About 25,000 race fans are expected to witness Corvette, Cadillac, BMW, and more battle for gold and glory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on the May long weekend.
On May 20, the 2016 season for many Canadian auto racing series begin at Victoria Day Speedfest at CTMP.
The weekend, filled with fireworks in the sky and on the race track, has many Canadian racing fans excited. Drivers from four different series will battle for trophies and glory on the 3.96 kilometre road course in Bowmanville.
Ryan Chalmers, CTMP communications and promotions manager, says two national series will headline the event, including the NASCAR Pinty’s Series.
“It will be a duel-headline event again this year,” Chalmers says. “There’s a lot of excitement around the series. Pinty’s has done a lot of activation, a lot in their partnership with NASCAR. You’ve seen them on TSN and we’re really excited to see what they’re bringing to the table.”
The track was founded in 1961. Since then, it has welcomed many international racing series to its facility.
This year, the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, Canadian Touring Car Championship, all seven classes of the Pirelli World Challenge, and Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge are all scheduled to race on Victoria Day weekend.
Tens of thousands of people attend the Victoria Day Speedfest event every year. Race fans have the option of camping only metres away from the track.
Chalmers says the track is one of a kind.
“The track is one of the real old school tracks,” he says. “They certainly don’t build them like this anymore. The drivers absolutely love coming here. The fans are always going to be treated to very fast, tight racing.”
Turn 5, also known as Moss Corner, is the favourite viewpoint of many fans at CTMP. A long, downhill straightaway after Turn 4 allows drivers to reach 225 km/h. But Turn 5 is a sharp right turn that forces drivers to coast at slow speeds. Cars entering Turn 5 side-by-side sometimes do not make it out.
The cars in the Pinty’s Series can generate up to 550 horsepower. More than 20 cars are expected to compete in a 200 kilometre, 51-lap, race.
According to Chalmers, the excitement produced from the races is a result of the track’s design.
“It’s a mix of everything,” Chalmers says. “The fact that you got two or three blind corners that are literally ‘flat out’ for the drivers. I don’t think anybody, if you’ve never been on the track, can really get a true appreciation for the elevation changes that really take place… so, the sheer speeds that drivers are able to get here. Really, it’s one of those rare spots where a driver can really find out what they’re made of.”
NASCAR driver Joey McColm and his race team are working hard to be prepared for CTMP.
“It’s exciting,” he says. “We obviously have a lot of work left to do in the shop. But time is ticking and, you know, we’ve been racing in the U.S. and now we want to come and race on home soil. And it’s the first race of the season. So, it’s going to be a big weekend.”
McColm really enjoys racing on a familiar track.
“It’s so much fun,” he says. “I mean, it’s right in our backyard. That is a track we’ve raced at for so many years and it’s always fun just going up the road and racing at your home track.”
McColm thinks very highly of the track.
“The facility is world class,” he says. “The track is known worldwide. So, any time you get a chance to go to CTMP, it’s a huge deal.”
For some people, the May long weekend is their first chance to spend time at the cottage. For others, it is their first chance to spend time at the track.
Chalmers says the Victoria Day event is becoming more popular.
“Victoria Day has always been a popular, traditional race event here at the track,” he says. “Since 2012, when Canadian Tire came on board as our primary sponsor, they really amped up their marketing efforts and got behind Victoria Day.”