Sir Jackie Stewart

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The Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame is proud to induct three time Formula 1 Champion Sir Jackie Stewart as the International Category honouree for 2015.

Stewart, 76, burst onto the Formula 1 scene in 1965 with BRM and immediately impressed with his speed and race craft. He took his maiden formula 1 win at the famed Monza Circuit and ended his rookie year third overall in World Championship points behind Formula 1 legends Jim Clark and Graham Hill. After two seasons with Matra that included his maiden title in 1969, Stewart moved to Tyrrell in 1970, where he stayed for the next four years. He retired in 1973 as reigning three-time World Champion.

“My great friend, the late professor Sid Watkins (CMHf class of 2011), and I worked together with Jackie, the foremost driver advocate, addressing all aspects of motorsport safety. We welcome him back to Canada for a most fitting honour,” said Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame Chairman Dr. Hugh Scully.

While famous for his racing prowess behind the wheel, many Canadians might recognize the animated Scot and his trademark tartan cap from his years of motorsport colour commentary on the us network ABC’s Wide World of Sports and later on Canadian Grand Prix broadcasts with the CBC and CTV.

“I am very proud,” Stewart said. “I raced in Canada for the first time in 1967 and I had happy times there. After racing, I came to Canada with ABC for commentary in Toronto (CART) and Montreal (Formula 1) and then I worked for CBC and CTV with Brian Williams.”

Fittingly, Stewart’s former Canadian Grand Prix broadcast partner will introduce his old friend at the October gala. Stewart will become the second British driver to be named to the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame since the International category was introduced, joining last year’s inductee Nigel Mansell.

In his nine formula 1 seasons, Stewart scored a total of 27 wins, 17 poles and 43 podiums in 99 starts. racing in Canada, Stewart scored back-to-back wins in the 1971 and 1972 Canadian Grands prix in a Tyrrell at Mosport International Raceway, now Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP). In 1971, Stewart arrived at CTMP as that year’s World Champion. He led 51 of 64 laps in a rain- and fog-shortened race. He lapped all but two cars in collecting his sixth win of 1971.

Stewart returned to CTMP in 1972, where he was faultless, winning another Canadian Grand Prix. Stewart also started from pole at CTMP in 1970 and scored points in two other Canadian races with a sixth in 1968 at Mont-Tremblant and a fifth at CTMP in 1973, which turned out to be his last start in Formula 1. Stewart withdrew from the 1973 season finale at Watkins Glen after teammate François Cevert died in an accident at the track.

Competing in an era where Formula 1 drivers often raced in multiple series, Stewart agreed to drive for the fledgling Carl Haas team in the 1971 Can-Am Championship.

Behind the wheel of a Lola T260, Stewart wrestled pole from the powerful McLaren team’s Denny Hulme and Peter Revson in his Can-Am debut at CTMP before a mechanical failure forced him to retire from the lead. Stewart won the next race at Mont-Tremblant, beating the two McLarens in a head-to-head battle and delivering Carl Haas’s maiden Can-Am victory. Tee Scotsman’s two triumphs that year helped him finish third overall in the standings behind champion Revson and runner-up Hulme.

While he was hard to beat on track, Stewart also worked tirelessly off it to improve safety for drivers and fans in an era where death was commonplace. In 11 years of racing in Formula 3, Formula 2 and Formula 1, Stewart watched 57 fellow competitors perish. The cold reality of the 1960s and 1970s was that a driver competing in F1 for five years was more likely to die than retire.

In the first Canadian Grand Prix in 1967 at Mosport, Stewart was the only driver in the field wearing seatbelts.

While many of his fellow Formula 1 drivers criticized his efforts as detracting from the gladiator image of the sport, Stewart pushed ahead with his reforms. His work in ensuring the proper medical staff and rescue equipment were on hand at Grands Prix undoubtedly helped save many lives.

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Ralph Luciw

Ralph Luciw in Porsche

Luciw, of Regina, SK is honoured as a competitor, builder and significant contributor. It’s no stretch to say that hundreds of Canadian drivers got their start in racing because of Luciw, who founded the Honda-Michelin Challenge series in 1976. The low-cost series also brought many companies into racing as sponsors. Before he launched the series, Luciw raced in hill climbs and rallies, in addition to building and racing what was possibly Canada’s first Formula Vee car.

Luciw also worked the media relations desk at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, when it was known as Mosport International Raceway, promoting many series such as Can-Am, Formula 1, Formula Ford
and Rothman’s Porsche.

In 1987, the Canadian Automobile Sport Club honoured Luciw with the John Reid trophy for his outstanding contribution to motorsport.

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Don Thomson Jr.

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Thomson Jr., of Ayr, on, is honoured as a competitor, builder and team member. Thomson is arguably the best stock car racer and builder that Canada has ever produced, scoring five consecutive
CASCAR super series titles beginning in 2001, adding to the two consecutive Canadian Eastern Championships he won in 1999 and 2000. He was also the 1991 CASCAR rookie of the Year and was
twice voted most sportsmanlike driver by his peers.

In addition to driving, Thomson demonstrated his technical prowess by preparing the cars for his Fitzpatrick Motorsports team. His legacy also includes mentoring bright young talents such as Jr Fitzpatrick, who was Thomson’s teammate for his last five years of racing. Fittingly, Thomson won the inaugural NASCAR Canadian Tire series race in 2007. He retired in 2011 after two decades at the front.

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Alex Tagliani

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Tagliani, of Montreal, QC, is honoured as a competitor. Known simply as ‘Tag,’ he has come a long way since his introduction to motorsport at the age of ten on a trip to Italy. You name it – Tagliani has probably raced it and won in it. After winning ten championships as an amateur, Tagliani was one of the drivers chosen to be part of the Player’s driver program, joining the Player’s Formula Atlantic team in 1997.

He moved to Champ Car in 2000, making 203 career starts in Champ Car/IndyCar over 16 seasons. In 2009, Tagliani took home rookie of the Year honours at the Indianapolis 500 and two years later became the first Canadian to start on the pole in the “Greatest spectacle in racing.” He continues to compete at a high level, becoming the only driver in the history of the NASCAR Canadian Tire series to lap the field in June’s Leland Industries 300 at Sunset Speedway.

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John Chisholm

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Chisholm, of antigonish, ns, who passed away in 2014, is honoured as a competitor, builder and significant contributor. Chisholm loved stock car racing and Canada is better for it. Known as the man who put Maritime stock car racing on the map, Chisholm built riverside speedway, which opened in 1969, after an inspiring trip to Bristol Motor speedway. The half-kilometre riverside speedway soon became nova scotia’s version of the famed Tennessee bullring. He sold the track in 1989, but couldn’t stay away and bought it back in 2006. Chisholm then embarked on a massive upgrade of the facility.

An accomplished stock car racer, Chisholm tore up his and other Maritime tracks in the 1970s and was the first Maritime driver to start a NASCAR-sanctioned race. Later in life, he stood in the pit lane as his son Donald followed in his father’s footsteps on the asphalt of Riverside Speedway. He was inducted into the Maritime sports Hall of fame in 2008.

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Nigel Mansell

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Early in his life, Nigel Mansell knew he wanted to race cars. This passion for speed came with his father’s inspiration, and when 10 years old he was behind the wheel of a kart, winning his first race four years later.

He was on his way.

Mansell graduated into a Formula Ford, worked at his craft, and in 1977 was declared the British Formula Ford champion. The next season he stepped up and into a Formula 3 race car as a professional driver.

Continuing to build his skills and experience, Mansell signed with Lotus in 1981 to drive in the top echelon of road racing, Formula 1. He was mentored by Colin Chapman until Chapman’s death in 1982, and while he remained with the John Player Lotus Team for the next two seasons, it was not until he went to Williams in 1985 that success started to come his way in the Honda-powered machines.
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Scott Maxwell

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Over a career in motorsport that has spanned close to four decades, Scott Maxwell has said his defining moment came in 2000 as a team member of Multimatic Motorsports and a class win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“My greatest moment personally was leading the team at Le Mans and standing on the podium there,” Maxwell noted. “There’s just nothing like it.”

While the Le Mans victory may have been the highlight of Maxwell’s career, he worked hard and long to get to that podium as one of Canada’s most respected road racers.

As a youth, Maxwell’s early years were spent at race tracks with his father, an amateur racer and official. Walking around Mosport and meeting racing legends such as Graham Hill and Jack Brabham helped to provide the inspiration to get behind the wheel of a race car.

Maxwell started racing in earnest in open-wheel competition as the CASC’s Formula Vee rookie of the year and through 1984 to 1986 was that series’ champion at several levels. He then started racing endurance cars with national class wins in the early 1990s.
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Norris McDonald

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In 2011, Norris McDonald missed the running of the Indy 500, one of his most cherished pastimes, to accept his induction into the Oswego Speedway Hall of Fame, which was held the same weekend.

“I had planned to go to Indy and its 100th birthday,” McDonald noted at the time. “But I’ve said it 1000 times – this is the only hall of fame I’ll ever get into.”

Well, for once, McDonald, one of this country’s most prominent motorsports journalists, was uncharacteristically wrong.

McDonald is now being honored by the Canadian racing world for his contributions to the sport. A former racer himself, he has gone on to not only promote the sport through his writings, he has broadcast various aspects of the sport through radio, television, and as a track announcer.

McDonald has been involved with the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame almost since its inception, serving various committees as well as acting as master of ceremonies during its annual induction ceremonies.
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Paul Tracy

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Colorful, controversial at times, and successful describes Paul Tracy’s racing career. With determination, stubbornness, and pushing both himself and his machine to levels others would not, Tracy has amassed a record in open-wheel racing that has done Canada proud. Starting in karts, as most open-wheel racers do, Tracy took his role behind the wheel seriously, and learned his craft well.

At age 16 he became the youngest Formula Ford champion, and a year later he won the final Can-Am road race, held at Mosport in 1986, racing the Horst Kroll Frisbee.  With his sights set on North America’s premier open-wheel series, Tracy started in CART with Dale Coyne and then Penske racing in 1991. He continued on a part-time level with Penske the next season, running in 11 races for the injured Rick Mears and placed 12th.

This gave him a ride with Penske in 1993, and he reciprocated with five race wins, including in front of the home town folk in the Molson Indy Toronto. Although he switched to Newman/Haasin 1995, he went back to Penske for the 1996 season, and then with Team KOOL Green with limited success until 1999 when he went to the podium seven times and placed third in the  championship.

But it was in 2003 that PT had his defining year. Driving for Player’s Forsythe Racing, he won seven of the 18 races on the card, including a popular victory in Toronto. He continued with theteam the next several years, placing fourth in points twice in CART. In 2006 he also raced vehicles with fenders, competing in NASCAR’s Busch Series, and the Grand-Am Rolex Series.

In 2008 he got back into an open-wheeler, now for Vision and Forsythe Racing in the CART-replaced IndyCar Series with limited success. He continued with this until 2011, and a year laterco-piloted a Doran Racing Dallara in the 24 Hours of Daytona, where he helped the team to a satisfying seventh.

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Tracy has commented he is proud of his part in the Toronto IndyCar races, adding his first Toronto win was the turning point in his career.

Tracy returned to Toronto this year, not as a driver, but as the color commentator for the NBC Sports Network, which broadcasts the Verizon IndyCar events.

While some of the hardness has left, Tracy continues to be honest and forthright in his opinions, providing IndyCar television audiences a refreshing and honest view. You know what he tells usis correct and he would probably love the opportunity to get back behind the wheel and show us.

John Magill

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While he may have competed in various road and karting events over the years, John Magill is best remembered for his organization skills and contributions to the Canadian Auto Sport Clubs on a management level, especially in the field of karting.

After racing karts in the early 1970s, the inductee was invited by the CASC to organize its first national karting program in 1978. In 1980 he hosted Canada’s first FIA/CIK-sanctioned event, at the Ontario Goodwood track, as the CASC’s National Karting Director.

For the next five years, between 1980-85, this inductee served as the CASC National President, along with a role on the FIA motorsport executive committee and as the North American representative for the CIK executive committee.

It was also during this time that he helped to establish the Motorsport Foundation of Canada. One of this group was Gilles Villeneuve, who died two weeks before the official introduction, so it was renamed the Gilles Villeneuve Foundation in honor of the legendary Grand Prix driver. The first funds received were used to purchase computer equipment for the McGill University Sport Group to launch its testing of racecar drivers. [Read more…]