Though Quebec’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve will remain Canada’s only F1-grade track, racing teams and enthusiasts everywhere can soon enjoy the handiwork of Formula 1’s renowned track designer, Hermann Tilke, at Rocky Mountain Motorsports Park in Calgary, Alberta.
Tilke and his firm have sketched, plotted, and mapped out Formula 1 tracks around the globe: Russia’s Sochi Autodromo, Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit, Germany’s Hockenheimring, and Austin, Texas’ Circuit of the Americas, to name a few. They design both street courses and permanent track facilities, and their work for F1 circuits doesn’t simply add glamour. The FIA ranks tracks in different grades according to track width, run-off area, and facilities (among other criteria), and given the eye-watering speeds of F1, the top grade of track is the most involved. Factor in the entertainment demands of an audience, the technical challenges craved by drivers, and you’ve got an equation with dozens of variables.
At this point, Rocky Mountain Motorsports Park is 3.5 kilometers long, boasts 16 corners and over 36 meters of elevation change, and is rated Grade Two. Along with Toronto Street Circuit and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, the highest-spec open-wheel series to race at RMM will be Formula 2. Additional building phases are also in the works, however, adding an additional 1.5 kilometers. In its current configuration (and on paper only), RMM bears some similarity to Monaco (3.3 km, 42 meters of elevation, 19 turns) and Hungaroring (4.3 km, 34.7 meters of elevation, an 14 turns in its current GP configuration).
The track, approximately 20 minutes north of Calgary, is also “both challenging and safe” for motorcycles, but due to “development specific clauses,” it won’t feature a drag strip. In addition to paddock, staging area, and pit garages, the motorsports park will feature a “commercial zone” for racing-adjacent businesses, a clubhouse, and “car condos” for those wishing to store their cars on-site. RMM-paying members get first dibs, and the remaining spaces won’t come cheaply; RMM estimates $220 per square foot.
Track time will be split roughly half-and-half between track members and the public for the 2020 season. RMM offers three levels of membership—Gold, Platinum, and Diamond—which correlate roughly to a loaded Mazda 6 ($37,500), a reasonably-equipped BMW M240i ($52,000), and a McLaren 520S ($225,000, plus investments in RMM). Pick your poison—or take your chances with track rental availability.