Friday, October 06, 2006

Mont Temblant: The "little nurburgring"

The Montreal round of the Champ car series has been held at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the past several years. It was recently announced that Nascar will begin racing at the track (which also hosts the Canadian Formula 1 race). The Champ car series will now race on the Mont Tremblant circuit about an hour north:
The Champ Car race, meanwhile, will move even farther north to the legendary track by the slopes of Mont Tremblant. Securing a major open-wheel event is a huge coup for the recently revived track, which was once famously referred to by Michael Schumacher as the "little Nurburgring". (No wonder Ferrari elected to open its first North American driving school there. )
Apparently the circuit has been improved in recent years which is probably for the best - I took the Jim Russell course in the early 90s. I've never driven the Nurburgring Nordschleife except in Gran Turismo 4. There were some similarities - blind corners with huge elevation changes and a troubling lack of run-off (in one case, running wide on the exit of a corner meant hitting a bridge piling). However, a lot of what make the Nordschleife such a beast is the scale - 177 turns over 13 miles versus 9 or 10 turns at Mont Tremblant. At any rate, I suspect the track has been extensively improved (there's a reason they don't race grand prix cars on the Nordschleife any more...) so it's probably a moot point. Still, Mont Tremblant is an exciting track and it's great to see high-end race cars returning to it.


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