This Is The Future of Motorsports in Calgary

Posted by: Matt Iasenzaniro onMarch 13th, 2014

With Rockyview Motorsports Park planning to submit an application for approval to Rocky View County this week, we figured it was a good time to take stock of both major motorsport projects in the Calgary area and share our opinions on them at the same time.

Now if you can’t remember which potential race track is which, you’re not alone, so here are the relevant details as of today:

Badlands Motorsport Resort (BMR)

  • Headed by Dr. Jay Zelazo
  • The track location is South of Drumheller, approximately 6km East of Rosebud, following the river; about 1.5 hours from downtown Calgary
  • The actual tracks are designed by Wilson Motorsport, creators of Mont Tremblant and NOLA Motorsports Park, among many other tracks in North America
  • The land is owned by BMR and the Land Use bylaw has passed
  • The project is awaiting the Development Permit, which requires the following:

    • Final engineering drawings
    • Final architectural drawings
    • Final environmental study
    • Final traffic study
  • Construction is expected to start no later than Q1 2015, with Q4 2014 being a possibility
  • Potential limited-feature opening date in Q3 2015

The first question we usually get asked is “Which one is going to open first?”, and we can say with confidence that BMR is on-track to follow through with their projected timeline. The major roadblocks of public hearings, County approvals and re-zoning are behind them, so now it’s just a matter of finalizing the design and executing it. Not to downplay the cost and effort required for those steps, or to make any guarantees, but at this point we’d be surprised if BMR didn’t open by 2016.

That said, things like the advertised year-round running demand a bit of skepticism. I’m sure some very smart people have put significant thought into the feasibility of it, but it’s something that we won’t believe until we show up on a clear, cold November morning ready to drive.

BMR is being built as a world-class resort, and the addition of residential condos shows their desire to bring tourism from all over North America, not just Alberta. I know this sounds like it was ripped straight from a press release, but I bring it up because it’s one of the key differences between BMR and Rockyview Motorsports Park, as you’ll see below.

Update: An earlier version of this post included a picture of an outdated track layout. The revised track layout is now shown

Next Page: Rockyview Motorsports Park

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When he’s not busy writing about cars or travelling the auto show circuit, he’s reviewing apps and video games related to the automotive world. In his spare time, Matt is a motorcycle enthusiast, trying not to kill himself riding along with the crazy local drivers. He is also a weekly contributor in the Motor Mondays segment on News Talk 770.

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