Brian Robertson

Brian Robertson leads a group of Vees at Harewood Acres in 1967.

Inducted 2005

Brian Robertson first went road racing in 1964 after attending the CASC drivers school at Harewood Acres. In 1967, he won both the Ontario Region and Canadian Formula Vee championships. He went Formula B racing in 1968 and had success both at home and in SCCA events in the United States. In 1972, despite tough competition from Craig Hill, Ric Forest and John Powell, he won the Player’S Challenge Series and the Canadian Driving Championship. Following a serious accident in the Grand Prix of Singapore in 1973, he developed vertigo and was forced to retire at the age of 33. In 1969, he and American importer Fred Opert became partners in Fred Opert Canada. From ’69 to 1977, the company imported, serviced and supported FB Brabhams and Chevrons. That year, 1977, saw Brian start his own company. For the next 20 years, he was the North American importer for Ralt, which dominated North American Atlantic and Super Vee racing, and he also was one of the continent’s biggest suppliers of racing motors. Among his team drivers were Michael Andretti, who won the Atlantic title in 1983, and David Empringham (1994). As a driver, importer and team owner, Canada’s Brian Robertson was one of the most important figures in North American open wheel racing.

Image via Canadian Racer

Scott Goodyear

Inducted 2002

Scott Goodyear is one of Canada’s best-known international racers, with experience in sedans, Indy cars and endurance races. In more than two decades of racing, during which he also operated a racing school, Goodyear is best known for his years driving in CART and the IRL. In his four-year Indy Racing League career, he recorded one top-five and two other top-10 finishes in the season point standings, as well as three wins, 14 other top-five finishes and seven other top-10 finishes. He finished in the top 10 five times driving in the Indianapolis 500, including two second-place efforts, the most memorable of which occurred in 1992 when he chased Al Unser Jr. to the finish line in a brilliant final two-lap charge, finishing second by just .043 of a second, the closest margin in race history. His most controversial Indy 500 race came in 1995 when he was ruled to have passed the pace car while leading late in the race. He was disqualified and the race was won by another Canadian, Jacques Villeneuve. Goodyear’s first Indy Car victory came that year at Michigan in the CART Marlboro 500. Six years after his 1980 auto racing debut, Goodyear seized his first title, the 1986 North American Formula Atlantic Championship, following a season in which he won five of nine races. That same year he was named Driver of the Year by the Canadian Race Drivers Association. Goodyear currently resides in Carmel, Indiana, with his wife Leslie and their three children.

Jacques Villeneuve

Inducted 2001

Jacques Villeneuve, the brother of Gilles and uncle of Jacques, is being inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame for his excellence in snowmobile racing as well as automobile racing. He is best known as the first Canadian to win a CART Indycar race at Elkart Lake, Wisconsin, in 1986) and has been World Snowmobile Champion three times. In fact, he is favoured to become the sport’s first four-time champion. Modest, friendly and full of fun, Jacques is known for his wide open, sometimes wild, driving style and his passionate desire to win every time out. He started racing in 1976 and was rookie-of-the-year in the Honda Civic championship. He won the title in 1977 b+A59efore going Formula Ford racing in 1978, where he finished second in the Jim Russell championship. In 1979 he was rookie-of-the-year in the Canadian Formula Atlantic series and won the Atlantic championship in 1980, the same year he won his first world snowmobile championship. He repeated as Formula Atlantic champion in 1981 and tried his hand at Formula One, failing unfortunately to qualify an Arrows at the Canadian Grand Prix and the U.S. Grand Prix at Las Vegas. In 1982, he was second in the Can-Am two-litre championship and won his second snowmobile title. In 1983, he won the Can-Am 5-litre title but again failed to qualify for the Canadian GP. He entered CART competition in 1984 with Hall-of-Fame member David Billes and the Canadian Tire racing team and set the series on its ear by winning the pole at the Phoenix round, setting (for that time) a world closed-course speed record in the process. Unfortunately, he crashed heavily while practicing for the Indianapolis 500 and was forced to skip that race but the Canadian Tire team returned to finish fifth in 1985. In 1986 his luck at Indy went sour again and a gearbox problem saw him finish 15th but, in the rain at Elkart Lake, he became the first Canadian to win a CART race, In all, he drove three seasons for the Canadian Tire team before leaving the CART series. In 1986, by the way, Jacques added his third snowmobile crown. Jacques is also known in snowmobile circles as having incredible mechanical ability in that winter sport. From 1986 until 1993, Jacques’ full-time auto racing career wound down but every time out, whether it was in Can Am, the Porsche Super Cup or Formula Atlantics, he qualified frequently on pole (Mont-Tremblant, Trois Rivieres), and either won (Trois Rivieres) or finished near the front. Now, Jacques is unable to be with us tonight. He is snowmobile racing in Winnipeg, naturally, it’s winter and that’s what Jacques does in the wintertime.

Image by S├ębastien Desbordes via Flagworld

Richard Spenard

Inducted 2001

Richard Spenard has been a very active and successful competitor at the senior level of Canadian and international motor racing for more than 25 years. In fact, he tops the list for the most wins in Canadian road-racing history. He won his first championship title in 1974 with eight victories in 10 races at the Jim Russell Racing School series at Mont Tremblant. He raced Formula Atlantic in Canada and the United States and was a teammate of Gilles Villeneuve in 1977. Not content with pavement, Richard also won the Quebec Ice Series championship that year. Richard won Canadian championships, year-after-year, from the late ’70s onward in Production GT racing, Formula 2000, the Players GM series and the Porsche Turbo Cup series. In 1986, a banner year, he recorded 12 wins in 24 starts in three different series (F2000, Porsche and GM), including four wins in the Players series, six wins and two poles in Formula 2000 and two wins and four poles in the Porsche Turbo Cup. He holds the record for most wins, poles and earnings in both the Porsche and GM series. Richard has also raced in European Formula 3, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 24 Hours of Daytona and has recorded victories and poles in Trans-Am, IMSA and North American Endurance racing. But the Quebec native is known for more than being a great racing driver. He is also one of the finest racing instructors in North America. He started teaching initially at the Jim Russell school at Riverside and Laguna Seca raceways in California. In 1985, he founded the Spenard-David racing school at Shannonville, Ont. He was the first teacher for such Canadian stars as World Champion Jacques Villeneuve, the late Greg Moore, Patrick Carpentier, David Empringham, Ron Fellows and Trevor Siebert. He was employed for a number of years as the driving coach for the Player’s-Forsythe CART team (Carpentier and Tagliani) and was director of the Player’s driver development program during its existence. Although Richard doesn’t drive as often these days, he’s still fast. Who among us will ever forget his win in the Motorola Cup race at the 1998 Molson Indy when he drove to victory all the way from the back of the pack. Or the Enduro race, also at the Molson Indy, when – not even entered until the night before the race and not having any practice time whatsoever, he started last – and won. A man who freely admits that his timing for success in racing’s upper echelons was never the best, Richard Spenard was nevertheless one of the greatest racing talents ever to come out of this country. He has been a marvelous ambassador for Canadian motorsport and is most worthy of induction into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame.

Dave Morris

Inducted 1998

Dave Morris was a fine racing driver in his own right. In four years of driving Formula Fords, Dave chalked up 29 victories in 65 races including the 1973 Canadian Formula Ford championship. By 1976, Dave was supplying Formula Atlantic engines for Gilles Villeneuve, who won 12 of 13 races and both Canadian and North American titles. In 1977, Dave owned the team that fielded Villeneuve. Gilles clinched another Canadian title and finished up the year driving for Ferrari in Formula 1. Dave Morris can take some of the credit for getting him there.

Bill Brack on Speed TV

Bill Brack Formula Atlantic 1975

A great, short feature on Canadian racing Champion Bill Brack, created by SpeedTV.

Video by SpeedTV
Photo via wikipedia by Fred Young