Formula 1

Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve Putting Together “Surprise” for Fans

TORONTO, Ontario — This year marks a pivotal landmark moment for Canadians as the country celebrates its 150th birthday. However, it also marks a significant year for Canadian motorsports as this marks the 50th year for F1 Grand Prix racing in Canada.

While the origins of F1 in Canada begin with Mont-Tremblant and Mosport (now Canadian Tire Motorsports Park), Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve has become the home for Formula 1 racing in the north. After the city and track officials had spent $2 million to meet F1 standards, the 14-turn street course held their first event in 1978. Since then, F1 has made their traditional stop there – making the Grand Prix of the Canada the oldest race on the schedule, outside of Europe.

Knowing the landmark of this season, Francois Dumontier knows the pressure his track is under to produce this year, noting at the Canadian International Auto Show that Gilles-Villeneuve plays “a big role in racing in Canada, and I’m proud of it.”

It’s why Dumontier revealed the track is putting something special for the 50-year celebration, however, wasn’t ready to release details at this time.

“It’s very important to show how important our race is in the championship,” he said. “Montreal has produced so much good racing and media, enthusiastic event. It’s really important for the broadcast portion – probably Circuit is showing the nicest picture in the championship. When Roger (Peart) had the idea to build it on the island, he probably didn’t know it then, but it’s one of the nicest tracks on TV.

“We have a good crowd every year. Friday morning – it’s pretty full, compared to other races with nobody there Friday and Saturday.”

Dumontier also confirmed ticket sales “are going well,” perhaps due to the announcement Canadian Lance Stroll will race in the World Championship this year.

The 2017 Grand Prix du Canada is scheduled for Sunday, June 11.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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