IndyCar’s chief executive once got a taste of Calgary’s hospitality and he would love some more.
But Randy Bernard told Metro in an exclusive interview that while a promoter did approach the circuit about sponsoring a local open-wheel racing event last year, the pitch “never went anywhere.”
“I think it needs to make financial sense for our partner in any city we go to,” he said. “There’s other cities in Canada that are very interested in a race.”
With the main sponsor of the Edmonton Indy, Octane Motorsports, pulling out of hosting the annual race, only Indy Toronto remains as far as the circuit’s activities north of the border are concerned.
Bernard has said he was hopeful that Indy would return to two Canadian cities as early as 2014, but said Calgary was not likely to host an event so soon — if ever.
Nevertheless, the reminiscing CEO does have a personal connection to the local events scene, serving as an intern with the Calgary Stampede in 1988.
“Being there for a summer — five months — and seeing how much the city gets involved in its events, I think it would be a great market for us in Canada,” Bernard said. “I just love the city and the people, it would be great to have a race there.”
Local Ald. Shane Keating has mused about drawing an international racing circuit to a new track being pitched near Airdrie, known formally as the Rockyview Motorsports Park.
“If we can make something like that work, it’s something we should definitely look into it,” he said last month, just days after Edmonton Indy was cancelled.
Officials involved in raising funding for the $30-million project have confirmed that while the development does not hinge on drawing large racing circuits, they could well be accommodated in the existing design.
Bernard said having a track already in place has led to “huge savings” in other Indy cities and added that the local market is one the circuit would never rule out.
“I love Calgary . . . it’s one of my favourite cities in the whole world,” he said.