The Verizon Indycar Series is looking to overhaul its schedule next year and one thing it apparently has to address is the lack of suitable summer dates. The Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston will probably return in June and NOLA Motorsport Park, which is literally built on a swamp, wants a June date. Instead of going to the hottest regions of the country in the most unpleasant months of the year why not look north? I know it’s a radical idea to build your calender full of outdoor events around the weather, but maybe asking your fans and drivers to brave 90 degree heat and 100 percent humidity isn’t the smartest idea ever.
To me Circuit du Mont Tremblant seems like a reasonable answer. Nestled in the rolling hills of French Canada the natural terrain road course has racy layout and a good bit of history, being a former site of the Canadian Grand Prix. The last major touring series to pass through Mont Tremblant was Champ Car in 2007, and even in its death rattle drew a crowd of 20,000 to 25,000 on a rainy weekend.
Mont Tremblant is a beautiful, rolling 2.65 mile road course in the hills of Quebec about 40 minutes north of Montreal, and that’s my guess why it hasn’t appeared on past schedules. There were a number of reports of Tony Cottman’s consulting group working to put a street race in downtown Quebec, but that’s gone cold, and its time that Mont Tremblant received some consideration.
Now that Octane Management has locked up the Canadian Grand Prix through 2024 perhaps they’ll set their sights on Indycar again. They took over the contract of the Edmonton Grand Prix, which eventually failed because of lack of sponsorship. While I don’t know budget numbers it’s an accepted fact that it’s cheaper to stage a race at standing track than building a street circuit.
Geographically Mont Tremblant makes sense. To me it’s a foregone conclusion that Indycar will be racing at the Candian Motor Speedway when it opens in 2016, and Mont Tremblant its far enough away from Toronto and Fort Erie that it shouldn’t overlap with those two events.
Given the French speaking drivers in the series, Sebastien Bourdais, Simon Pagenaud, and the potential of Jacques Villeneuve returning to the series, French Canada makes sense.