More than 50 years ago the piece of land that we know today as Canadian Tire Motorsport Park was a farm. At that time, standing on a hill, looking over the fields and groves of trees, who could have imagined that the best drivers and the fastest cars in the world would come to this pastoral place and race on what would be named as one the most challenging tracks in the world and provide the best excitement and entertainment that motor racing has to offer.

But they did come: racing legends like Stirling Moss, Gilles Villeneuve, Bruce McLaren and even stock car king Richard Petty. No fewer than 16 Formula One World Driving Champions – men like Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Mario Andretti and Nick Lauda have raced here. Some 10 Indianapolis 500 winners including Rodger Ward, A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, Bobby Unser, Rick Mears and Gordon Johncock have also raced at Mosport.

There have been Formula One cars, Indy cars, Can-Am, stock cars, World Endurance, Formula 5000, Formula Atlantic and Super Vee. Add Formula Fords, GT cars of every description, Superbikes, karts, snowmobiles and off road machines. Throw in a couple of rock concerts, some air shows, and sky divers and one begins to wonder if there is anything that hasn’t been seen at Mosport. Anyone standing on the hill in 1959 would not believe what has transpired over the last 40 years. Fortunately, there were some people who did believe in what could happen. They had a dream, a plan, and the combination of resources and expertise to make it happen.

As early as 1958 the British Empire Motor Club (BEMC) formed a development committee to investigate the possibility of selecting and buying a piece of property for a road racing course. By mid summer of that year the founding committee, whose members consisted of Dick Byatt, George Hill, Chuck Stockey, Fred Hayes and Ray Liddle, had found a 450-acre tract north of Bowmanville. Recognizing the enormity of the project, the committee members realized that one club (BEMC) could not undertake the entire task and so a separate entity, called “Mosport Limited” was born in the fall of 1958. The name Mosport (a contraction of Motor Sport) was coined and applied to the new business enterprise.

At the start there were seven directors, each on in charge of a particular phase of the project. They were Alan Bunting (track design, site layout and general coordination); George Hill (public relations); Dick Byatt (trade relations and advertising); Harold Hunter (financial planning and fund raising); George Grant (structural architect); and Chuck Stockey (utilities and access roads).

By 1960 development was moving forward, Alan Bunting’s design featured fast, sweeping bends that rose and fell over the contours of the site. In order to accommodate the design, great chunks of earth would be gouged out of parts of the hills; in the one place the whole side of a hill was scraped away and leveled. In the summer of 1960 Stirling Moss paid a visit to Toronto, at which time he saw the plans for the track and the work that had been done so far. While he was generally enthusiastic about the layout of the course, he did recommend that the single-radius carousel hairpin at the south end be changed to a 90-degree right followed by another right leading onto the back straight. Moss was convinced that this combination would be a much greater test of driving skill and provide a more interesting show for the spectators. The two turns, 5a and 5b have since become known as “Moss Corner”.

The development of Mosport did not come easily though. The construction suffered through fiscal restraints zoning logistics, heavy rainfalls causing washouts and a price tag that was double of what was to be expected ($500,000 instead of $250,000). In spite of everything, the necessary facilities were completed, the asphalt was laid down and the track was ready for racing by the end of May, 1961. Responsibility for the operation of the facility was given to Jim Clayton who, as General Manager, was Mosport’s first and only full-time employee. This is what it was all about: 2.459 miles, measured at the centreline of it’s 28-foot width, of twisting, undulating pavement that would challenge the best drivers in the world.

DATES IN CANADIAN TIRE MOTORSPORT PARK HISTORY


Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (then known as Mosport Park) opens with a clubman’s race organized by the Oakville Trafalgar Light Car Club. The first of many international races that would take place at this world-class road racing circuit was the Player’s 200 for sports cars, which was held in late June. The race attracted over 40,000 spectators and was won by Britain’s Stirling Moss in his 2.5 litre Coventry Climax-powered Lotus 19.


The USAC stock cars ran at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the first time. The big cars adapted well to the tricky road course, with Paul Goldsmith edging Indy winner Rodger Ward for the win. The field also included A.J. Foyt.


The Player’s 200 set an attendance record for a Canadian sports event as over 52,000 spectators watched as Bruce McLaren outdistanced a top field of international drivers to win by more than a lap.


The Player’s 200 established another Canadian attendance record: 58,000. British star John Surtees – who later that year was badly injured in another Canadian Tire Motorsport Park race, won the race in a new Lola T70.


The track, which had suffered financial problems for several years, was purchased from the receiver by a company called Cantrack Motor Racing Ltd. The legal counsel for that company was Bernard J. Kamin; the accountant was Harvey M. Hudes, who became the driving force behind the track until his death in March 1996.

Mark Donohue won the Can-Am race.


Canada joined the Formula 1 circuit, as Canadian Tire Motorsport Park hosted the first Player’s sponsored Canadian Grand Prix. Despite rain, the crowd was huge (58,000) as Jack Brabham drove to victory over another long-time track favourite, Denny Hulme.

The IndyCar series visited Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the first time. Twin 100-mile races were scheduled, with Bobby Unser winning both. The second race was cut short after 15 miles because of rain.

Denis Hulme claimed victory in the Can-Am race.

Parnelli Jones won a USAC Stock Car race.

Mike Hailwood won the first ever Canadian World Championship 500cc Motorcycle Grand Prix.

The year was Canada’s Centennial Year, and with Canadian Tire Motorsport Park hosting 5-full International Events it’s doubtful that another track can lay claim to hosting so many “Internationals” in the same season.


Dan Gurney won both 100-mile IndyCar races.


The June Can-Am race, sponsored by Labatt’s, was a one-two finish for McLaren teammates Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme.

Jackie Ickx won the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Canada.


A major music concert came to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the first time, Strawberry Fields featuring many of the best-known entertainers of that day.


Jackie Stewart won the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Canada.


Jackie Stewart won the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Canada for the second year in a row.


Peter Revson won the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Canada. Due to changing weather conditions and Grand Prix racing’s first-ever full course caution the official lap charts had to be consulted to confirm him as winner.


Then Mosport Park became a public company, trading on the Vancouver Stock Exchange.

Emerson Fittipaldi won the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Canada.


Canadian Tire Motorsport Park staged its first Trans-Am race. Canadian Ludwig Heimrath drove a Porsche RSR to a popular victory.

James Hunt won the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Canada.


After an absence of nine years the Indy Cars returned to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and A.J. Foyt – despite a one lap penalty – won in his Coyote.

Later in the year, Gilles Villeneuve made what would turn out to be his last appearance at the track, as he drove a Ferrari in the Formula 1 race at the Labatt Grand Prix. Jody Scheckter won the race. This was also the last Formula 1 Grand Prix held at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park as the following season the event was moved to the new Ile Notre-Dame circuit in Montreal.


Danny Ongais won the IndyCar race.


Jacques Villeneuve, Gilles’ younger brother, won the Can-Am race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. It was his first win at the track.


The IMSA cars came to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the first time, with a six-hour IMSA Camel GT series event. John Paul and his son John Paul, Jr. won in a Porsche 936 Turbo.


A new half-mile oval opened, Mosport International Speedway (later renamed Mosport Speedway and more recently, the Speedway at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park).


Facility President and General Manager Harvey M. Hudes passed away after a lengthy illness. He was 63. His long-time business partner, Bernard J. Kamin became President and CEO.

Another large music festival comes to the track, Eden Fest, in July. It featured many big name artists including The Goo Goo Dolls, The Tragically Hip and Bush.

A Kart Circuit was built in the fall.


International Motorsports Group (IMSG) takes over the facility lease.

Facility name is changed to Mosport International Raceway.


March 20: Panoz Motorsports takes over the lease from IMSG.
October 30: Panoz Motorsports purchases the entire facility.


The pit lane was extended and a new pit exit was created and in the fall the run-off area in turn 2 and 4/5 were enlarged; part of the $2.5 million renovation project.

Track hosts its first American Le Mans Series event in the inaugural season of what would become North America’s top sports car series.

$1.5 million investment was made to build a Driver Development Centre (DDC).


The Grand Prix track was repaved and widened to a width of 12 metres (40 feet).
The Bridgestone Racing Academy relocates to the new Driver Development Centre.


Additional $1 million investment for additional renovations from 2000-2001.
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August: Frank Biela of Germany sets a new outright track record of 1:07.169 (131.793 mph) driving an Audi R8 during qualifying for the American Le Mans Series race.


Fall ground breaking for an all new karting facility.


Early summer grand opening of the new Mosport International Karting Complex


As the number of support races increases on the Grand Prix of Mosport and other event weekends, 50,000 square feet of lower paddock is paved

A two-year program begins to install new debris fencing around the circuit.


The new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series (formerly CASCAR), a national stock car championship sanctioned by NASCAR, made its Toronto-area debut at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.


August 21-24, the Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport marked the tenth running of the American Le Mans Series at Canada’s largest and oldest motorsports facility. The only other track to host the series every year since its inception in 1999 is Road Atlanta.

Italy’s Dindo Capello sets the outright track record with a time of 1:04.094 (222.254 km/h) in his Audi R10 TDI Prototype during qualifying for the Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport.


David Brabham and Scott Sharp won the Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport securing the Acura Prototype team the LMP championship.

Eventual 2009 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Champion Andrew Ranger of Roxton Pond, QC won both the Dickies 200 and the Vortex Brake Pads 200.


Track celebrates its 50th anniversary. There were many memorable moments during the season including the return of Ron Fellows, who captured a World Challenge win and Ken Wilden breaking the SCCA Pro Racing Trans Am qualifying and race record to take the spectacular victory.

Cambridge, ON native J.R. Fitzpatrick won the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series road course race, the Vortex Brake Pads 200 in June. Don Thomson took the checkered flag in the Dickies 200 at the Speedway.

In July, Brantford, ON native Jordan Szoke dominated at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park winning all four races he competed in during the Parts Canada Superbike Doubleheader Weekend. Szoke took that momentum and never lost a race all season on his way to his record seventh Canadian Superbike crown.

The final event of the season was the return of the Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport. The race was won by Klaus Graf and Romain Dumas in the Muscle Milk CytoSport Porsche RS Sypder. It was also the 100th career American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón race for two-time champion David Brabham.


Mike Skeen won both legs of the weekend Pirelli World Challenge doubleheader at the Victoria Day SpeedFest to kick off the 2011 season.

Scott Steckly won the Dickies 200 at the Speedway on May 28 to kick-start his championship winning campaign. D.J. Kennington won the Vortex Brake Pads 200 a month later on the road course.

Canadian Motorsport Ventures (CMV), a group comprised of Carlo Fidani, Al Boughton and Ron Fellows, purchased the facility from the Panoz Motorsports Group on June 1st.

In July, the Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport was won by Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr in the Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing LMP1. Corvette drivers Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen were victorious in the highly competitive GT class.

BMW Motorrad factory rider Brett McCormick clinched his first Canadian Pro Superbike title by narrowly beating defending champion Jordan Szoke with a last lap pass. McCormick also set a new track record in qualifying.

Construction begins on new two-way tunnel, new main entrance, paddock areas and improved spectator areas.


Mosport International Raceway was re-branded to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on February 10th, after the facility signed a long-term partnership with the country’s top automotive retailer, Canadian Tire.

J.R. Fitzpatrick was the winner of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series road course race, the Vortex Brake Pads 200. The race was the largest attended event in Series history.

A new country music festival, Boots & Hearts, comes to the facility and is headlined by Tim McGraw, Kid Rock and Carrie Underwood

Construction begins on new Event Centre, located on the outside of Corner 10

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park announced in November that they had landed a coveted day on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series calendar. This was the Series’ Canadian debut and their first road course race in 13 years.


The new Event Centre, an ultra-modern building that houses the administration offices, media centre, race control, timing and scoring, banquet facilities and multiple hospitality suites officially opens.

New Main Entrance and Registration Building are completed for the beginning of the race season.

Grand Prix track improvements include removal of concrete patches around the track and replaced with new asphalt. Repaving included Corners 1, 2A, 3, 5C, 8, 9 and 10. The run-off areas at Corners 1 and 2 have now been completely paved and pit lane was extended by an additional 300 feet.

The final NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race on the half-mile Speedway takes place in June and is won by Pete Shepherd. The oval closes to make room for Driver Development Centre expansion in July.

The Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix, featuring the last Canadian race for the American Le Mans Series is won by Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr – their third consecutive overall win at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Boots & Hearts Country Music Festival returns for second year with Jason Aldean, Rascal Flatts and Miranda Lambert headlining what had quickly become the largest festival of its kind in Canada.

The inaugural Chevrolet Silverado 250 which saw the first Canadian appearance for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and their first road course race in 13 years. Young gun Chase Elliott claimed the victory, which saw over 70,000 spectators come through the gates over the three day event.

Construction continues on the newly configured 2.88 km Driver Development Centre, including a brand new Event Centre.


The new road course is built to FIA standards and has been used for car racing, motorcycle racing, driving schools, motorcycle schools, car clubs, manufacturer events, lapping days and many other activities. The new track continues to be home to the Bridgestone Racing Academy. The track is also equipped with an extensive pit lane as well as a state-of-the-art event centre that will also be used as race control and meeting/classroom areas. The facility also includes a massive 1000’ x 150’ skid pad complete with a large power circle.

Other improvements at the Grand Prix Track included leveled and increased upper paddock space, wider access road through the Corner Three area and graded and leveled outfield trackside camping area from Corner Three to Corner Four.

The Trans-Am Series race, which took place on the Castrol presents the Victoria Day SpeedFest Weekend saw the return of CTMP owner Ron Fellows, making his 100th career Series start. Fellows won the race from pole position driving for Derhaag Motorsports.

Canada’s biggest sports car race of the year, the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix featured the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship for exotic prototype and GT race cars, making its Canadian debut. The pole setting Oak Racing Nissan Morgan Prototype, piloted by France’s Olivier Pla and Gustavo Yacaman captured the overall victory while the #3 Corvette Racing duo of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia finished first in the GTLM class.

The Boots & Hearts Country Music Festival returned for its third installment with headliners Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan and Toby Keith.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returned on Labour Day Weekend in front of another 70,000 plus spectators. Ryan Blaney took the checkered flag on a last corner, last lap pass of German Quiroga.

The Kart Centre undergoes many improvements as well as being reconfigured to a length of 1.5 km. There is also a new facility entranceway, re-grading, new paving, trackside kerbing and other enhancements featuring new administration and operating buildings.

CANADIAN TIRE MOTORSPORT PARK TRIVIA

Mosport is one of only 3 tracks in the world to have hosted Formula 1, Can-Am and IndyCar events.
Mosport hosted more Can-Am races than other track – 24.
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