Canadian Motorsport Greats Honoured at Autoshow
Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame, AutoShow team up to showcase contributors, contributions
The Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony is now a part of the Canadian International AutoShow.
And it’s a good thing, too. Never in the Hall’s history has it honoured so many inductees in one year.
Why such a long list? The Hall announced a full class of inductees in 2019, but thanks to the transition to join forces with the AutoShow, no ceremony was held. The 2019 inductees are therefore being feted this year alongside the 2020 class.
The main event takes place on Saturday, Feb. 15, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the John Bassett Theatre, located on the 100 Level of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre’s North Building. Tickets are available at autoshow.ca for $95 each, which also includes same-day general admission to the auto show. Tickets are also available at the door, minus the price of AutoShow admission.
The 2020 inductees are:
Gary Magwood, who competed in open-wheel classes, raced a 1967 MGB in the 12 Hours of Sebring, and managed a Can-Am entry for Ecurie Soucy in the same year before opening one of the first racing schools in Canada. Magwood was instrumental in the formation of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 1993 and, on occasion, was a contributing writer for Toronto Star Wheels.
Allen Berg, who won the Australia and New Zealand-based Tasman Formula Pacific Series in 1982, entered British Formula 3 in 1983 competing alongside Ayrton Senna and Martin Brundle, and later qualified for nine Formula 1 starts. Berg currently owns and runs the Allen Berg Racing Schools based at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in California.
Robin Buck, whose decades-spanning career covers an encyclopedic list of premier Canadian racing series: Formula Ford, Formula 2000, Player’s GM Series, Firestone Firehawk, Corvette Challenge, Formula Atlantic, CASCAR Super Series and the NASCAR Pinty’s Series. Today, Buck is a driver coach for competitors in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, NASCAR Pinty’s Series, Ferrari Challenge and Radical Cup.
Ed Hakonson, the co-founder of the Canadian Snowcross Racing Association and a team owner in Canadian NASCAR racing since 2001, claiming multiple wins. He completed one of the longest open-water crossings on snowmobile in Canada at the time in 1976, which netted him coverage on Wide World of Sports.
Larry Caruso, whose disciplines have included drag, stock car, motorcycle and road racing. With the Porsche Advanced Drivers School, he travelled across Canada to train up-and-coming racers at facilities like Mont-Tremblant, Shannonville, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Race City, and Westwood.
Normand Legault, one of Canada’s most well-known race promoters. Through his company, GPF1, he was long-time promoter of Canada’s Formula 1 event until 2008, and he also promoted the CART stops in Montreal in 2002, 2003, and 2005, and co-promoted the Champ Car race at Mont-Tremblant and the NASCAR Busch Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2007.
Bruno Spengler, the French-born, Quebec-raised racer whose citizenship is Canadian, which made him the first non-European to earn a seat in DTM when he joined Mercedes-AMG in 2005. After moving to BMW, he won the DTM title in 2012. Spengler has competed four times at the 24 Hours of Daytona with the BMW factory team in GTLM, one of which was this January as he kicks off his debut full-time season with the team in IMSA.
On that same evening, the class of 2019 will be honoured, which is made up of Canadian motorsport media legends: Len Coates, Canada’s first motorsport reporter and the founding president of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada; Gerald Donaldson, an internationally renowned expert Formula One writer and broadcaster; Dave Franks, one of Canada’s most accomplished racing photographers for more than 50 years; the late Graham Jones, F1 team press officer and former road test editor and technical editor for Autocar and editor of Racecar Engineering magazine; Pierre Lecours, who specialized in motorsport for Le Journal de Montreal for more than 30 years and covered Gilles Villeneuve’s rise to fame; the late Dean McNulty, who covered racing for Sun Media and Postmedia for more than two decades and retired as the last full-time, national Canadian newspaper reporter on the motorsport beat; Tim Miller, motorsport reporter and columnist for the Hamilton Spectator known for his rich coverage of local drivers and racing for the past 35 years; Jeff Pappone, who has covered racing for the past two decades for the Montreal Gazette, Globe and Mail, and Inside Track; Dan Proudfoot, who was the first motorsport beat reporter for the Globe and Mail in the early 1970s; and Erik Tomas, host and producer of The Raceline Radio Network for more than 25 years.
An international inductee is selected each year, and for 2020 this honoree is McLaren Racing. While McLaren’s 12 Formula 1 world championships, three Indianapolis 500 wins, and victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans are well-known, the marque also has a Canadian connection through its five consecutive Can-Am Challenge Cup series wins between 1967 and 1971. The manufacturer was inducted at an invitation-only gala ahead of the auto show.
A special exhibit celebrating McLaren will be on display throughout the show on the 100 level, including the 1969 McLaren M6/B raced by Mario Andretti, the 1974 M23 driven by Emerson Fittipaldi, a 2020 720S McLaren GT3 owned by Compass Racing team principal Karl Thomson of Richmond Hill, and the first McLaren to win the Indianapolis 500, the 1972 M16, driven to victory by Mark Donohue