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2017 VARAC Vintage Grand Prix

The VARAC Vintage Grand Prix is honoured to have to so many photographers clicking their shutters at VARAC’s annual event.

Below is a growing list of photography links we have assembled from the 2017 VARAC Vintage Grand Prix.  Please be sure to contact the photographers if use of their photos is desired.

If you have photos you’d like to add to the collection, please contact Ted Michalos

Full coverage of the event was captured by Giancarlo Pawelec

Joann Villeneuve Reunited With Gilles Villeneuve’s Ferrari Formula 1 Car

This fantastic article is written by Michael Taylor and posted on Trackworthy on June 25, 2017.  Original link is HERE.

PHOTOGRAPHS and VIDEOS © Copyright 2017 TrackWorthy Group Ltd.

Joann Villeneuve, wife of the late great Formula 1 legend Gilles Villeneuve and mother of Canada’s only Formula 1 Champion, Jacques Villeneuve, recently took a trip down memory lane. She attended the VARAC (Vintage Automobile Racing Association of Canada) Vintage Grand Prix held at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Amongst the historic racing series that comprised the weekend’s activities was the FIA Masters Historic Formula One series. The Masters USA provides a venue for classic Formula 1 car owners to compete against each other at world class race circuits in Canada, the United States and Mexico. The series is largely comprised of Formula 1 cars from 1966 through 1985. Not only do these cars sound great, but they are also beautiful to behold, as they must run in their correct period livery.

 

Participating in the Masters USA this year were cars from constructors that includes such famous names as Williams, McLaren and Lotus. Of particular note was a very special 1979 Ferrari: a 312T4 with a 3-litre flat 12 cylinder 500 hp engine, a manual 5-speed gearbox, and its former driver Gilles Villeneuve’s name on the side.

TrackWorthy - Joann Villeneuve waving the green flag (5)

Joann Villeneuve waving the green flag to start the race

Joann Villeneuve and Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame inductee Eppie Wietzes were the Grand Marshals. Joann’s duties included signing enthusiastic fans’ memorabilia at an autograph session, waving the green flag from atop the starter’s stand to start the race, and presenting the trophies at the victory podium. But the highlights of her day were seeing and hearing her late husband’s car out on the track again, and, for the first time in her life, sitting in one of Gilles Villeneuve’s Formula 1 cars.

 

“The emotion of sitting in Gilles’ car, that was really something special,” said Joann Villeneuve. “Every now and then something happens like that, and you do not expect that rush of emotions. And all of a sudden, there they are. I was not expecting that. I also felt that when I was waving the green flag and I was watching (Gilles’) car go by. Just to see and hear the car go by and you say ‘this was my husband’s car, he sat in this car’. And then when I sat in the car and touched the steering wheel that he touched. You think you have put those emotions aside and away, but they are still there. It was a lot of emotions today. It really was nice.”

TrackWorthy - Joann Villeneuve sitting in her husband’s F1 car for the first time (4)

Joann Villeneuve sitting in her husband’s F1 car for the first time

“To see how much the man I loved touched so many people,” said Joann. “Obviously he touched me, he was the man of my life, the love of my life, but to see that he touched so many people, for some reason, Gilles touched them more than other drivers. That’s pretty special.”

This Gilles Villeneuve F1 car is owned by the Baker family and is part of a collection in Sun Valley, Idaho. The owner’s son, Californian Danny Baker, drives the car. Danny’s father had the opportunity to buy the Ferrari 15 years ago from the Jacobazzi family who had previously acquired it directly from Ferrari.

“I have the racer mentality so I want it to go quick and I want to compete with it and yet I have to respect it as much as possible,” said Danny Baker. “I got into a tussle (on the track) with a guy and he managed to get into me today. He gave me a little bump and I made sure he knew it was not appreciated. It is really fun to run out here and it is great to see everyone go just crazy for the car.” During every lap of the track Danny could see appreciative spectators taking photographs of the car and waving him on.

TrackWorthy - Danny Baker (3)

Danny Baker (R)

Of the 16 Formula 1 cars participating in the races, Danny finished 3rd in class in the first race and 4th in class in the second race. He was very happy to have been able to complete every lap of every session. It is a surprisingly reliable car but it takes a great deal of time, and money, to keep running properly.

Also on hand was Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame inductee Ron Fellows, one of the owners of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Ron is one of Canada’s most successful race car drivers, winning in series from NASCAR to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Daytona. But Ron never raced in Formula 1. “Surreal, magic and exhilarating,” was how Ron described what it was like to sit in Gilles’ car.

“It wasn’t on my bucket list because I would never think to put it on, but when Danny (Baker) confirmed that he was going to bring the car, that’s all I wanted to do, was sit in it,” Ron went on to say. “A big thank you to Danny baker, he was not planning on coming here after the Montreal race, but I kept on him, for five days, twice a day, phone calls, text messages, and he finally agreed to come. It was absolutely magic to have it here.”

TrackWorthy - Ron Fellows

Ron Fellows

When asked if he could imagine racing one of these cars, Ron shared his admiration of the “…incredible skill and bravery they had to drive those cars. The bodywork gives you a false sense of security, the tub of the car is basically at your hips. They are spectacular cars, it’s an era that I grew up watching, as a kid and a young man I idolized Gilles along with millions of others. To have Joann here and then to actually get to park my butt in it was incredibly special. I will treasure that for as long as I live.”

To reunite Joann with Gilles Villeneuve’s Ferrari Formula 1 car was the icing on the cake of what was a very successful VARAC Vintage Grand Prix weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (or Mosport as it is fondly referred to).

 

VARAC’s CHGP Supports #ProstateCancerCanada #PlaidForDad on Friday June 17th

Bowmanville, ON – The VARAC Canadian Historic Grand Prix which will be held June 17 -19 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is proud to be supporting Prostate Cancer Canada’s Wear Plaid For Dad initiative at the track on Friday, June 17.

“Many of our member’s have been directly or indirectly impacted by Prostate Cancer at some point in their lives”, says Ted Michalos, event director for VARAC’s CHGP, “it is with great pride that VARAC’s Board of Directors is pledging to Wear Plaid For Dad on our first day of our race weekend, we hope that all the competitors will join in with us and the paddock will be alive with plaid!”.

Prostate Cancer Canada is expecting thousands of Canadians to put on something plaid to help raise awareness and funds to protect men from prostate cancer this Friday. Celebrity and high profile greats such as Don Cherry, vice Admiral Norman, Dave Thomas, Premier McNeil, Eric McCormack, Chief Saunders and John Catucci have backed this initiative and social media is alive with the support.

It’s a fun and easy way to help protect men from prostate cancer.

Join us and pledge to wear plaid  www.wearplaidfordad.ca on Friday June 17th!

A Spectator’s Delight at the Canadian Historic Grand Prix

Come one, come all – if you haven’t been a spectator at a racing event for a while then we may have the perfect weekend for you!

June 17, 18 and 19, 2106 at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is the Canadian Historic Grand Prix.  We have over 200 entries running on 6 grids that include:

  • Monoposto cars – historic single seat race cars.  Formula Juniors, Club Fords, Sport 2000, and even more powerful open wheeled cars from the past
  • Vintage Historic Small Bore – 50 cars from the 50s and 60s including Minis, Sprites, Midgets, Triumphs, Alfas and a couple of MG Ts
  • Vintage Big Bore – another 50 car grid including  MGBs, MGAs, Triumphs, Alfas, Porsches, BMWs and many, many more
  • Classic – again over 50 cars from the 70, 80s and 90s including Porsches, BMWs, Corvettes, Mustangs, and Datsuns just to name a few

The Toyo Tires F1600 Championship is also running a 25 car grid.  This is some of the best racing you can watch anywhere!

New this year is the Formula Vee Spectacular which has drivers from two F1200 Series competing.  The Challenge Cup Series is a cross-border Formula Vee groups is being joined by CASC-ORs Millers Oils F1200 Championship.  We expect 6, 7, 8 car trains drafting up the back straight.  If you like to watch close racing – these guys are it!

Off track on Sunday (Fathers’ Day!) there is the Field of Dreams Car Show by corner 8, as well as the Legends of Motorsport discussion panel that is open to the public at noon in the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Conference Centre.  Bring your lunch and meet some of Canada’s greatest motorsport personalities.

The final on track session for the weekend is the VARAC Grand Prix open to any and all Vintage and Historic cars, as well as Classic cars weighing less than 2500 pounds.  We expect this to be a grand finale indeed!

What more do you need?  The weather will be beautiful.  The racing outstanding.  Come and watch 200+ drivers compete for glory under the summer sun…”

 

Can-Am Roars Again at VARAC CHGP June 17-19, 2016

TORONTO, ON (May 20, 2016) – Mosport will echo once again to the powerful sound of four Can-Am cars doing demonstration laps at the Canadian Historic Grand Prix, June 17-19, 2016.

“The Spirit of Mosport” Can-Am cars will include a McLaren M8E, a McLaren M1B (tribute car), a Lola T70 and a Chaparral 1. These fabulous cars will do laps on all three days and fans will also be able to get up close and personal at “The Spirit of Mosport” static display in a large tent on the west side of the upper paddock.

VARAC Can-Am

The Canadian Historic Grand Prix is one of the most prestigious events on the annual vintage and historic racing calendar in North America and it is the largest and most popular event of its kind in Canada, counted as a major spectator event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) since 1999.

Feature Race
This year we are featuring “Flat 6 versus V8 Muscle”, which will be a race between Porsche and American horsepower. Fitting, we have invited well known Porsche driver and 1977 Trans Am Champion Ludwig Heimrath to act as Grand Marshall for the weekend. He will be joined at “Legends of Motorsport” event by another Trans Am Champion, Eppie Wietzes, winner in 1981 driving for Corvette.

Racers from across Canada and the United States will be competing in cars such as Porsche, Formula Ford, MG, Triumph, Jaguar, Alfa Romeo, Lotus, Mini, Corvette and many more, racing on the world famous Mosport Grand Prix Circuit, one of only three true historic Grand Prix tracks in North America, along with Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Quebec and Watkins Glen in upstate New York.

Fans will enjoy three full days of exciting racing for six groups of cars including Monoposto (single seat open-wheel vintage & historic race cars), Small Bore Vintage & Historic Cars (under 2000 cc), Big Bore Vintage & Historic Cars (over 2000 cc), Wings & Slicks (very fast purpose-built racing cars running on slick tires), G70+ and G90 Cars, (cars dating from 1973 to 1994 including all kinds of Alfas, Corvettes, Porsches, Mustangs) and a host of others.

This year VARAC celebrates our 40th anniversary! The club was founded in 1976 and now has more than 220 members. Approximately 100 of those members are active racing drivers, who compete in vintage and historic racing events across North America and abroad. Our club is made up of racing enthusiasts from all walks of life. If you are interested in historic race cars we invite you to join us, on the track or as non-racing members! As you will see this weekend, VARAC members know how to enjoy their racing!

For more information see event information or contact chgp@varac.ca

Race Fan Registration Open for 2016 CHGP Events

Registration is now open for the many “race fan” experiences that occur at VARAC’s annual Canadian Historic Grand Prix.   This year’s event is being held June 17-19 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and has so much in store for the fans!

Sign Up Now for:

  • Track Touring Sessions: Twice on Saturday and Sunday. Sign up now to receive early-bird pricing.
  • Legends of Motorsport: Meet and mix with Canada’s greatest all-time racing legends like Bill Brack, Eppie Wietzes, Ludwig Heimrath, Gary Magwood and more! The session will take place Sunday morning at 10:30 in the “New Tower” building. Toronto Star Wheels Editor, Norris McDonald will MC the gathering and interview the drivers. Bring your cameras and autograph books. Don’t miss out on this!
  • Field of Dreams Car & Motorcycle Show: Join the Field of Dreams Car & Motorcycle Show! It is free with your SPECIAL RATE gate pass. Just show the GATE attendant that you have registered for the car show and get a reduced rate pass.
  • Field of Dreams On-Track Parade: Join in Canada’s largest race day on-track parade! The parade makes up to two laps of the course (depending on available time). A favourite of our guests for years.

More information on the CHGP including race registration is available here.

VARAC Announces The 2016 Canadian Historic Grand Prix

Mark your calendars – the date for the 2016 Canadian Historic Grand Prix has been set: June 17- 19, 2016 on the iconic Grand Prix Track at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, just outside Bowmanville, Ontario.

For those that are interested, a comprehensive test day is available on June 16 for an additional nominal fee.

On Friday at the end of racing, VARAC will be hosting the new Paddock Crawl – three different stations of food and beverages designed to provide teams and track workers with a chance to meet and mingle.

By popular demand, this year’s Saturday Grand Feature will be “Flat 6s vs V8s”.  A 30 minute “extra” race pitting Porsche finesse vs raw North American Power!  New for 2016, following the feature, VARAC will be hosting a reception in the beautiful Conference Centre at CTMP – “Brats and Dogs”, both German and North American foods for competitors and track workers.

Sunday is all about racing – a session for each group in the morning and then the trophy races in the afternoon:

  • 3 Vintage Historic grids (small, medium and big bore)
  • The Classic grid for G70+ and G90+ cars (cars built between 1973 and 1995)
  • The Monoposto grid, including wings and slicks
  • The Toyo Tire 1600 Championship for modern Formula Fords will also be featured as our guests

We hope you will be able to join us in 2016… we look forward to hosting you!

Click here for more information.