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Formula One

Canadian Auto Show to Celebrate F1 History

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As Canada celebrates their Sesquicentennial, they’re also set to celebrate 50 years of Grand Prix racing in Canada. The celebration will kick off at the 2017 Canadian International AutoShow, with a display put together to highlight a combination of history, imagery, iconic cars and legends together.

“For the past 50 years, Canadians have hosted one of the best Grand Prix races on the Formula 1 circuit,” says Jason Campbell, General Manager of the AutoShow. “We are proud to collect the history of Formula 1 racing in Canada to one place at this year’s AutoShow and celebrate the great drivers and vehicles who have competed here.”

Taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from February 17 and 26, the event offers manufactures the opportunity to showcase their new car line-ups for the year, as well as concept cars. There is also other significant automobile-related exhibits featured throughout the event.

For the past 50 years, F1 racing has been happening on Canadian soil, beginning with Mosport Park (now Canadian Tire Motorsports Park) in 1967. One of the most iconic Canadian names that F1 fans and non-fans know is Villeneuve.

The Villeneuve family will be center of the exhibit, with Gilles Villeneuve’s 1978 Ferrari and Jacques Villeneuve’s 1997 Williams on display. In 1997, Jacques became the only Canadian to date to win the Formula 1 Championship.

There will also be a 1991 Benedetto that was driven by Michael Schumacher on display, thanks to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Schumacher’s history in F1 is lengthy, including seven wins in the Canadian Grand Prix.

Other cars that will be featured in 50 Years of Grand Prix in Canada, include:

  • A 1961 Cooper Climax T55 driven by Bruce McLaren
  • A 1974 Parnelli driven by Mario Andretti
  • A 1978 Walter Wolf WR6 driven by Jody Scheckter
  • A 1987 Lotus 99T/5 driven by Ayrton Senna, and
  • A 1990 Ferrari 641 driven by Nigel Mansell

Also, a newly refurbished 1971 Boss Mustang complete still with Monaco plates – only the second car ever owned by Gilles Villeneuve – will be on display for the very first time courtesy of Headrush Motors and Gilles’ widow Joann Villeneuve.  This car was one of Gilles’ first personal cars as his motor racing career started to take off, and helped cement his love and association with Ford products before he became a Ferrari icon.

“In 2017, we not only mark Canada’s 150th birthday,” says Campbell, “it is also the 20th anniversary of Jacques Villeneuve’s World Championship, 40 years of Williams Racing, 40 years since a Canadian car —Walter Wolf’s — won the 1977 Grand Prix of Canada at Mosport Park and 50 years of Formula 1 in Canada. We have a lot of reasons to celebrate.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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Ashley McCubbin

Currently the Executive Editor for Popular Speed, Ashley McCubbin also runs Short Track Musings, while handling media relations for OSCAAR. Currently living in Bradford, Ontario, she spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area taking photos.