Drive Fest in Bowmanville a dream car fantasy for race fans


Published September 15, 2021 at 11:28 am

The co-founder and festival director of last weekend’s Drive Fest at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Clarington called the event a big success and is excited about next year “when we have a whole year to market it.”

Planning any major event is difficult during a pandemic but Adam Ruppel said he was pleased with the numbers at the event at the north Bowmanville track, with 17,000 fans streaming in over the course of the weekend.

“People loved the concept,” he said. “Seeing their dream cars being driven at speed, people really loved it.”

Drive Fest was not your ordinary auto show. Sure, there were static displays of exotic and classic cars – some worth as much as $5 million – but there were also tracks where race cars would be driven – at speed – by professional drivers, as well as tracks where fans could get behind the wheel and take supercars out for a spin.

The autocross circuit for hot laps was a big hit, Ruppel added, as people were able to rent Lamborghinis and Ferraris for a ‘hot lap’ around the track for about $150.

“For a lot of people, that’s an affordable fantasy.”

Owners of some of the super-expensive exotic cars were also far more welcoming to fans than at other auto shows, he said. “You could get right up close, and some owners even let you sit in them. It was a great experience.”

And to ensure the safety of everyone at the event, Batman and his Batmobile was in attendance as a special guest at Drive Fest.

With a year to promote the 2022 event and some ‘assets’ to use in the form of video and photos from the weekend (and no COVID-19 to worry about, knock on wood), Ruppel is expecting big numbers next year.

“People loved it this year and next year is going to be even better.”

Photos by Colin Williamson


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