Since Ron Fellows and his partners purchased Mosport, there have been many rumblings, mostly positive, about the what changes would come to the track and how this would impact Canadian motorsport. The changes within the motorsport world are coming fast and hopefully indicate that the changes are going to be felt far beyond Ontario.
It was announced yesterday afternoon that automotive and home repair retail giant Canadian Tire has been named as the title sponsor of this weekend’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race during the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen.
Why is this such significant news for Canadian motorsport? Perhaps the answer lies in the press release:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Watkins Glen International is a destination for so many passionate Canadian race fans making this a perfect partnership,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International. Ã¢â‚¬Å“WGI is recognized as the premier road racing facility in North America making us the perfect platform for Canadian Tire to connect not only with fans from Upstate New York but across the entire United States. We are thrilled to have them join our family of incredible partners and look forward to another electrifying night of racing by Scott Pruett, Max Angelelli, David Donohue, and the rest of the GRAND-AM Rolex Series.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“As CanadaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s authority in all things automotive, Canadian Tire has a long history of supporting automotive racing and motorsports in Canada,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Allan MacDonald, senior vice-president, automotive. Ã¢â‚¬Å“On August 13, we are proud to extend our support across the border at Watkins Glen International by sponsoring the Canadian Tire 200. Through our sponsorships we help bring the excitement of professional racing to Canadian racing fans and automotive enthusiasts.Ã¢â‚¬Â
So the public line is that we are to believe that the Canadian Tire is spending a whack of cash to market to a few hundred (thousand??) Canadians that made the quick jaunt to the Finger Lakes region for a single race weekend? Personally, I think one might be a tad naive if one believed that.
With the lone exception of possibly Players Tobacco, no other company has played as significant a role in Canadian Motorsport history as has Canadian Tire. While they have remained involved with the NASCAR series, the brand’s presence has not been felt as strongly in road racing in recent years. With the new partnership at Mosport, that has changed almost immediately.
Charting the changes
A few weeks ago at the Grand Prix of Mosport, Canadian Tire’s presence was a late announcement that included some branding around the track, but most importantly was the addition of 3 giant TV screens around the track. These “Jumbotron” type screens had a huge impact on fans at the track, who could now see so much more of the race.
Shortly afterwards came the news that Canadian Tire would be supporting Fellow’s efforts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at The Glen and in Montreal.
Then, there is the news of the sponsorship of the Grand-Am race supporting the NNS event.
Putting it all together
Many of those positive rumblings I mentioned earlier have included musings about the possible return of GRAND-AM making a return to Mosport. Some have even gone out on a limb and suggested that a Mosport round might be put on the Nationwide Series schedule.
All of the recent involvement of Canadian Tire with Mosport, Fellows and now GRAND-AM would certainly point to big developments in the future. The choice of venues makes sense as these partnerships will prime American race fans for a possible trip north to watch a big race at Canada’s most historic race track.
What do you think? Will we see Canadian Tire, GRAND-AM and maybe even the Nationwide Series at Mosport next year?