Canadian Motor Speedway is a motorsports park currently under construction in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada. The development is located on an 821 acres (332 hectares) adjacent to the Queen Elizabeth Way highway. It consists of a 1.2 kilometer (3/4 mile) progressive bank oval and 3.2 kilometer (2 mile) road course. With 65,000 seats and 40 suites, Canadian Motor Speedway will be the largest speedway and the largest stadium in Canada. Its location provides it with a large market area, being 6.4 kilometers (4 miles) from the Canada/USA border with Buffalo, N.Y. and 17 kilometers (11 miles) from Niagara Falls.
It is a hybrid development with aspects making it unique from other racetracks. It will have the two race courses as well as, Research and Development, Light Industrial and Commercial areas on the site. A specific objective is to develop relevance for motorsports through the initiatives of the Research and Development area, which concentrates on advancing fuels, materials and power train technologies, while augmenting environmental sustainability through a bio diversity initiative.
Further benefits from the development include providing a strong employment base, with a projected 730 operational jobs for the Speedway, R&D, Light Industrial and Commercial zones and 1,200 construction jobs over 21 months for the speedway and road course. Events will draw patrons from areas outside of the Niagara region to increase the number of tourists to the area. The result is a proposed new dollar economic impact of $400 million annually.
Daily activities will include R&D testing, road course track days (for car and motorcycle clubs), driver experience sessions on the oval, corporate team-building seminars/track time, charity fundraiser events, motocross and kart practice sessions, and snowmobile sessions in season. The Speedway will feature 10 summer weekend Special Events, under a permit from the Town of Fort Erie.
Canadian Motor Speedway features many unique aspects for the racetrack layout and the total development. The design team will be led by 4-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Serieschampion Jeff Gordon.
The development is made up of three core areas, the oval and road course, centrally located, the research and development area to the south and east of the site, and the Commercial area to the north. The major parking and camping areas are located to the immediate west and southwest of the development.
One of the central design/development parameters is the 250 acre (101 hectare) environmental element. A master planned biodiversity park will be employed to enhance sustainability and passive connectivity throughout the site. The current environmental features of the site are being increased with the remediation of the Miller’s Creek corridor and the implementation of filter beds in constrained areas.
Centering the layout will be a 1.2 km (3/4 mile) oval with progressive banking. It will feature the latest innovations in design and safety. The oval will have 60,000 grandstand seats, 5,000 club seats and 80 suites along its start/finish straight for spectators. The speedway has been pre-approved to expand to as many as 100,000 grandstand seats. Inside the oval will house the race garages, medical center and media center. The versatility of the infield will allow for a multitude of non-racing events including ice hockey, various winter sports, as well as concerts and other popular entertainment events.
Road course Edit
A multi-configuration road course is planned. The 3.2 km (2 mile) FIM/FIA track will incorporate the oval through tunnels in and out under the back straight of the oval. This design will be unique in providing a “stadium section” for the road course that will utilize the permanent seating of the oval. The elevations of the site will allow the spectators in the oval grandstand to see the oval section as well as the back section of the road course. A second configuration will separate from the oval, and use only the back section of the road course to allow the oval and back road course to be used independently. A 2nd paddock area will be built along the longest straight to accommodate the back course. The road course paddock area will also be the location of light industrial buildings for race teams and motorsport related shops.
A CIK international grade karting facility is planned to allow regional and International karting at the facility.
Research and Development Edit
A Research and Development campus, in collaboration with McMaster University's Faculty of Engineering, Niagara College, and other education partners is to be constructed on the southern portion of the site. R&D activities performed will be related to the motorsport and automotive industries, such as prototype testing, design and development. This R&D Centre / Innovation Park portion of the development is limited to 80 acres (32 hectares) by the Special Policy Area Zoning By-law. On July 7, 2014, a Memorandum of Understanding with Niagara College was signed to also explore the potential for CMS to host classes, co-op students and post-graduate placements in automotive power programs as well as hospitality, renewable technologies, innovation, media, business, and more.
A 74 acre (30 hectare) commercial and retail area has been approved to the north of the site and will be a part of the second phase.
Carbon neutral Edit
The biodiversity plan, ties in with the theme of establishing a beneficial co-existence between the project and the environment. The development will employ proper forest management practices, to enhance the forest ecosystem, and increase the treed cover on the site by 80 acres (32 hectares). Canadian Motor Speedway will use grass parking areas to reduce the overall environmental impact and footprint, while enhancing the water quality systems that exist on the site. Canadian Motor Speedway will undertake initiatives to design, construct and operate the facility as the first carbon neutral track in the world.
Development Process Edit
The Canadian Motor Speedway was conceptualized in 2005. Site selection and investment began in 2007. Previous attempts at a speedway in Niagara, were made by other individuals and failed primarily due to lack of resources, a workable business plan, and a flawed development strategy. A complete review of the business model coupled by the formulation of alliances with Jeff Gordon Inc., and other development partners resulted in an opportunity that would meet investor expectations while creating significant value for local communities in the area. Following 14 months of comprehensive studies, that included 22 reports, the planning submission for a special policy area was made to the Town of Fort Erie and Region of Niagara in February/March 2009.
A public open house hosted by Canadian Motor Speedway was held on June 4, 2009, to introduce the project to the public. The first presentation to Fort Erie Town council came on September 8, 2009, with the report from town staff of the application to amend the Fort Erie Official Plan and Zoning By-law. Requests for recommendation reports on the Official Plan Amendment and Regional Official Plan Amendment were made on November 23, 2009, and November 25, 2009 respectively. On December 7, 2009 following an 6+ hour council meeting that had 59 delegations the Town of Fort Erie Council voted unanimously to approve the Official Plan Amendment. On December 9, 2009 the Region of Niagara council also voted unanimously to approve the Regional Official Plan Amendment. The by-laws to enact the amendments were passed on December 14 by the Town of Fort Erie and February 11, 2010 by the Region of Niagara.
On September 7, 2010 the planning staff of the Town of Fort Erie submitted a recommendation report No. CDS-048-10 to council to approve the re-zoning application, of Canadian Motor Speedway. The report was accepted and Fort Erie Town council voted unanimously to approve the re-zoning By-law No. 106-10 for the property for Canadian Motor Speedway after the third reading on September 13, 2010. The 821 acre (332 hectare) site of the Canadian Motor Speedway is considered a Special Policy Area for the use of motorsport related activities.
Appeals against the development were taken to the Ontario Municipal Board for hearing in June 2012. A decision was rendered on November 5, 2012 to approve the development and allow it to proceed, with certain holding provisions, to the next stage in the development process.
On October 9, 2013, construction began for the initial re-development of Miller Creek - a significant environmental enhancement on the site. The speedway is now expected to be completed by 2017.
In the July 28, 2014 issue of Maclean's Magazine, an article about Canadian Motor Speedway appeared in the Economy section.
On September 11, 2014, Gordon was in Toronto for the 'Chase Across North America' Sprint Cup Championship media tour and spoke of Canadian Motor Speedway.