You may think that NASCAR is exclusively an American sport, but it has quite a following in Canada, too. How do we know that? Well, aside from knowing a few fans who count themselves among our neighbors to the north, it seems that a project has been green-lighted to build a NASCAR-minded speedway in Fort Erie, Ontario.
According to reports, the $400-million project will see the construction of a new Canadian Motor Speedway, a one-mile banked oval track with spectator capacity of over 65,000, including 60,000 grandstand seats, 5,000 club chairs and 80 suites. Though it is unclear if the track will eventually join the NASCAR calendar, a mile-long oval circuit is a pretty solid indicator of the kind of racing intended for this location. Another not-so-subtle indicator of investors' hopes for the facility? The designer is four-time NASCAR champ Jeff Gordon.
Lest you think the facility is only for turnin' left, the plan also includes a 2.5-mile road course. According to Canadian Motor Speedway executive director Azhar Mohammed, "This will be a world class facility that will attract visitors from all over North America. We are very anxious to begin the next steps in seeing the speedway become a reality."
While there were some appeals against the project, they were all rejected by Ontario Municipal Board. The project will provide jobs, and eventually tourism to an area that was forced to close its slots and live horse racing recently. We look forward to seeing how this track plays into the motorsport community at large.
As the Toronto Star notes, NASCAR's Nationwide series has already announced that it will stop racing in Montreal, so the Canadian Motor Speedway could conceivably make a play for the event if it doesn't go to Mosport as rumored.
Construction for the facility is expected to take just 18 months.