January 30, 2020: TORONTO, Ont. — For the first time, the 2020 Class of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame will be inducted during a gala ceremony at the Canadian International AutoShow.
As part of a partnership announced at last year’s AutoShow, the Hall of Fame’s annual event honouring the best from the Canadian racing community will be staged in the John H. W. Bassett Theatre on the 100 level of the North Building in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
“Canada has a strong racing heritage, and the Canadian International AutoShow has taken extra steps to shine a light on motor sports and Canadian contributions to the sport in recent years,” says Jason Campbell, General Manager of the AutoShow. “It is a great addition to the AutoShow program to be able to host the Motorsport Hall of Fame induction ceremony.”
The Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame announced the list of this year’s inductees in December.
“It gives me great pleasure to announce this year’s inductees,” says Dr. Hugh Scully, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame. “Each of these gentlemen have made an indelible mark on the Canadian motorsport landscape and will be recognized for their great efforts and success, both in Canada and internationally. We congratulate them all.”
The Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame Class of 2020 consists of:
- Gary Magwood — A driving force behind the creation of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 1993, his career as a race car driver began in 1967 when he campaigned in an under two-litre sports racer in the Canadian Championship Series. That same year he competed in a 1967 MGB in the 12 hours of Sebring before moving on to manage a CanAm entry for Ecurie Soucy. From 1971-74 he operated his own racing school, the first in Ontario and only the second in Canada. Gary has also distinguished himself as a journalist, driving school instructor, speaker, conference organizer and advocate for better driver training.
- Allen Berg — A retired professional race driver from Calgary, Allen qualified for nine starts in Formula 1 with the Italian Osella team. In 1982 he won the Tasman Formula Pacific Series in Australia and New Zealand, and then entered the British Formula 3 series in 1983 where he competed alongside Aryton Senna and Martin Brundle and finished fifth in the driver standings. In 2002 he founded Scuadra Fortia, which competed in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. His experience running his own team gave him a thorough understanding of the business of racing and he has significant experience working as a driver coach and technical consultant. Allan currently owns and operates Allen Berg Racing Schools whose home base is situated at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, California.
- Robin Buck — The “master of Mosport” is one of Canada’s foremost racing drivers and high-performance driving instructors. He counts more than 45 years of motorsport-related experience and over the course of his driving career captured several championships, top-three finishes and track records in karts, Formula Ford, Formula 2000, Player’s GM Series, Firestone Firehawk, Corvette Challenge, Formula Atlantic, CASCAR Super Series and the NASCAR Pinty’s Series. A current driver coach for competitors in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, NASCAR Pinty’s Series, Ferrari Challenge and Radical Cup, Robin enjoys a stellar reputation for mentoring young drivers and guiding them into a career in motorsports.
- Ed Hakonson — The co-founder of the Canadian Snowcross Racing Association (CSRA) and a multi-race winning team owner in Canadian NASCAR racing, Ed began racing snowmobiles in the late 1960s and recorded multiple wins in the 250cc class before being recruited by Arctic Cat and becoming one of its first factory-backed racers competing in Canada and United States. In 1976, he took his snowmobile and completed one of the longest open water crossings in Canada at the time, an event televised on Wide World of Sports. In 1983 he started his own clothing company Choko Design, which became an important supplier of driver branded merchandise and allowed him to sponsor and mentor CASCAR/NASCAR Canada Championship driver Peter Gibbons. A NASCAR team owner since 2001, Ed Hakonson has been a driving force both as an owner and as a builder in the lives of numerous Canadian racers.
- Larry Caruso — Beginning his driving career in 1960 in karts, over the next three decades Larry competed in drag racing, stock car, motorcycle and road racing — one of the few drivers to compete in such a wide variety of series and vehicles. As early as 1987 he found the time and energy to give back to the sport he loved by mentoring an impressive list of young talent as a driver coach and driving school owner, and with the Porsche Advanced Driver’s School, travelled across Canada to all major road racing facilities, Mont Tremblant, Shannonville, Mosport, Race City and Westwood, British Columbia. Larry remains active in Canadian motorsport to this day.
- Normand Legault — One of Canadian motorsports’ most renowned promoters. In 1981 and at the age of 25, he became the youngest Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada General Manager, a position he held until 1983. He had already begun to negotiate successfully with then-president of Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA), Bernie Ecclestone, a relationship that would flourish and grow over the next two-and-a-half decades. It was Ecclestone himself that requested that Legault return to the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada as General Manager in 1989. In 1996 he founded GPF1 and the company was granted by Formula One Management (FOM) the rights to the Montreal race which he promoted through 2008. Normand Legault also promoted the CART series Montreal Molson Indy in 2002, 2003 and 2005; co-promoted the Champ Car Mont-Tremblant race in 2007 and the NASCAR Busch Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2007.
- Bruno Spengler — An accomplished racing driver who has represented Canada in European racing for over 16 years, Bruno began karting at the age of nine and won his first championship two years later. He moved to cars in 2001 and raced European Formula Renault. In 2002 he dominated the Fran-Am Pro Championship, earning six wins en-route to earning the championship. In 2005 he made history as the first non-European to earn a seat in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Series (DTM) racing for Mercedes. His 2012 DTM title, which he earned as part of BMW Team Schnitzer, is the last major professional racing championship won by a Canadian.Bruno continues to race DTM for BMW.
Also being inducted are 10 members of the motorsports’ media, the first class in a new category. These inductees, who were first announced during the 2019 AutoShow, include:
- Len Coates — Len became Canada’s first motorsport reporter after a few years as an amateur racer and editor of Canada Track & Traffic. He was the Toronto Star‘s Wheels racing columnist and the media relations specialist at Mosport Park when F1 and Can-Am races were held there. Len is founding president of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada and helped launch the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame.
- Gerald Donaldson — A globally recognized expert on Formula One, Gerald has covered racing for the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star, as well as commentating for the CBC, CTV and TSN networks.
- Dave Franks — With more than 50 years photographing racers and racing, Dave has been published in racing newspapers like Area Auto Racing News, Speedway Scene and National Speed Sport News, magazines like Inside Track Motorsport News, and speedway programs throughout North America.
- Graham Jones — The press officer for the Minardi F1, BAR and Tyrrell F1 teams, Graham was assistant editor of Cars and Car Conversions magazine before moving to Autocar in 1982, where he was road test editor and technical editor. He later became motorsport writer and columnist for the Toronto Star. When he passed in 2011, he was editor of Racecar Engineering magazine.
- Pierre Lecours — He covered motorsport for Le Journal de Montreal for more than 30 years and was one of the key players to see Gilles Villeneuve rise to fame. Legend has it that Lecours is the last journalist to be invited onto a Formula One podium by a race winner (Gilles Villeneuve).
- Dean McNulty — Covering motorsport at every level in Canada for the Sun Media chain and later Postmedia for two decades, Dean is known for his impressive coverage of the top tier NASCAR Series. When he retired, Postmedia dropped racing coverage, making Dean the last, full-time, national Canadian newspaper reporter on the motorsport beat.
- Tim Miller — A motorsport reporter and columnist for the Hamilton Spectator, Tim has been writing about local drivers and racing for the past 35 years. He was curator of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame museum and he prepares and writes the biographies for its induction videos.
- Jeff Pappone — Jeff has written about motorsport in Canada for the past two decades, beginning with the Montreal Gazette and other CanWest newspapers. He was the motorsport reporter and columnist for the Globe and Mail for 16 years before becoming the Formula One correspondent for Inside Track Motorsport News. He is a member of the board of directors of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame.
- Dan Proudfoot — He became the first motorsport beat reporter for the Globe and Mail in the early 1970s. Dan has also written for the Hamilton Spectator, Toronto Telegram, Globe and Mail and UPI. Dan is hugely respected in the racing community, so much so that when Paul Tracy was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame, he asked that Dan do the honours.
- Erik Thomas — The host and producer of The Raceline Radio Network, Canada’s national radio motorsport authority, Erik has been covering motorsport for more than a quarter of a century, and remains the nation’s only radio reporter dedicated solely to motorsport. Erik is also the voice of Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame induction gala videos.
Racing fans and members of the public can buy tickets to the induction ceremony, which includes admission to the AutoShow on February 15th, here or at the door. For more information on the 2020 induction ceremony, visit http://www.cmhf.ca.