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Official Review by Chris Green, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Canadian Tire Motorsports Park is a throwback raceway to the halcyon days of grand prix racing. This was once the site to the Formula One round in Canada in the 1970’s, Mosport, as it used to be called. It has transformed on the outside throughout the years, but remains one of the old school high speed road courses that is known the world over. What’s even better is the fan experience when you get to the track, reminding you both of where the sport has been and where it has gone at the same time.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The smell of fresh bbq and grilled goods blows through the forest as both fans and food vendors alike grill out at the trackside camping areas. While great foods can be found around the facility, the standard fare is also available, and at very affordable prices.
A cheeseburger will cost you an affordable $5.50 CAN, with fries running $4, and chicken tenders with fries running $9. For the early risers, trackside menus also include a breakfast sandwich that is available until 11am, costing just $4.50. Drinks such as soda, water, and even milk are available for $2.50, while coffee runs for $2. Canadians also love their beers, and there is plenty available around the track at variously located food stands.
There is something different about Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. The fans are roaring throughout the races on track. The cars speed by at high speeds for a road course. The camping at the track is insane, as every open space is packed with campers, tents, and bbq pits. With no assigned camping spaces, it is first come, first serve for fans camping trackside. Any open space is an option, with countless pathways and hiking trails through the forest leading to beautiful vistas and camping sites, should you be adventurous enough to make the trek into the woods.
The track itself is about an hour east of Toronto, nestled in the rolling hills of farmland and quiet small Canadian townships. Consequently, there isn't much to go see or do as far as attractions. However, for the nature lovers, the track is not far from beautiful lakes and rivers for fishing and boating. Small towns like Bowmanville, Oshawa, and others offer great atmospheres for fans. They also hold various hotels and small bed and breakfasts for lodging options. Restaurants are also plentiful if you are willing to drive and look beyond the main chain restaurants.
Fans at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park are loud, and they definitely appreciate quality racing on track. They know the stars and their history in the various series racing on site, and that can lead to a friendly debate or two over each other's favorite drivers and teams. What is even better is the Canadian hospitality they provide, lending truth to the stereotype that Canadians are the nicest, kindest people around.
The track has a ton of parking throughout the facility, and getting there isn't inherently difficult. From the main highway 401, just drive due north until they get to the track, minimizing turns and keeping you from getting lost. Once you're near the track, signs will help guide you to the track. Once at the track, fans can wander the property, and to save the long walks, trams are on hand to help drive you from corner to corner to get you to your favorite viewing spots.
The price of a ticket is well worth it at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. The experience is like that of the old days of Grand Prix racing in North America, where the fans are close to the action, the track is high speed, and the action is door to door all race long. The fans get great access, the party atmosphere is non stop, and the facility is top notch for seeing some of the best racing in North America.
During race weekends, fans can get a taste of racing action themselves at the go kart track on site. Resembling a smaller version of the track with hills and sweeping corners like the course just yards away.
For those who are history buffs, there is a memorial stone for track designer Alan Bunting just outside of the hairpin turn near the flag stand. This memorial reminds fans of the contributions Bunting made to the track to help make it what it is today.
In addition, fans can get an up close and personal view of the majority of the paddock, as it is open to all fans with an entry ticket on most race weekends. Drivers and teams also are very open, allowing for fans to see their favorite athletes' cars closer than ever before.
There are also driver autograph sessions throughout the weekend, allowing fans to meet their favorite drivers and personalities. The fans can also get an up close view of the cars during the grid walk before some of the bigger races during the weekend.
Finally, the celebration after the race is designed to give fans an up close view, with victory lane right in the middle of the paddock, giving fans access that they only dream of at most major raceways.
The race experience at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park is one that reminds old fans of the days gone by while also giving the newest generation of fans a peek into what racing used to be like. All at the same time, the track continues to grow and improve upon itself while still holding on to what has always made it best. This is certainly a must-see track for racing fans in Canada, as well as from all around North America, if not the world.
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