The Hamilton Spectator
Ford is set to go Formula One racing
A look at some key local dates on the 2023 calendar
The Ford Motor Company is returning to Formula One racing decades after its race engines powered numerous Grand Prix cars to victory from 1967 to 2004. The Dearborn automaker will team with Red Bull Powertrains to provide next-generation hybrid power units starting in 2026.
Red Bull Ford will provide the power units for both the Oracle Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri teams from 2026 until at least 2030.
“This is the start of a thrilling new chapter in Ford’s motorsports story that began when my great-grandfather won a race that helped launch our company,” said Bill Ford, executive chair, at the announcement in New York City last week.
“Ford, alongside world champions, Oracle Red Bull Racing, is returning to the pinnacle of the sport, bringing Ford’s long tradition of innovation, sustainability and electrification to one of the world’s most visible stages.”
Starting this year, Ford and Red Bull Powertrains will work to develop the power unit that will be part of the new technical regulations, including a 350-kilowatt electric motor and a new combustion engine able to accept fully sustainable fuels ready for the 2026 season.
Ford is investing $50 million (U.S.) in electric vehicle development and production in a shift away from fossil-fuel power plants.
Closer to home, more tracks and series have announced their 2023 schedules. One of Canada’s longestrunning drag race series, the CanAm Stock/Super Stock group, will start its 14-race tour with its only stop at Grand Bend on June 3 to 4. Then it’s off to Empire Dragway near Rochester, N.Y., on June 24 to 25, and then the Cayuga Dragstrip of Toronto Motorsports Park on July 1 to 2. The next races will take place at St. Thomas Raceway Park on July 15 to 16 and Aug. 5 and 6, then it’s back to TMP on Sept. 2 to 3. The teams return to Empire for the season finale Sept. 16 to 17. There are also two non-points events on the 2023 schedule, NHRA National Open races at TMP on May 19 to 21 and at Milan, Mich., on Aug. 12 to 13.
Flamboro Speedway opens its season April 22 with race car practice and starts racing every weekend with regular and special events on the third-mile paved oval until Oct. 21. Opened in 1961, the facility near Millgrove will celebrate its 51st year under the stewardship of the Casale family. Memorial races will be held to honour racers Bill Zardo, Don Biederman and Bill Pickford. The three-race Grisdale Triple Crown for Late Models will return, as well as the APC United Late Models for a pair of events, with the Can Am TQ Midgets also running the same dates.
Other touring series at Flamboro this year include the Modified and Hot Rod divisions of OSCAAR, the Ontario Pro Challenge Series, the Ontario Modified Racing Series, the Ontario Sportsman Series and the Outlaw Midgets.
With $50,000 to win, the Sept. 3 running of the Pot of Gold Enduro will present a busy weekend, along with the two-day annual Frostoberfest Weekend on Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 providing racing in a dozen classes. For dates and more information, go to flamborospeedway.ca.
Just south of Hamilton, Ohsweken Speedway also formally presented its racing calendar for this year. Along with the regular Friday night shows on the dirt oval, Ohsweken will have several notable events as it enters its 27th season.
Some highlights for 2023 on the track, which opens for racing May 19, include a memorial night of racing Aug. 4 in honour of Noelle Teal (Crate Sprint Cars), Brock Leonard (Thunder Stocks) and Art Hill (Mini Stocks). A week later, on Aug. 12, the dirt trackers take to the clay with the return of Flat Track Canada riders.
Then, two days later, the NASCAR Pinty’s Series for full-fendered stockers take to the track for two consecutive nights. Ohsweken hosts its annual big show for Sprint Cars, the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals on Sept. 17, which will be the 19th running of this classic, featuring 360 Sprinters from across North America vying for paydays, including $10,000 for the winner. The night before, the track will run the second annual Crate Sprint Car Nationals. The UMP Modifieds, the Sportsman Modifieds and the Vintage Modifieds will all compete during the season. For race times and more information, check out ohswekenspeedway.ca.