Three years ago now, a new road racing series was started in Ontario and Quebec. The brainchild of John Bondar, a fellow who’d been part of the motor sport scene for 25 years both as a driver and an organizer (he was once president of the CASC-Ontario Region, so he’s been at the top), the Castrol Canadian Touring Car Series attracted serious amateurs as well as professional racers.
It was an instant success in 2007 and rolled right along in '08 and '09.
In recent days, Bondar announced the 2010 schedule for the series that he says is attracting new teams as well as more sponsors, which is pretty good considering it was already pretty healthy in both.
As well as two-race weekends in May and August at Mosport and at the Circuit ICAR at Mirabel airport north of Montreal in July and September, the Touring Cars series will be featured at the Honda Indy Toronto in July and at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres in August.
The Honda Indy and Trois-Rivieres shows are top-of-the-mountain stuff in Canada and it's a feather in the cap for Bondar that his series is being included.
There’s a race weekend scheduled in June but no location is listed, as yet. Since there isn’t an event scheduled at either Shannonville Motorports Park or Calabogie M.P., which were both scenes of races in 2009, it’s a good bet the June sprints will be held at one of those circuits.
Said Bondar in a release: "The championship experienced unprecedented growth in 2009 with new teams coming on board and a large contingent of rookie drivers joining, which meant fields averaged over 36 race cars. We increased the humber of sponsor partners and more are coming in 2010. We have also been approached by numerous new teams that want to join in the action for 2010, so things are looking good for the future."
The series is composed of two classes – Touring Class is for entry level race cars with engines up to 2 litres and some modifications allowed while Super Touring Class is for high-performance engines and almost-unlimited modifications. Incidentally, Nick Wittmer of Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que., was the Super Touring champion in ‘09 while Alain Lauziere, also of Vaudreuil-Dorion, won in Touring Class. Lauziere also won the TC in 2007.
When Bondar launched the series, he stressed that the "showroom" cars on the track would be the same ones that fans drove to the circuits, so fields are populated by marques like Honda, Toyota, Acura, Lexus and BMW.
The future looks good for the series that’s also presented by Toyo Tires. Bondar is a very capable guy who’s also a visionary. I’ve been after him for several years to consider trying to do for Ontario and Quebec open wheel racers what he’s done for the closed-wheel crowd.
I remain optimistic that he’ll give it a shot.