f1600A gathering of nearly 40 drivers, that will include a mix of seasoned veterans and young hopefuls, will once again line up on the starting grid of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, next June 10, 11 & 12, for a round of the 2011 Formula 1600 Series schedule. Octane Racing Group, promoter of the event has announced today the return of one of the Montréal crowd favourite open-wheel series at the Grand Prix du Canada. Besides the familiar names of the Bonnet family father and son team, Didier Schraenen, and other stars of the Québec-based series, several top drivers from Ontario, the United States and even a young hot shoe from New Zealand are expected in Montréal that weekend.

“We are happy to announce today the return of the Formula 1600 Series at the Grand Prix du Canada. It is always a pleasure to realize that these Quebec and Ontario race programs are doing so well that it enables us to attract a large group of racers able to put on a great show during our event,” said Mr. François Dumontier, President of Octane Racing Group and President of Grand Prix du Canada. “Speaking of doing well, we are happy to hear that Didier Schraenen, one of most popular drivers on the Quebec Formula 1600 Series circuit, has totally recovered following his health incident last year, and that he will try once again to capture his first series win in Montréal. Some of the greatest drivers in the world made their debuts in this type of series. So, we are happy to continue the trend by showcasing these young stars in front of the Montreal crowd.”

Among the up-and-coming drivers expected in Montréal, Quebec drivers Charles Leclerc and Xavier Coupal, Nathan Block and Aaron McCauley from Ontario and Chris Vlok, an 18-year old from New Zealand, are among these worth mentioning. Even though he has graduated to the American Star Mazda Series, Jeremy Daniel, another fine young Quebec driver, could join the fray during the weekend of June 10, 11 & 12.

“We are excited to return to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the third year in-a-row, and for a second consecutive time at the Grand Prix du Canada,” commented Marcel Lafontaine, a former series driver who has retired from competition this year to dedicate his time as President of Formula Tour 1600. “It is always an incredible opportunity for our drivers to be able to showcase their skills and know-how. The technical challenge of the track and the unique ambiance of this event are unparalleled. Once again, I am convinced that the drivers will put on a great show.”

With Lafontaine no longer competing against his old pal Didier Schraenen, Formula Tour 1600 Series champion Michel Bonnet and runner-up Olivier Bonnet, will be facing their Ontario counterparts Steve Pickering, Matt White and Dean Baker for top honours in Montréal. Last year, 42 drivers showed up for qualifying and 40 of them made it to the starting grid.

The open-wheel Formula 1600 goes back 40 years in the motor racing history book. Mika Hakkinen, Damon Hill, James Hunt, Nigel Mansell, Jody Scheckter, and Ayrton Senna have all made their marks in this series, as did current Formula 1 drivers Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button, Mark Webber, and Adrian Sutil who will be competing at the Canadian stop of the World Championship. The current Canadian version of the F1600 championship uses spec engines and tires. The wingless open wheel car chassis of the series are manufactured by CMV, Crossle, Magnum, Mygale, Reynard, Swift, Vector, and Van Diemen.

As a reminder, those wishing to buy grandstand and general admission tickets can contact the Grand Prix du Canada box office seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 514 350-0000. They can also order online anytime at www.circuitgillesvilleneuve.ca.

Organizers are also offering a variety of corporate packages for both small and large companies and other groups who wish to attend the 2011 Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada. To make a reservation or to obtain further information on corporate packages, contact Julie Rioux-Paquette at 514 350-4731.

A Canadian company established in Montreal, Octane Racing Group Inc. is the promoter of the FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DU CANADA by virtue of an agreement made with Formula One Administration Limited and Formula 1 World Championship Limited (together the holder of commercialization rights to F1).

Originally published:
F1 Grand Prix du Canada