Editor's note: This is the first “RACER fan diary,” where race fans will submit a selection of photos and words to capture the atmosphere and ambiance of a race weekend beyond the classic “who won, who lost and who stood out.”
Our first fan to offer one is Tom Welfle, on Twitter at @DysonFan, who attended the American Le Mans Series weekend at the newly renamed Canadian Tire Motorsport Park at Mosport. In 2012, the track was renamed and went through several major investments and upgrades thanks to the new ownership group of Ron Fellows, Al Boughton and Carlo Fidani.
I'd like to welcome you to a fan's perspective of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (formerly Mosport International Raceway). For the rest of the blog, I'm going to be referring to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park as CTMP. Let's face it – the new name is a long one, and replaces a classic. I will discuss whether the name change was “worth it” from my perspective in terms of cash flow for upgrades to the facility, and overall fan experience. Additionally, I'll share some tips on sight lines, and how to make the most out of your CTMP experience.
1. New main entrance tunnel provides great access to infield and paddock
CTMP has seen a slew of changes in the hands of new ownership over this past year. Most noticeable is the new two-lane entrance tunnel. If you've been to CTMP before, this change of scenery makes the Main Entrance almost unrecognizable. For years, this was just a single lane, tiny corrugated tunnel. The size made it difficult for even some large pick-up trucks to make it through. That made it to where team haulers had to wait for on-track activity to stop in order to cross to the infield and enter the paddock.
The change gives CTMP a much more professional and polished feel than what was there before. Quite frankly, arriving at CTMP is a complete change from old Mosport. The shabby registration hut, cement wall, and crowded street front entrance are all gone. In their place is a lengthy, somewhat landscaped driveway, as well as staff greeting you under an umbrella mounted to the road. Gone are the days where staff greeted you camped under a tarp out the back of their minivan. Previously, buying tickets always felt like a drug deal, or like buying speakers that “fell off a truck”.
Inside, the changes are just as drastic. The paddock is now a three-level paved area, with a road running up the middle. This makes getting from one side of the track to the other so much easier for when it's needed most. You know, for when you wake up suffering from the night before. And then you've realized, the only way you will be able to survive today is by getting two McMosports…errr… McCTMPs?
Bathrooms outside of the paddock area have always been known to be a little scary. However, I'm glad to say that they have undergone a facelift and fresh coat of paint.
2. Paddock from the back, looking up the three tiers, and slightly towards Turn 1.
CAMPING AND SIGHT LINES
Camping at CTMP really is a must. I say that not only because there aren't many accommodations options, but because the track has a lot to offer after the engines have gone quiet. There's usually a healthy number of campers, and they're all very friendly and more than happy to share a few stories over a beverage. If you wander, there are definitely some sites to be seen. For the past two years in Turn 3, some local campers and race fans have had a DJ play from 8 to quiet time. They're always welcoming everyone, including kids who really seemed to like the lights and lasers.