Top Fuel

New motorsports race track proposed near Airdrie

By Deborah Tetley, Calgary Herald July 26, 2012

CALGARY — The wheels are in motion to open a new, $27-million motorsports park in the Calgary area after the popular Race City was shuttered last year, creating a void for racing enthusiasts.

The proposed track, called Rockyview Motorsports Park, would operate on 1,200 hectares east of Airdrie and is being billed as “a world-class auto racing facility.”

If all goes according to plan, the new track — packaged with an executive airport — is scheduled to open one phase in early 2014, according to a proposal overview obtained by the Herald on Wednesday.

Ald. Shane Keating, whose ward includes the former Race City Motorsports Park, sat on a committee which was formed from interested parties shortly after the track’s contentious closure last fall.

The Motorsports, Arts Culture and Sports group (MARCS) approved the Rockyview Motorsports Park plan in late spring, giving the organization the go-ahead to find investors and set the bid in motion.

The parties involved have a news conference planned for Monday, according to Keating.

“There is a future for motorsports here and a very viable future,” he said Wednesday.

There is still plenty of work to be done, Keating said, including raising the money. “Now with plans for another track, we need the support of all the race organizations out there. We need everyone to come together so we can get this done.”

Keating said “thousands” of acres of land east of Airdrie has been “secured” for the development, which will likely include an airport, a go-kart track, a drag strip, car condos and restaurants.

The race track will be built on a 200-hectare parcel, he said.

“There has been a fair bit of money invested in securing the land so far,” said Keating.

The Herald was unable to reach anyone from Rockyview Motorsports or MARCS for comment Wednesday night.

Rocky View County’s reeve, Rolly Ashdown, said he has heard “rumblings” about the plan in recent months.

“Nothing official has been brought forward to us as a council,” said Ashdown, adding there will undoubtedly be public hearings held regarding the project.

“I look forward to what they (Rockyview Motorsports) have to say and also what the residents have to say,” he said. “Everyone will be heard, but we are not at that point yet.”

Shawn Bishop, who owns — a racing gear and equipment supplier — said he and others in the community are happy to hear racing might be revived in the Calgary region.

Bishop said his business has been negatively affected by the closure.

“The closing of Race City has affected my business as many racers have parked their cars until something new comes along,” he said, adding that a lot of drivers who would be racing legally in Calgary have taken their passions to other tracks, in B.C. and the United States.

Race City was shuttered last fall after its lease expired in December. It operated at 114 Avenue and 68th Street S.E. since opening in 1985.