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Welcome arrow Articles arrow Miscellaneous arrow A Piece of Canadian History
A Piece of Canadian History PDF Print E-mail

Between 1961 and 1977, Mosport Park, just north-east of Toronto, hosted the Canadian Grand Prix.  A spectacular circuit set in stunning, rural surroundings, Mosport International Raceway could truly be called a ‘driver’s’ circuit.  Sadly, few exist these days in the quest for stringent safety requirements.

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Indeed, Mosport was dropped from the Formula One calendar because it could not meet the FIA’s safety demands in terms of run-off areas.   Beautifully laid out, the 3.957 km track features a fast downhill right-hander after the pits which is a driver’s dream, while later in the lap there is an uphill double-apex right-hander at turns 5 and 6: all this separates the men from the boys.

But what, you may ask, has this to do with the Macau Grand Prix?  Well, throughout Mosport’s 17 years as a Grande Epreuve destination, many Macau regulars also competed at the Canadian venue.

In 1977, future world champion, Australian Alan Jones was fourth at Mosport; the previous year he was also fourth in Macau.

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The 3.957 km circuit is undoubtedly one that emanates from the early Sixties and, if it could possibly comply with current FIA regs, would be a great addition to the season’s calendar.  Sadly, it does not.

Located just north of Toronto near a township called Bowmanville, Mosport was opened in 1961 close to the shore of Lake Ontario (isn’t everything around here?).  Its inaugural event was the Players 200 which was won by Stirling Moss .

The final Grand Prix at Mosport was in 1977 when victory went to Jody Scheckter in the Canadian-owned Wolf F1 outfit.  Before that, winners had been Belgian’s Jacky Ickx and Jackie Stewart.

Mosport also hosted the Can-Am series which was popular in the Seventies, featuring big-engined sportscars with futuristic, aerodynamic bodies.  Dominated for many years by McLaren, Can-Am was popular with the majority of drivers, and Mosport – although dangerous – was one of their favourite circuits.

The Can-Am race winners reads like a Who’s Who of international motorsport:  the late Mark Donahue won at Mosport in 1966; Denny Hulme in ’66; Bruce McLaren in ’67; and Dan Gurney in 1970.

It has also witnessed tragedy: Manfred Winkelhock, the older brother of regular Macau touring car runner Jo Winkelhock, was killed in a sportscar race in 1985.  Winkelhock went off at turn 2, hit the wall and was killed instantly.

Mosport Park was eventually acquired by moor sports magnate Don Panoz and although Panoz instigated certain upgrades to the circuit, it no longer hosts major international events.

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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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