Ontario 1500 Motorsport Adventure – A new way to tour

AndrewCombesOntario1500By Andrew Combes, Provinz Contributing Editor (from Provinz May 2015 page 19)

Looking for a novel way to tour our beautiful province? Start planning now to enter the “Ontario 1500” in September.

Like me, you may have enjoyed race tracks across Ontario and the eastern USA, from Sebring to Virginia International Raceway, Watkins Glen and Mid Ohio, to name a few. Each offers its own challenges with a great high performance driving experience.

This fall you could stay right at home and drive all of the road courses that Ontario has to offer, with a few twists along the way. In a format not entirely unlike the Targa Newfoundland, the “Ontario 1500 Motorsport Adventure” will see its inaugural year in 2015.

You haven’t heard of it? Well to be honest neither had I until I bumped into Gary Wood at Watkins Glen last summer. As one of the event’s organizers, he was there in part to give some publicity to the brand-new Ontario 1500 Motorsports Adventure to the just the sort of audience that should find it of interest.

The adventure will allow amateur teams of between two and four drivers to enter a car that will be driven across the province from one race track to another. At each track a different format of competition will take place.

Venues include our very own ‘home track’, CTMP/ Mosport, Calabogie, Shannonville, Toronto Motorsports Park and the Grand Bend Motorplex.

Calabogie Motorsport Park is a magnificent, relatively new and modern track cut out of the forest near Ottawa . Wide and safe, it rolls through hills and valleys to provide an exhilarating drive, and provides unique challenges including blind corners and the signature turn called “Temptation”. Combined with lengthy straights and fast sweepers, driving here keeps a broad smile on your face all day.

Shannonville Motorsport Park started off as a motorcycle course and still holds numerous bike races. Over the years it has been lengthened and now offers a number of layouts, many of which incorporate a drag strip as the main straight. The high speed sweeping corners and esses keep your adrenalin flowing.

Toronto Motorsport Park in Cayuga is the home of the Canadian National Drag Race championships every year, and that overshadows a road course that is built on a former WWII airfield. The main features here are two straights connected with a high-speed 120-degree corner. Add in some esses and a hairpin and you have a track that offers fun in a tight setting.

Grand Bend Motorplex is the home of an annual IHRA drag race spectacular. Once again based on a WWII airfield the complex offers an oval track and road course. It is located in one of Ontario’s popular beachfront destinations and this facility provides more miles of speed for your dollar than almost anywhere else.

The “Ontario 1500 Motorsport Adventure” is for street legal cars and will visit all of these motorsport venues for one week of competition from September 13, 2015 to Sept 20, 2015. It is your chance to drive every road course in Ontario and compete in 14 diverse timed stages, each using a different format.

Starting and finishing at CTMP, competing teams will tackle eight “Time Attack” stages, four “Solo II” autoslalom stages and two “Drag” stages, the results of which will determine the Champion. Time Attack drivers will need to be graduates of two accredited performance driving schools, and all drivers will need to be licensed in their home jurisdiction.

Transits will be supervised and driven during evening hours and drivers are required to observe all posted speed limits.

Whether you want to go for the overall win or just experience the thrill of driving these tracks, this event sounds like Fun with a capital F. There are classes for every car but the field is limited to only 60.

Check out details and register at www.ontario1500.ca. I’m thinking a Caterham R500 might just do the trick, although if it rains the road driving will be miserable.

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