CARSTAIRS — Construction of a brand new, multi-million-dollar racetrack got underway late last week.
The official ground-breaking for the Rocky Mountain Motorsports multi-purpose facility was held Thursday, Sept. 24 at the site, located approximately 20 minutes north of Calgary’s city limits near the Carstairs overpass at the intersection of Highway 2 and Highway 581.
Once complete, the project, which has to date involved five years of obtaining approvals and permits from Alberta stakeholders, will boast a multi-purpose-built facility featuring a 3.5-kilometre world-class racetrack with 16 turns and 36 metres of elevation change to a lap, according to a press release.
“We are excited that we can finally see construction progress,” wrote Dominic Young, Rocky Mountain Motorsports president and CEO, in response to questions.
The motor park will contribute to diversifying the provincial economy with $100 million investment over the next four to five years, including $25 million the first year. Construction will require about 200 workers, with an additional 100 new jobs created once complete, reads a portion of the statement.
“Our target is mid-summer 2021 to have cars on track,” said Young.
Although a date has yet to be determined, “We will put on inaugural lapping sessions for founders, members and other supporters,” he said.
The track will provide a place for both professional as well as recreational racing enthusiasts to test themselves on a closed course. There will also be an emphasis on performance driving schools, which are proven to result in fewer collisions for participants, reads the press release.
Additionally, “Plans include a commercial development zone that will revitalize a subset of the economy that depends on having a professional race track in the area,” it reads.
The track’s owners are also in the process of conducting long-term conversations with the Calgary Police Service with regards to establishing a new officer driver training academy that would meet existing and future needs of the department.
The venue could also potentially be put to use by automotive companies that are seeking somewhere to, for example, test drive vehicles to gauge performance.
“We have had discussions with some people from the City of Calgary on a potential joint approach to manufacturers,” said Young.
And although the track will not single-handedly eliminate street racing, the facility is expected to play a role in at least reducing such instances by providing the option for racers who prefer to enjoy the sport in a safer environment, states the press release.