Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, November 13, 2000 -- Motor-racing at le Circuit Mont-Tremblant enters a new era as the venerable track, which has embodied the history and spirit of Canadian racing for 36 years, applies the finishing touches to an...
Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, November 13, 2000 -- Motor-racing at le Circuit Mont-Tremblant enters a new era as the venerable track, which has embodied the history and spirit of Canadian racing for 36 years, applies the finishing touches to an extensive renovation project that will be completed by next summer.
"We are extremely pleased that we have been able to rebuild and upgrade le Circuit Mont Tremblant to current FIA safety standards while retaining the traditional character and ambiance of the old circuit," remarked Circuit president Alan Wilson, who designed the track's modifications.
Among the renovations to Canada's second-oldest existing road course are an enlarged, paved paddock, a much improved pit lane, the addition of a new chicane which can be used as an alternate to the old approach to Turn 2 by high-speed cars and a crossover link between turn 6 and 10 that permits the running of two separate race-track activities. The Circuit has been widened to 11 meters and fully re-paved for the first time since it opened in 1964 and run-off areas all around the track and most notably in the track's signature Namerow turn, have been widened.
Nestled in the splendor of the Laurentian Mountains and in the shadow of the majestic Mont-Tremblant, the Circuit, which was the site of Formula One Grands Prix in 1968 and 1970, has played host to events in a number of North American racing series.
Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant plans to use its refurbished facility to host corporate events, recreational motor sports and club races. On August 25, 2001 the Circuit will also host a round of the American Le Mans Series, a four-hour event that track officials estimate will attract some 15,000 spectators and is due to be televised on the NBC network. The full weekend of racing will also include the popular Speedvision World Challenge Series and other supporting events.
"It's interesting to note that the Circuit had a strong association with the famous Can-Am series during a 10-year period in the 1960s and '70s," said the track's Vice-President and General Manager Vince Loughran. "These were amongst the Circuit's most successful events and the new American Le Mans Series, which has made tremendous strides in its two-year existence, is very reminiscent of the old Can-Am."
Plans are also underway for "La Retrospective du Circuit Mont-Tremblant", a 2002 event that will become an annual activity at the refurbished track. Drawing on the rich heritage of le Circuit, the Retrospective will be a week long festival of vintage motorsports, combining racing, recreational driving, shows and exhibitions. It will be capped by a weekend of on-track activities featuring many of the cars and stars that competed at le Circuit in the 1960s and '70s, in such series as Formula One, Can-Am, Atlantic and Trans-Am.
"The reconstructed Circuit facility will provide significant economic benefits to the community", said Alan Wilson, "Although we are only planning one major event in 2001, and do not expect to host more than a handful in any given year, the track will be in constant demand for race school, private hire, club and corporate activities, all of which will fill hotel rooms and restaurants throughout the season. The area will also receive international and North American television and media attention thanks to the international importance of the Retrospective and ALMS weekends."
Coinciding with next summer's completion of the track renovations, the Circuit Mont- Tremblant will be re-opening the Jim Russell Driving School, which has been closed during the track renovations. The Driving School has served as a training ground for a number of drivers who went on to gain prominence in motor racing including Jacques Villeneuve, currently the No. 1 driver for Formula One's British American Racing team.
Many of Canada's most prominent race drivers, including Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve, Paul Tracy, Scott Goodyear and Patrick Carpentier developed their skills on the challenging Mont Tremblant course. The new school and rebuilt facility will certainly help many more Canadians follow their path to international success
Claude Bourbonnais, the veteran Canadian Indy Car, Indy Lights and Formula Atlantic driver who has competed in many different types of car at Mont-Tremblant over the years, said he is pleased that the racing tradition is continuing at le Circuit.
"They are doing an outstanding job modernizing the track and making it a racing facility that is on par with the best of them," said Bourbonnais, "The Circuit is even more challenging but it hasn't lost any of its charm. Drivers and racing fans alike are going to find it very enjoyable."