Circuits of the past is a website about historic race circuits that have disappeared or significantly changed.

The mission of “Circuits of the past”

In the history of motorsport there have been many renowned motor racing circuits. Many of them are disappeared, changed into ruins or given back to the commuter traffic. Those who survived had to modernise and as a result of that many of them lost their original character. This website keeps the memories alive to the circuits of the past!

The Circuits of the past story

Circuits of the past founder Herman LiesemeijerMy name is Herman Liesemeijer, I live in the Netherlands and I’m the founder and owner of the website Circuits of the past. Since the eighties I follow motor racing. At the beginning of the year 1989, when I just had my drivers license, I visited the TT circuit in Assen which is not far from my hometown. At that time the circuit was partially on public roads and the whole track was accessible. So I made my circuit debut here.

TT Circuit Assen 1990 short after the renovation works
My Opel Kadett at the TT Circuit of Assen, short after the 1990 renovation works

Soon also the Zandvoort circuit came to my mind. The first time I visited Zandvoort was in the summer of 1989 during one of the first race weekends on the shortened interim circuit. On this day my passion for car racing was really born.

When I want to return home, I discovered that there was an opening to the old circuit at Paddock Three, where I parked my car. So I made my debut at Zandvoort by driving first in the opposite direction, then return and make speed for the Scheivlak where a woman walked with her dog.

Track Day Zandvoort Circuit 1993That’s me in action in the yellow white Opel Ascona during a track day in March 1993

The following years I became a regular visitor of races at Zandvoort and the NAV track days. My passion for the sport grew so I signed up for a race course. At this time I was also a loyal visitor of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The connection between “Circuits of the past” and Nivelles-Baulers

In the spring of 1998 I spent a long weekend in Belgium and visited the abandoned Nivelles-Baulers circuit. Initially I came here with the idea to drive on a different circuit just for fun, but a new fascination was born here. After I drove some laps at the bumpy track I made some random pictures.

Nivelles-Baulers Abandoned Circuit 1998
A view from the control tower of Nivelles-Baulers, during my second visit in 1998

When I was home I felt sorry that I didn’t took the opportunity to photograph an entire lap. A few months later, on the way back from the 24 Hours of Le Mans, I visited Nivelles again and made pictures from the whole lap. These pictures are now at this site! In the following years I visited Nivelles several times and I saw how it changed from a circuit-ruin into a business park. At some point I got the idea to publish my photos on a website as a memory to the Nivelles circuit.

When this idea began to take shape I realized that Nivelles was not the only lost circuit. A name that immediately came to my mind was Reims. But also the lost part of my own Zandvoort. So I decided to create a website about lost circuits. I didn’t need to think long about the name, “Circuits of the past”!

The evolution of “Circuits of the past”

On 19 September 2003 I started Circuits of the past as an MSN Group. At that time it was purely a hobby site. In 2008 I rebuilt Circuits of the past into a real website with its own domain name www.circuitsofthepast.nl.

Meanwhile this website has been modernized several times. Over the years I visited more and more old circuits. One of the most special experiences was my visit to the high banked Sitges-Terramar circuit in 2008.

Sitges-Terramar race track 2008
The 66 degree banking of Sitges-Terramar, wich I visited in 2008

In 2018 I decided to separate the Dutch and English parts in two websites. The Dutch version would keep the .nl domain, but the English version would get www.circuitsofthepast.com. That’s the website you’re watching now.