The Canadian Motorsports Expo, a mid-January staple in the Toronto area for a number of years now, has been moved to February in 2012 to coincide with Daytona Speedweeks – the unoffical start of the North American racing season – which kick off in Florida with the 24 Hours of Daytona road race and culminate with the biggest stock car race of the season, the Daytona 500.
Powered by organizers Inside Track Motorsport News, the sixth annual Expo will take place Feb. 10, 11 and 12 at the International Centre in Mississauga, which is adjacent to Pearson International Airport on Dixon/Airport Road.
Organizers say the new date was chosen to fall in between the 50th anniversary of the Daytona 24 weekend (Jan. 21-29) and the 54th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 26 when "Canadian racers and rans are making their plans and purchasing decisions for the upcoming racing season."
In addition to the new date, the Expo – which originated in 2007 at the Toronto Congress Centre – is moving to a bigger hall at the International Centre. Hall 6 (80,000 square feet) is more wide open than the show’s former space, which means the exhibition will be able to accommodate more exhibitors, tracks, series, vendors and racing vehicles.
"We’re just inside of two months to go until show time and the response to the 6th annual Expo has been fantastic," said organizer Greg MacPherson.
"So far, almost 80 per cent of the available exhibitor space has been sold. The racing industry is really getting behind the CME and has responded positively to the new February date and the move to Hall 6. We have some great new partners and features to announce in the coming weeks."
On opening day, (Fri., Feb. 10), highlights will include the presentation of the Inside Track Readers’ Choice Awards and Spencer Lewis’ Ontario Asphalt Power Rankings Top 10 Awards.
Saturday’s schedule will feature the celebrity racer Q&A and autograph sessions and the Meet the Media Fan Forum, among other presentations.
(Although the identities of this year’s special celebrity guests have yet to be announced, the Expo has a reputation for attracting top-drawer talent. In previous years, drivers like Jacques Villeneuve, Matt Kenseth, Paul Tracy, Brad Keselowski, Dario Franchitti, Max Papis, Derek Daly, Miguel & Yvon Duhamel, Ron Fellows and others have made appearances.)
On the Sunday (Feb. 12), a CASCAR reunion is planned. Fans, owners, drivers and crew members from the series that recently became the NASCAR Canadian Tire Seires are invited and CASCAR founder Tony Novotny and several well-known racing personalities will take a trip down memory lane.
The Expo has also featured world-famous racing machines, including the NASCAR Sprint Cup cars of Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon, as well as F1 and IndyCar racing machines.
With awards presentations as well as equipment suppliers and collectible vendors displaying their wares, the Expo has something on offer for every racer and fan and is an ideal venue for businesses looking to jump start their sales, marketing and promotional campaigns in front of their most motivated customers.
"For this year’s show, we’ve introduced an online, interactive floor plan that lets exhibitors and sponsors see what space and properties are still available, on a real-time basis," said the Expo’s Mike Galipeau.
"We encourage anyone who thinks their business could benefit from being part of the show to check out the ‘Exhibitor Info’ page at www.CanadianMotorsportExpo.com and then contact us at 416-962-7223 or firstname.lastname@example.org
It's always a great show. Hope to see you there.