The track rewards smooth, patient driving and is designed to test a drivers concentration and car control skills throughout the entire lap. This corner by corner description is aimed at accelerating the learning curve for drivers who are new to the track and will also give experienced drivers some insight to compare against their own observations.
Here are guides to help you get up to speed quickly and safely!
Beginner Driver’s Guide
Mechanically sound cars are required. No leaks or loose and failing parts permitted. Tires must have at least 4/32 tread wear. If you are unsure, ask your mechanic to inspect your vehicle. Video recording devices are permitted as long as they are securely fastened to the vehicle. Remove all loose items from inside the vehicle including floor mats and anything in the trunk. M2010 or SA 2010 Rated helmets are required. Ask your coach if you are unsure, track helmets are always available to rent.
In this guide, you will notice that we don’t talk about shifting at all in this description. When we take people out for the first time, we generally put the car in 4th gear and leave it there for the first few laps to remove one distraction from learning the track. At the end of the guide I list the gear changes I typically use in the Mustang GT and the Porsche 911 GT3, which should cover off most cars.
Porsche Driver’s Guide by Kees Nierop
“My first time around CMP was in an older pickup truck. I remember thinking “WOW! How do you know where you’re going?” Just about every corner is a blind turn and has something different to offer. This is a place you need to get to know before you start to really challenge it.
I think this is a place that really tests your patience. I always say that you don’t learn while you’re in “panic mode”, yet we all want to go fast quickly. CMP will reward you when you take the time to really figure out each blind turn and place the car in just the right position and then trust the amount steering input or brake or throttle, and then allowing the track to come to you. Do everything right and speed will present itself. Forcing speed early will get you into a truckload of trouble.
As you snake through all the turns you need to continue to take care of your tires, it is an easy place to burn rubber. I think I left a few black marks in a few corners already.
Every time I leave CMP, I feel I need to come back soon. After all those laps I am still not 100% happy with a few places (Big Rock, Temptation and T16 to T20). CMP is a challenge, a BIG challenge EVERY time.
You’ll notice in reading my corner comments that this track is big on brainpower. No time to rest. Use your head first, then use ALL the horsepower and handling you can get your hands on.”
– Kees Nierop
Mustang Driver’s Guide by Scott Maxwell
“Calabogie is not your typical modern race track that seem to generally lack any real character and within minutes can be more or less mastered. With its continuous elevation changes, blind apexes and mixture of fast, slow and medium speed corners, Calabogie offers plenty of challenges and absolutely no time to rest when searching for that perfect lap (yet to be accomplished by the way).
Mechanical grip is critical here, which makes it an excellent testing track, especially working with power down (rear traction) and quick transitional situations. In terms of driving, the first key to success at Calabogie is to be smooth. With 20 turns and with a generally low grip surface (especially when it is hot) throttle control and keeping your car moving forward is paramount. We all love to slide and pretend we are Ronnie Peterson (oops, showing my age there) but the more you hang it out the slower your lap time will be and the higher your tire bill…
I have been fortunate to drive everything from Showroom Stock (Mustang’s) to Daytona Prototypes (Riley, Lola) cars at Calabogie. Here is my take on the fast way around…”
– Scott Maxwell
Calabogie Coach and Road Racer with 1000’s of competitive laps here – James Bergeron
As an MSF Level 2 Instructor, Racer and CMP coach I’ve spent a lot of time in the right seat of cars at Calabogie Motorsports Park. I have met and instructed a large variety of personality types and skill levels from the excited teenage boy to the grandmother of three that just had to put “race car driver” on her bucket list.
Driving a car is a skill, we do not wake up one day and become a great driver. Even the best have worked tirelessly from a very young age to become what they are today.
With dedication and experience over the years I have accumulated a vast range of skills and techniques to improve both my own and my student’s driving abilities.
Below I’m providing the most comprehensive track guide to Calabogie Motorsports Park, put together by myself. This video is just the tip of the iceberg to a quick lap of CMP but a valuable asset to anyone trying to get faster, provided free from me to you!
Check out more driving tips at James'website, drivesideways.com
This world-class facility is home to the longest track in Canada, at 5.05 km in length, consisting of 20 turns, measuring 40 feet wide, and featuring a 2,000 ft long straightaway. Since opening in the fall of 2006, the Alan Wilson designed track has become the preferred destination for North American motorsports enthusiasts. The Calabogie track has been designed to provide a challenging, safe and charismatic venue for amateur and club level performance drivers.
The typical track user is the driver of a road going sports car or sports bike driving amongst small groups of similar performance vehicles in low intensity competitive or non-competitive conditions. Such drivers are typically part of a club group, often coordinated under the auspices of such clubs as the Porsche, BMW, Viper one make associations or as part of commercially operated Track Day groups or regional sports car clubs. Many users are also drawn to the Calabogie Motorsports facility as customers of high performance driving or riding schools.
The layout and design of the Calabogie Motorsports course was, from the outset, designed with these customer in mind, to provide them with the high-speed challenges that they would not be able to find on public roads or even other comparable closed driving courses, and to do so in the safest possible conditions to provide a level of enjoyment that would make them return to Calabogie Motorsports Park over and over again.
The Calabogie track provides the driver or rider with an exhilarating challenge and is extremely difficult to master. Consequently drivers/riders can expect to return over and over again if they want to truly master the course. At the same time we have designed the track to incorporate all appropriate safety measures required by ASN Canada, the sanctioning body under which the track operates.
Calabogie Motorsports Park has been recognized as one of the most aesthetically pleasing driving facilities in North America thanks to the proximity of its woodlands, its adherence to the natural topography of the site and the sheer drama of its course design. It is North America’s Premier Driving Experience. Above all, it is great fun to drive!
Supercar (West) track 2.20 km