Road racing can be defined as an event that is held on a closed circuit that contains both left and right hand corners, plus elevation changes. Ontario road racers are fortunate to have at least three tracks. Mosport Park (near Bowmanville), Shannonville Motorsport Park (near Belleville), Calabogie Motorsports Park 1 hour west of Ottawa, and circuits in Quebec, as well as in the U.S. in New York State, Ohio and Michigan.
Road racing in Ontario
Road racing is divided in to two categories - open wheel, and closed wheel. This introduction explains the six steps you'll need to take before your first race.
Joining a CASC-OR Club
In order to participate in road racing in Ontario, you must be a member of a Canadian Automobile Sports Club - Ontario Region (CASC-OR) affiliated club. In this case, the Motorsport Club of Ottawa.
Obtaining a Racing Licence
You must attend an authorized driving school. Proof of graduation, a completed CASC-OR licence application form (which also requires a physical examination and a completed medical form signed by your doctor), and a photocopy of your club membership card must be sent to the CASC-OR office, along with the licence fee. This is best done through your organization.
Driver's schools fall in to two broad categories; amateur and professional. Amateur schools are run by the CASC-OR clubs (i.e. The Motorsport Club of Ottawa ) and are very affordable. Your 'street' car is usually sufficient for these schools.
Professional schools (for example, the Bridgestone Racing School) are much more expensive but include the use of fully prepared race cars, and all other safety equipment and supplies you may require over a multi-day programme. One of the best places to get started and hone your skills to build up to these events are Solo II and Solo I events.
Safety Clothing and Equipment
Racing involves risk. Acquiring, wearing and looking after your personal safety equipment protects you and helps safeguard the master insurance policy which the whole sport relies upon. Consult the official regulations on the Canadian Autosport Club website and talk to experienced competitors within your club. Do not skimp on these items; they are crucial for your safety and properly looked after, will last for many years.
Driver's Suit Requirements are listed in the CASC-OR rules and regulations.
Gloves & Shoes Fire retardant socks, gloves, balaclava and shoes are also covered in the rules and regulations. Their selection, use and care is as equally important as your driver's suit.
Helmet Road racing helmets are rated 'SA' (Special Application). They also have dates (i.e. SA 2000) to indicate the standard to which they were built.
NB Great care must be taken with all the above items to avoid purchasing an item that does not meet CASC-OR required standards.
Acquiring a Race Car
Once again, the information and support network of The Motorsport Club of Ottawa will become your best resource for locating a racing car which fits in to the category of racing that you wish to do. You should also consider 'renting' rides from other competitors or from race car preparation shops until you locate a car which suits all of your needs.
Racing magazines and newspapers are available on newsstands (i.e. Performance Racing News, Inside Track) to inform you of local racing action in all categories, and what is for sale in the way of race cars, trailers and trucks. Cost $5000 and up.
Preparing a Race Car
CASC-OR has written standards to which cars must adhere. These are clearly spelt out in our rules and regulations and cover safety items (roll cage construction, belt anchor points, etc.) as well as vehicle weights, wheelbase and track dimensions, and permitted modifications. Cars are closely scrutinized before each event, and only those vehicles that meet these standards are allowed to compete. Contact a member of the Club's executive, or drop by one of our monthly meetings.