Western Canada’s premier motorsports facility is about to change the game for driving enthusiasts.
By fall, 2021, Western Canada will have a premier destination for all motorsports fans that will rival any in the world.
Rocky Mountain Motorsports—located just 20 minutes north of Calgary—will be home for motorsports for generations to come. The track’s 16 turns, 3.5 technical kilometres, and 36 metres of elevation are designed by world-class German design firm Tilke Gmbh & Co, whose roster includes some of the most elite circuits in the world including the Circuit of the Americas, and the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
RRM will satisfy the most seasoned driving enthusiasts and entice those new to the sport.
Drivers at Rocky Mountain Motorsports (RMM) will have a buffet of options to test of the track, including facilitated tracks days, track rentals, driver training programs, and dealership testing, and membership programs in order to offer a premium experience for drivers of all levels of experience and interest.
The Sport of Driving
The popularity of shows like Drive to Survive and Top Gear are indicative of the burgeoning popularity of motorsports in America. It is estimated that Motorsports Market led by the growth of formula racing format across countries will exceed the $6.5 Billion mark by 2022. Motorsport has reached more than 194 countries and is growing
The team behind Rocky Mountain Motorsports (RMM) identified the need for a facility for owners of high-performance cars and motorcycles to be able to enjoy their vehicles and the sport of driving at speed in a challenging yet safe environment in Western Canada.
Having identified the opportunity, the RMM team evaluated the market at both a potential membership level and the market for track rental opportunities. “We found that the market for both was solid,” says Dominic Young, President and CEO. “Calgary has a high proportion of performance cars compared to most other major cosmopolitan markets, and also has a generous number of car clubs that had historically rented tracks for club track days. In addition, Calgary has the second largest number of head offices of major cities in Canada, providing a healthy corporate rental market.”
Even with all of these positive market indicators, Young says they knew that a more diversified revenue model was desirable to enhance the viability of the overall development. Hence, they sought to acquire a larger parcel of land to provide complimentary development of a commercial park and track-side car condos. The track-side car condos will be unique in Canada.
“Our customer base is broad,” says Young. First and foremost, we are providing a safe venue for motorsports enthusiasts to participate in a sport that they enjoy—whether it is on four wheels or two. The level of experience within the member group that has already signed up is diverse, ranging from the novice to the experienced racer that may have participated in formal North America racing series. Whatever the level of experience the RMM track will offer a challenge—that is one of the things we wanted the design to provide.”
For close to 50 per cent of the time, the track will be available for organized groups (such as car clubs), corporations, auto manufacturers and others to rent. For the novice and intermediate drivers, RMM will offer performance driving schools; and very experienced drivers will be offered “halo” driving school opportunities with professional race car drivers, so that all drivers will have the opportunity to improve their skills. Performance driving schools are also offered to the general public, with future plans including providing emergency handling training programs for the public.
For the dedicated enthusiast, a membership offers premium access to the track. From the frequent track visitor to the performance driving specialist, RMM provides limited membership opportunities that will allow for exclusive access and privileges.
High-performance Automotive Groups
RMM has also established a symbiotic relationship with high-performance automotive groups. The corporate membership, for instance, will entail having the opportunity to either provide some track days or track sessions for automotive retail customers, or using some of that time for new product introductions. “It’s a tremendous sales tool for our corporate members,” says Young, “to offer customers an opportunity to see what their latest high-performance model can do.”
Illustrative of the caliber of RRM, Ferrari Maserati of Alberta—the official Ferrari, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo dealer in Alberta—recently became RMM’s latest corporate member. Through this RMM Corporate Membership program, new Ferrari, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo customers will be provided unique track benefits and will have the opportunity to test the limits of machine and skill.
“We have been in contact with several automotive groups and have already signed up over half of the Corporate Memberships that are available,” adds Young. “We are also very pleased to have signed a sponsorship arrangement with Continental Tire.”
When asked about getting the Tilke Gmbh & Co firm on board, Young points to the designer’s enthusiasm for seeing the site in person as really standing out. Christian Epp, Tilke’s leader for the Americas, insisted on coming to Calgary during a frigid couple of days in February without any appropriate winter wear (Epp is based in Cancun). “We also appreciated Tilke’s respect for our plan to utilize the natural topography of the proposed site,” says Young. “All of the firms demonstrated reasonable experience, but Tilke clearly had designed the largest number of tracks in different climate environments. Since then, Christian and Tilke have supported the development through four redesigns of the track and Christian continues to follow our progress and introduce parties to us where he believes there is benefit to both parties.”
With anticipation at an all-time high, local economic support and general support by track users has been tremendous, says Young. “Memberships are moving well and inquiries into our track-side car condos has grown significantly. We have substantial interest into our performance driving schools – in a very gratifying way, we are seeing parents wanting to register their older teenage children into the driving schools,” he says.
“We could not have survived the many years of zoning, permits and approvals without the tremendous support of our Founders—a group of ten companies and individuals that shared and supported the vision. Particular thanks go to Cardel Homes, Volker Stevin and Whissel Contracting who have provided significant support from the start. Whissell Contracting has been tremendous to work with as our primary contractor to this point, moving over 900,000 M3 of earth during excavation and installing the underground drainage system. Volker Stevin now takes over as primary contractor, and we can’t wait for paving to start.”
As for Young himself, he can’t wait to get on the track. “I have always been a car enthusiast,” he says. “I cannot claim to have had a lot of track time, but when I have, I have really enjoyed the experience. I am looking forward to enhancing my skills through our driving schools and increased track time as “Member #1”.”