Bring Back Mont Tremblant! (Update)

UPDATE

Mont Tremblant is a gorgeous circuit. However, one AR1 reader questions the viability of an IndyCar race there.

Dear AR1:

I'm going to ask that my name be withheld here. However, with some knowledge of the situation I would like to respond to the Hot News item (see below) regarding Mont Tremblant.

I agree with the writer that a summer trip to the Quebec countryside would be delightful. I'm likewise a huge fan of the Mont Tremblant layout, and despite the entertaining show IndyCar put on at Houston this past weekend, would love to see a few more proper racing circuits on the calendar.

However, the simple truth is a crowd of 20-25k at a place like Mont Tremblant does not even come close to justifying IndyCar's very high sanctioning fees. And if the promoter had a bad weather day such as the 2007 race, or Barber this past season, there is no television money in IndyCar to protect the promoter from taking it on the chin, as there is in NASCAR.

Another current issue is there are no French-Canadian drivers currently in the series, although Mikael Grenier could be on the grid next season. That scenario makes the promotion of an event more difficult. However, the current management at the circuit are not the aggressive promoter types a la an Eddie Gossage, or the Andretti team.

So, yes, I agree with the author: Mont Tremblant would be awesome to see. But so would Elkhart Lake, Phoenix, Michigan, Monza and heck the old Nordschleife. As for the reality of them coming to life?

That's an entirely different discussion.

Name withheld

P.S. Thanks for all you guys do.

07/01/14

Champ Car raced at Mt. Tremblant in 2007

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 calendar 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 Cotman's consulting group working to put a street race in downtown Quebec, but that’s gone cold, and it's 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 Canadian 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. Matt Schafer/Beyond The Flag

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