TORONTO, Ont. — American racing legend Johnny Rutherford recalled his early days racing in front of Canadian fans hungry for thrills at a special media event prior to the 2020 Canadian International AutoShow.
Rutherford, who drove Team McLaren cars to two of its three Indy 500 victories, was on hand to represent McLaren Racing as the manufacturer is inducted into the International Category of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame. He joined other distinguished motorsport leaders, including Formula 1 executive Ross Brawn and F1 Canadian Grand Prix President Francois Dumontier, at a media event ahead of the Induction Gala on February 12th to discuss the induction and the latest trends in motorsport, and Formula 1 in particular.Sports car racing star and broadcaster Townsend Bell served as special Master of Ceremonies
A native of Fort Worth, Tex., who is known throughout the racing world as “Lone Star J.R.,” after the state flag, Rutherford recounted racing on an oval on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition decades ago.
“It was a long trip from Texas and the fans were rabid for their racing,” he said.
Dumontier said Canadian fans will have plenty to cheer about when two Canadian drivers – Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi – compete in this year’s Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix, which will be held in Montreal from June 12th to 14th.
“They’re so young so they’ll be here for a while,” he said. “For us it’s kind of a dream come true. It’s very good for the sport in Canada.”
With a racing history that includes five consecutive Can-Am Challenge Cup series wins between 1967 and 1971, 12 Formula 1 world championships, three Indianapolis 500 titles and a victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, McLaren Racing will be inducted into the International Category of the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame at a gala black tie dinner on February 12thin advance of the 2020 Canadian International AutoShow.
In partnership with the Hall of Fame, the AutoShow will present a special exhibit celebrating McLaren with a display that will include some of the most famous cars it has put on the track since the company was founded 50 years ago.
Among the McLaren Racing vehicles that will be part of the exhibit:
The McLaren Racing exhibit will be on the 100 level of the North Building in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. However, there will also be a significant McLaren presence on the 800 level of the South Building in the relocated and reimagined Pfaff Automotive McLaren display.
Instead of taking up its usual place in Auto Exotica, Pfaff has moved to the main show floor with a display that will include the McLaren 720S Spider, the GT, Senna and 600LT MSO.
The gala marks the first of a three-year partnership in which the AutoShow will host the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony. While McLaren will be inducted during the pre-show black-tie celebration , the remaining members of the Hall of Fame Class of 2020 will be honoured during the AutoShow on Saturday, February 15th, from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. in the John Bassett Theatre on the 100 level of the North Building in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Racing fans and members of the public can buy tickets to the induction ceremony, which includes admission to the AutoShow on Feb. 15, here. For more information on the 2020 induction ceremony, visit http://www.cmhf.ca.
Media accreditation to the 2020 AutoShow is now online and can be requested at autoshow.ca/media-registration.
About the Canadian International AutoShow, presented by The Toronto Star and wheels.ca
With more than 650,000 square feet of exhibits, displays and attractions at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and annual attendance of 360,000, the Canadian International AutoShow is not only the largest automotive expo in Canada, it is also the country’s largest consumer show — a leader in lifestyle, technology and all things automotive. It boasts more than 1,000 cars, trucks, SUVs, concept cars, exotics, classics, muscle cars, fully electric and autonomous vehicles each year.
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