C’etait un Rendezvous

Today is supposed to be the Monaco Grand Prix. Like many events in the world of motorsports in 2020, it’s not happening this year. Another victim of the virus. But the streets of Monaco will still be closed to the public today, not for the race, but for Ferrari F1 driver Charles Leclerc as he shoots his scenes for a remake of the classic ‘C’etait un Rendezvous’.

The original 1976 French film shows an 8 minute, high-speed drive through the streets of Paris early on a Sunday morning. Director Claude Lelouch shot the original short in a single take, driving at break-neck speeds through public roads. There was no permit to shoot this OG fast and furious film; the driver blows through 18 red lights, drives opposite traffic on one way streets, and takes to a sidewalk to avoid a garbage truck. When the film was first screened, there was public outrage at the director. He was subsequently arrested and his license taken away, briefly. The film has since become legendary.

Charles Leclerc is living a charmed life. He is the undisputed number one driver at Scuderia Ferrari, just signed a contract with Italian designer Giorgio Armani, and his inclusion in such a legendary project as ‘C’etait un Rendezvous’ with original director Lelouch will only build on Leclerc’s mythology.

Toronto IndyCar Race Cancelled

The Honda Indy Toronto has been cancelled due to the virus. On May 15th, the event was postponed when the City of Toronto cancelled all permits for large public events. But less than a week later, it’s been decided that race’s original date of July 12th was simply too soon for Toronto to consider such a huge event, as seen in pictures below from the 2019 event.

Race promoter Green Savoree Promoters hoped to find an alternate date for the Toronto classic, but with IndyCar’s 2020 shortened season starting so late, it was impossible to find a suiltable alternative weekend.

The Molson Indy / Steelback Grand Prix / Honda Indy Toronto may have gone through several name changes and sanctioning bodies over the years (CART / Champ Car / Indy Car) but it’s been a highlight for Canadian motorsports fans since 1986.

Along with the Honda Indy Toronto, several other major races have been affected. F1’s Canadian Grand Prix will not run on its originally scheduled June date, and Mosport announced that IMSA’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix originally scheduled for July 5 has been cancelled.

The 2020 IndyCar season will now start June 6 in Texas and conclude on October 25 at St. Petersburg. The Indy 500 was supposed to run this weekend, but it’s moved from its traditional Memorial Day weekend to late August.

Car Safety

In Italy, public health officials require everyone to wear a mask whenever they’re out of the house.

It’s good to see that car guys take safety so seriously.

Canada split over FIA’s appointment of new ASN

Norris McDonald of the Toronto Star wrote an excellent article outlining the conflicts emerging over the FIA’s appointment of Francois Dumontier (promoter of the Canadian Grand Prix) and Ron Fellows (co-owner of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) as the new the national sporting authority in Canada under the name GDS, Groupe de Development Sportif.

The article explored the accusation that Dumontier and Fellows appointment as the new ASN (Autorité Sportive Nationale) for Canada violates the FIA’s Code of Conduct, statute 2.2, which specifically states that promoters may not be part of an ASN.

More directly related to the future plans for Demaras Racing is the ongoing conflict between Mosport Karting Centre and Goodwood Kartways. With Ron Fellows now being in charge of motorsport in Canada, and being on one side of the dispute between the two famed karting tracks, the hope that an impartial ASN would mediate the dispute has evaporated.

For the full article, click here.

NEWSFLASH Race Tracks are Noisy

Canada is losing racetracks on a regular basis. Race City in Calgary (1/4-mile dragstrip, 1/2-mile short oval, 2-mile road course) closed in 2011. Closer to home, Barrie Speedway (1/3-mile tri-oval) an hour north of Toronto, ran NASCAR sanctioned events from 1965 to 2015.

Street racing is very much an issue. The decreasing number of venues for young speed-demons to take it to the track can only mean that racing will continue on public roads.

Circuit Mont-Tremblant, north of Montreal, is a favorite destination for weekend track warriors. The wealthy town of Mont-Tremblant sits in the middle of the track, and the facility has always been mindful of noise levels. However, Mont-Tremblant residents have won a class-action lawsuit, and it’s going to cost the 56-year old track millions.

A former owner of the track asked the town of Mont-Tremblant to re-zone portions of the land for housing development. At the time, the track’s use was in decline and the town assumed that track activities were to remain very limited. Following considerable renovations in 2000, track activities took off but the increase in race weekends and racing schools was not appreciated by those who live nearby.

Many residents who bought homes in the area between 1990 and 2000, it could be argued, were not warned that Circuit Mont-Tremblant was going to become so busy. But they knew they were moving next to a racetrack!

However, the courts have decided that track neighbours were entitled to compensation for the nuisance that noises louder than 55 decibels created, contingent on when the residents moved to Mont-Tremblant

  • $750 / person / year from August 1964
  • $675 / person / year between August 1964 to July 2001
  • $300 / person / year between July 2001 and December 2006
  • $150 / person/ year after December 2006

According to preliminary calculations, the cost of the court’s decision could reach $3,000,000 which would bankrupt most track owners. However, Circuit Mont-Tremblant is owned by Lawrence Stroll, the billionaire Canadian businessman.

Stroll is the father of F1 driver Lance Stroll, owns the Racing Point F1 Team, who recently paid $210,000,000 for a 25% stake in luxury automobile manufacturer Aston Martin, taking over as chairman, with plans to rename his other asset the Aston Martin Formula 1 Team.

Reopening Racing: Stage 1

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Stage 1 of Ontario’s Recovery Plan. yesterday, which indicated that on May 19th, motor-racing will return to Ontario. It’s unclear whether this year’s IndyCar race will go ahead as planned, but at least go-karts can start racing.

Here’s an excerpt from the Ontario’s “Framework for Reopening our Province”.

Professional and amateur sport activity for individual/single competitors, including training and competition conducted by a recognized Provincial Sport Organization, National Sport Organization, or recognized national Provincial training centres (e.g., Canadian Sport Institute Ontario) with return to play protocols in place and no spectators, except for an accompanying guardian for a person under the age of 18 years.

This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played under physical distancing measures. This includes:

  • Water sports on lakes and outdoor bodies of water
  • Racquet sports such as tennis, ping pong, badminton
  • Animal-related sports such as dog racing, agility, horse racing
  • Other sports such as: track and field, car and motorcycle racing, figure skating, fencing, rock climbing, gymnastics, etc.
  • Swimming pools will remain closed. As a result, water-based sports competitions are excluded if not conducted on lakes or outdoor bodies of water.
  • High-contact sports are not allowed even if they are non-team. These include sports where physical distancing cannot be practiced such as:
  • Racquetball, squash, boxing, wrestling sports, martial arts, etc.