TORONTO — The Honda Indy Toronto has been cancelled for the second year in a row because of COVID-19.
The City of Toronto announced Friday it is cancelling major in-person events through to Labour Day, ending hopes for the July 9-11 race.
The lone Canadian race on the IndyCar schedule joins the RBC Canadian Open golf tournament in Toronto and Canadian Grand Prix Formula One race in Montreal as major annual sporting events called off for the second year in a row.
The Toronto race has been an annual event running through the Exhibition grounds since 1986.
The event has not been on the schedule only twice since starting — last year and in 2008 following the reunification of Champ Car and the Indy Racing League.
Racing legend Bobby Rahal won the inaugural race in 1986, then called the Molson Indy.
It was called the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto when the Molson sponsorship ended in 2007 and then was renamed the Honda Indy upon its return in 2009.
Toronto's Paul Tracy is the lone Canadian to have won the race, taking the checkered flag in 1993 and 2003.
At the peak of its popularity, the Toronto event attracted more than 70,000 fans on race day in the early 2000s.
James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ont., and Dalton Kellett of Stouffville, Ont., are the current Canadian drivers on the IndyCar circuit.
“It’s definitely disappointing to miss driving for my hometown crowd again this year, but this decision was made to ensure the safety of our crews, the drivers, the fans and all of the amazing support teams and track workers who make these events possible," Kellett said in a statement.
"We’re going to focus on the other events this season, especially the Indy 500 at the end of the month, and hopefully 2022 will finally be my year to drive for the fans in Toronto.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2021.
The Canadian Press