Trois-Rivières – Accustomed to working in isolation, the promoters of three Quebec automotive series are united to make things happen in their industry, which, we know, has already seen better days.
M ario Dufour (Association of Leisure Karting Drivers of Quebec), Marcel Lafontaine (Formula 1600) and Jacques Deshaies (Nissan Micra Cup) presented the outline of their development plan for motorsport, Thursday at the local Friends of the Big Price, in Trois-Rivières.
Thanks to the new Emergence program, the three businessmen, in collaboration with Auto Sport Quebec (ASQ), want to take inspiration from Sport Canada’s athlete development model, that is to say finding a way to push the sporting performances of the drivers while allowing them to bet on the teaching of the best in the field. “It will be, in a way, the Canadian Olympic program for motor sport,” the statement said. The ASQ, it should be remembered, is the sports authority that governs motor sport in Quebec.
The challenge is great and on Thursday, the main stakeholders had little substance to officially announce. On the other hand, the project is on the table. The Leisure Karting Drivers Association brings together some 200 drivers. For the Nissan Micra Cup, we are talking about forty registered for the 2019 season while on the side of the Formula 1600, they should be about fifty.
In this lot of followers, many ride for pleasure and pure passion. For some of them, however, the goal is to climb the ladder in order to break through, one day, if the opportunity is open to them. But this opportunity is becoming less and less the best pilots in Quebec, all too often for financial reasons.
“We think that by maximizing the development of young pilots, we can help them to associate them with important partners. We want to train pilot athletes, not just pilots, “explains Jacques Deshaies, who has been cooking up these ideas for three years. “There has never been an official structure for motor racing in Quebec or Canada. It’s been a long time since we think about gradual development. We see this as a big work of accompaniment, driving techniques until the search for sponsors. ”
In an ideal world, for them, a young driver would learn to make his debut in karting, before moving to cars or cars as a teenager.
Deshaies and its partners know that they will never be able to replace the Player’s channel, which at one time solicited the best drivers in the country by propelling them to the most competitive series in North America.
For a few years, the promoters have been fighting for the survival of the race tracks. The Autodrome St-Eustache will close soon, while in karting, St-Roch-de-l’Achigan, which has already been one of the most beautiful sites of the discipline, ceased its activities last year. “We need a serious blow,” says Deshaies, who notes however an increase in the number of drivers for the activities of the Nissan Micra Cup for this summer. Again this year, the GP3R will host two races of this series, just as for the Formula 1600 elsewhere. “The chicane is over! In 2018, our day of discovery in Sanair with Bertrand Godin in Formula 1600 and Kevin King in Nissan Cup was successful. We will repeat that in the future. ”
It is impossible to know for the moment what pilots or teachers could get involved in the Emergence project. In fact, the promoters are waiting to see how this union will be welcomed in the community. Other announcements will take place during the summer period, the most fertile in terms of racing in Quebec. The Friends of the Grand Prix will also be in the game.