Mosport. Just the name introduces thoughts of new and old, the race track carved through the trees and winding hills in the Canadian countryside, drivers of every calibre tackling one of the world’s most challenging circuits to master the high speeds and fluid curves. From club racing to sportscars, superbikes to Formula 1, it has been the home to some of the greatest racing ever seen. It's hard to imagine that such a thing has existed in the backyard of so many Ontarians when you consider the history it holds.
Breaking ground in 1960, the 3.96-kilometre circuit was part of a nationwide effort to catch on to the motorsport boom, and was Canada’s second purpose-built road course after the construction of Westwood Motorsport Park in British Columbia.
It seems nearly unfathomable, but after just one year Mosport officially opened its doors to competition, the great Stirling Moss christening the track with a win at the Player’s 200 in his Lotus 19 (pictured below at Silverstone that same year).
Fast forward six years and it’s the inaugural Formula One Canadian Grand Prix, the small town of Bowmanville playing host to the names of Graham Hill, Dan Gurney, Bruce McLaren, Jim Clark, Jochen Rindt, Denny Hulme, David Hobbs and race winner Jack Brabham. Hulme finished second in the race and eclipsed Brabham by just five points for the 1967 championship.
The series alternated with Mont Tremblant in 1968 and ’70 and skipped 1975 altogether, but it ran at Mosport until 1977, with Jacky Ickx, Jackie Stewart (‘71 & ’72), Peter Revson, Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt (en route to his 1976 championship) and Jody Scheckter all standing atop the podium.
There have been countless icons since – both drivers and cars – that have provided us with fantastic racing action, from Can-Am to the IMSA GT Series, American Le Mans and more. But its heritage as a Formula 1 circuit is a badge of legitimacy that few North American road courses carry. And for that we are extremely fortunate.