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Environment Canada's Gasoline Regulations: A discussion paper on the potential extension of the exemption for leaded gasoline used in competition vehicles

Racing Industry in Canada

There are a variety of different racing activities in Canada involving various vehicles such as autos, motorcycles, snowmobiles and boats. Associations representing the racing industry are varied and represent racing at many levels - regional, provincial, national and international. Auto racing events include such vehicles as stock cars, dragsters, go-cart, Indy and Formula One and take place on various types of racetracks and road courses. Stock car and go-cart races take place on oval tracks or road courses, of varying length and surface type with a varying number of cars participating. Road courses typically are used for big event races such as the Molson Indy in Montreal and Toronto. Drag races take place on drag strips which are straight line tracks, usually a quarter mile in length, and with varying width and surface type.

The type of fuel used at various racing events is normally dictated by the rules of the sponsoring race association. Most race associations specify the fuel composition and compliance requirements for their various race classes in their rule books. All types of racing (drag, stock, road, motorcycle, snowmobile) have some leaded gasoline use. Road races such as the Indy and Formula One do not use leaded gasoline (Indy cars run on ethanol, while Formula One cars run on gasoline). Examples of associations that permit leaded gasoline use are National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA), Sports Car Club of America, and some motorcycle, boat and snowmobile associations.

Participation in racing events can vary. Large scale competitions that involve national or international racing association, such as the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and International Hot Rod Association (IHRA), can draw in international competitors. Smaller scale, local competitions may have only regional involvement and if the track is located near the U.S. border, U.S. drivers may participate.

The number of Canadian racing facilities and tracks has remained relatively constant in Canada.1 According to the National Speedway Directory's - Speedways Online,2 there are 116 oval track facilities and 42 drag strips distributed throughout Canada.

It is estimated that in 2001, racing events in Canada generated close to $200 million in direct revenues and around 900 full-time equivalent jobs. In addition, the racing industry attracted approximately $600 million in direct expenditures by non-local people to areas with racing facilities and events, including more than $90 million from non-Canadian visitors. Total spending generated by the racing industry in Canada is estimated at $1.15 billion per year.3

1 Personal correspondence with Allan E. Brown, editor and publisher of Speedways Online


3 Economic Impacts of Eliminating the Exemption for Lead in Racing Fuels, ARC Applied Research Consultants, July 2002

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