Canada’s Motorsport Heritage: Paving the Way for a Bright Future


14 May 2024 - 10:01
Canada's Motorsport Heritage: (...)

Canadian motorsport tracks back to the early 20th century and has evolved into a thriving industry captivating nationwide racing and betting enthusiasts. From grassroots races to world-class events on international circuits, Canadian motorsport has grown to leave its mark on the global stage.

Firstly, we’ll touch on the popularity of motorsports with Canadian sports bettors. We’ll then provide a rundown of Canada’s rich motorsport heritage, briefly highlighting the key milestones, events, and personalities involved.

Since regulated online gambling started in Canada a few years ago, Canucks have flocked to digital sportsbooks to place their bets, especially live betting in motorsports’ case. If you’re a motorsport follower who enjoys wagering while watching a race live, you’ll be looking for the best in Canada to do this. Khadija Bilal of Techopedia explains the benefits of live sports betting:

"The top sportsbooks in Canada offer more than just pre-game wagering. These online sports betting sites provide live betting, too. Live sports betting allows you to place wagers on sports events already in play.

Unlike pre-game wagering, where the odds are fixed and the lines close before the game begins, live-betting odds remain open throughout the match and fluctuate as the game advances. In other words, in-play sports wagering offers much more excitement and requires precise betting tactics."

With motorsport, live betting allows you to adapt your betting as a race unfolds. In Formula One, for example, a race lasts up to two hours, and the sport’s nature means instant changes can occur that can diversely affect wagers, so being able to adjust your bets instantly is beneficial.

Canada’s introduction to motorsport far precedes its entry into F1, though, going back to 1900 and the 60km ’speed trial’ race held between Toronto and Hamilton. From then, the popularity of automobiles grew, as did Canadian interest in organized racing. The growing use of cars led to formal racing clubs and events being established countrywide.

Fort Erie’s American Buffalo Auto Club in Ontario hosted Canada’s first official race, and many less recognized races, like the Canadian National Exhibition championships of the 1920s, started gaining popularity. As motorsport in Canada blossomed in strength and numbers over the years, the demand for purpose-built racing circuits and tracks grew.

Mosport International Raceway, now Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, north of Bowmanville, Ontario, emerged as one of North America’s premier racing facilities. The multi-track venue hosted many iconic events, including the Canadian-American Challenge Cup (Can-Am) for the Canadian Auto Sports Clubs (CASC) body and Formula One’s Grand Prix of Canada.

Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Quebec, the country’s second-oldest racing circuit, also hosted the Canadian Grand Prix alongside other notable North American championships like Formula 5000, Formula Atlantic, Can-Am, and Trans-Am.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the Montreal track on Notre Dame Island named after the legendary Canadian Formula One driver of the same name, first hosted an F1 Grand Prix in 1978 and remains a popular destination for Formula One fans as Canada’s current FIA-recognized Grand Prix circuit.

Besides six-time Grand Prix winner Villeneuve, Canada has produced several top racing drivers. The late great’s son Jacques is the only Canadian to win the F1 Driver’s Championship, with Williams in 1997, and also won the 1995 Indy Car World Series, including the Indianapolis 500 the same year.

Brack took part in Formula One and the Atlantic Championship during the 1960s and ’70s, while Allen Berg did likewise in 1986. Nicholas Latifi joins Lance Stroll as the two most recent Canadian drivers in F1.

Latifi drove for Williams from 2020 until 2022, scoring nine Championship points, with Stroll being the incumbent driver with the Aston Martin F1 team. Stroll has already started 147 Grands Prix, scoring 277 career points with three podium finishes.

Due to its rich history, motorsport continues to thrive in Canada. More Canadian drivers are coming to the fore, with supporters flocking to events at the primary circuits while more sports bettors are accessing online sportsbooks to wager on the live races. The history of motorsport in Canada has paved the way for a promising future.


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