building was realized (by HPG, the development company of John Hugenholtz jr, son of the former director), a new grandstand was situated along the long straight. One of the major events that was held at the circuit, along with DTM and A1GP, is the BP Ultimate Masters of Formula 3, where Formula 3 cars of several national racing series compete with each other (originally called Marlboro Masters, before tobacco advertising ban). A noise restriction order was responsible for this event moving to the Belgian Zolder circuit for 2007 and 2008.
The circuit gained popularity because of its fast, sweeping corners such as Scheivlak as well as the "Tarzanbocht" (Tarzan corner) hairpin at the end of the start/finish straight. Tarzanbocht is the most famous corner in the circuit which provides excellent overtaking opportunities. This corner is reportedly named after a local character who had earned the nickname of Tarzan and only wanted to give up his vegetable garden in the dunes if the track's designers named a nearby corner after him. On the other hand, many different stories about Tarzan Corner are known.
Circuit Park Zandvoort played host to the first race in the 2006/07 season of A1 Grand Prix from 29 September - 1 October 2006. On 21 August 2008, the official A1GP site reported that the 2008/09 season's first race has moved from the Mugello Circuit, Italy to Zandvoort on the 4 – 5 October, 2008 due to the delay in the building the new chassis for the new race cars.
|Wim Gerlach||June 10, 1957||The corner in which he died was named after him. First fatality on the circuit.|
|Piers Courage||June 21, 1970||His car turned over and caught fire. He was pinned down by his De Tomaso car and had no chance to escape.|
|Roger Williamson||July 29, 1973||He lost control of his car during the F1 Dutch Grand Prix and crashed into the barriers, spun upside-down and caught fire. David Purley stopped his own race and tried, unsuccessfully, to save Williamson. The circuit was poorly prepared and not enough extinguishers were on hand.|
|Rob Slotemaker||July 29, 1979||He broke his neck and died during a non-F1 event.|
Its design has been modified and altered several times over time:
The corners are named as follows (the numbers correspond to the image above, starting at the start/finish line):
The elevation difference is .
In 1998, the older "classic" Zandvoort circuit layout from 1967 was modeled in detail and can be driven in the Grand Prix Legends racing simulation for X86-based PCs. This was later converted to NASCAR 4, NASCAR 2002, 2003 and other simulations using a converter from website 'The Pits'. The current layout is used in the SimBin game RACE 07 - Official WTCC Game.