Back to the future Mexico Grand Prix- Toronto to Mexico City story

The Toronto Globe and Mail


A girlfriend of mine would listen to all my wild ideas,I would tell her about racing on the streets of Toronto, films, music concerts; then one day she asked me to come meet the people who ran her family company they made beer, and she walked me into the office of the late CEO Sid Oland of John Labatt’s. Sid had a passion for Formula 1 so he and I decided we should be slapping the name Labatt’s all over Formula 1,it would be fun and the parties would be unreal, the rest is now history.

In the 80’s I made some serious money it was relatively easy, considering that I worked with the richest man in the world in those days Adnan Khashoggi, a (YouTube I uploaded in case you want to know more how rich) Saudi businessman and arms merchant. As the richest guy in the world he knew everyone also rich, so I ended up meeting a lot of very wealthy people and ended up looking after some of their investments. Khashoggi introduced me to a race car driver John Graham a Canadian, who wanted to race on the streets of Toronto. None of the big corporations would sponsor this young Canadian. I have always had as my focus support the talent of Canada, so I sponsored John, and the team so he could race.

Later when I ended up meeting Sid Oland of John Labatt he actually got it when I told him marketing in racing really works. I told him “Sid, I spent $100,000 total to sponsor John the race car, had a great party at King Edward and took out a full-page add in the Toronto Globe and Mail (above); imagine what we could do with a Formula 1 Team and few drivers?”. I had one more thing going for me I knew the late John Craig Eaton, who inherited the T. Eaton Company and was on the board of Labatt. Eaton wanted to bring Formula 1 to Canada, loved racing, and liked calling me “Timothy” as that was the name of his father Timothy Eaton founder of the Canadian department store. So began a long relationship with the Williams Racing Team and some of the greatest Formula 1 World Champions.

In 1992, John Graham wanted me to come to Mexico City for the Grand Prix he wanted me to meet Giancarlo Minardi (picture of Giancarlo and myself in the garage was lost in Northridge quake when my house tumbled down); However something very magical and amazing happened in Mexico City at Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguez, naturally our Labatt sponsored drivers were on the podium, winning one and two for the Williams Team, Nigel Mansell, and Riccardo Patrese. While that was great something really amazing was about to happen, those moments in life that change the course of your future. A team in the garage next to Minardi came third called Benetton, and their driver won his first Formula 1 race ever in Mexico City he was German Michael Schumacher. A man walking down was in emotional tears of joy and I went up and greeted him kissing him Italian style offering my congratulations to Luciano Benetton, with whom I would later try to create ventures between Labatt and Benetton.

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My last time to the circuit in Mexico City was with race car driver Ryan Hunter-Reay whom I had sponsored with my Merlins drink company. Returning to Mexico City is emotional for me as I think of that driver I first met at the track and his current condition Michael Schumacher, and I recall the great times with Ryan Hunter-Reay who when I met him last I told him he was doing a great job in Indy Car and who said, “Would not have been possible without your help”.

Walking around the paddock in Mexico City,the other day I would run into the current richest guy in the world Carlos Slim, he was really proud of the fact that the Mexican Grand Prix was back, the blog story I am sharing above I shared with him he smiled when I told him “Mexico City is just magic for me, just magic”. Will the course of my life yet take another turn? It seems it’s going in that direction.

Carlos Slim photo by @SuttonImages


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Why David Bowie film is in Melbourne at the Australian Grand Prix 2015 ?

Ryan Jimmy khan Champi
Jimmy Vasser, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Timothy Hollywood Khan, Sabrina Champi

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.

William Shakespeare

The David Bowie Is exhibit currently is in Paris and it will move to Melbourne in July of 2015 to the Australian Center of Moving Images .  Melbourne is also the only city on the exhibits calendar that also hosts Formula 1 racing.

The film is about the fans of David Bowie and their creativity, and how they may have been touched by the work of David Bowie, and the set of the David Bowie Is Around The World film is the world.  Prior to the exhibit’s arrival how could I not jump on the opportunity to capture the city of Melbourne transform during the Grand Prix after all few of the drivers rock guitars such as Lewis Hamilton, and Sebastian Vettel.  Naturally I will return in during the David Bowie exhibit to film and ask the those attending how they felt why they are fans of Bowie and seek out new talent in Australia.  There is also history I have with Australia, and it is of a very sweet moment and that was during the time I sponsored the racing team of Stefan Johansson.


It was in Gold Coast, Queenland that I arrived with the American Spirit Racing team it’s driver’s Jimmy Vasser and Ryan Hunter-Reay, for some racing.  It was the last year of the calendar and we had not won any races and I don’t think we even made the podium.  We all just came to have fun.  I had few new friends I had met they all came to stand in the pits with me to watch the race,  on a bright sunny day, till a freak of nature or maybe it just happens in Australia a hail storm hit the race midway about ten race cars had been wipped off the street track.  My friends were watching the big screen television across the pits and then through the maze of scattered and shattered cars came Ryan and Jimmy.  There was no Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, just plain old text and mobile phones and my friend was on it.

As you will see this weekend a race is not over till it’s over. We all held our breath to see if we could make it to the end of the race. Yes, there were tense moments, with fueling the car, the radio the yellow flag and soon it was all over and we crossed the checkered flag. Winning one and two is like winning an Oscar, it is euphoric. after the winning there are the parties and yes the people of Australia I will tell you they know how to party, their hospitality was awesome. It was just pure magic, so how could I not combine my two favorite passions and through this will most likely discover Formula 1 fans who have a passion for David Bowie as well. Then again that’s what the movie is all about. The discovery of talent from all walks of like.

I am in the pit’s with Timothy and his team and his cars are now running one and two I have to go this is so exciting.


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David Bowie film discovers Sarah Fisher team owner Fisher Hartman Racing

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I love IndyCars I used to sponsor the team of former Formula 1 Ferrari driver Stefan Johansson with drivers Jimmy Vasser and Ryan Hunter-Reay who is currently winning a lot of races and I was there for his first win ever in an IndyCar in Queensland, Australia. The are all super nice people with a lot of talent and a lot of fun.

I have followed Sarah Fisher the Commercial Point, Ohio native who first came into the public eye at 19 when she became the youngest woman to qualify for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” – the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. So yes to fly to meet her in my hometown at the Honda Indy with another Sarah Fisher, singer, songwriter, and actress from the television show Degrassi, what a bonus that is, two women who rock.

David Bowie when he starts talking to you about travel, Japan, China, music , books, or films has a steely focus. Sarah also has these attributes of Bowie and her steely focus, quickly paid dividends. Fisher became the first woman to win a pole position for a major open-wheel race when she qualified fastest for the 2002 Belterra Casino Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Her lightning-quick lap of 221.390 mph remains the fastest lap on record at that track.

Sarah Fisher Racing in 2008. The team scored its first victory in October 2011 with driver Ed Carpenter, and Sarah became the first female team owner to win a race in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

2011 was a year of milestones off-track for Fisher as well. With her husband Andy by her side, she gave birth to daughter Zoey on September 13, 2011. Zoey was not quite three-weeks-old when her mom’s team won its first race and was in victory lane to celebrate.

In 2012 Fisher’s race team, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, is competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series with rookie driver Josef Newgarden.

So here we go to Honda Indy Toronto upon landing to visit with Sarah Fisher the women who rocks IndyCar. IMG_0038

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Dario Franchitti The Scot Wins Pole At Honda Indy Round 1

Dario ScotterDario Franchitt fresh off his first podium finish of the year, carried that momentum into Toronto with a pole-winning run for the first of two races at Exhibition Place.
The four-time IndyCar Series champion was flawless in three rounds of Friday qualifying to coast to the top starting spot at Toronto, 1.75-mile street track where Franchitti has three career victories. It’s his fifth pole at Toronto and third on the season.
But his Target Chip Ganassi Racing team had to hustle all afternoon to repair damage to his No. 10 Honda incurred during a crashed in morning practice.
”I made it difficult this morning – I made a mistake in turn five there, took the right side off the car,” he said. ”The guys had to work and repair the car. I was able to keep finding a little bit every lap. Felt really good about that.”
Franchitti heads into this weekend’s races – IndyCar will run both Saturday and Sunday – ranked a disappointing 11th in the IndyCar standings. He’s not won a race since last year’s Indianapolis 500, and his third-place finish Sunday at Pocono was his first podium of the year.
He’s not written off his season, though.
”I’ve never looked at it that way. Whether I was first, or at one point this year I was last in the championship, so never say never,” Franchitti said. ”Until it’s mathematically impossible, you just keep fighting every week. We’ve put ourselves in a bit of a hole, but we’ll see if we can dig our way out.”
Sebastien Bourdais was second in his first appearance in the Fast Six this year. His previous best qualifying effort was seventh, and this is his first front row start since joining Dragon Racing before the 2012 season.
The 2004 winner at Toronto, Bourdais has had a miserable season and has yet to finish a race higher than 11th. He said Dragon recently discovered a way to address the understeer on his car and it showed Friday.
”We were definitely starting to wonder if we could turn the boat around a little bit,” he said. ”Definitely feels like this weekend we did. Finally I can feel like I’m doing something behind the wheel rather than going along for the ride.
”When you’ve been deep in the hole, finally you seem to be able to see some light, it feels really good. Pretty excited for the boys. It’s been a lot of work, just like everybody else, but when you don’t have the results, it’s twice as hard.”
Will Power barely advanced out of the first two rounds of qualifying and wound up third for Saturday’s 85-lap race.
Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan was fourth and was followed by James Jakes, whose previous best start at Toronto was 23rd, was fifth and followed by last week’s winner Scott Dixon.
Toronto native James Hinchcliffe failed to advance out of the first round, and Andretti Autosport teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti didn’t make it out of the second round. E.J. Viso also failed to advance out of the first round, marking the first race through 11 events this year an Andretti driver didn’t make it to the Fast Six.
Both Hunter-Reay and Andretti were plagued by Takuma Sato bringing the second session to an early end by crashing into a tire barrier.
Sato, coincidentally, ran into Hunter-Reay on Sunday on pit road – ending both drivers’ race.
”It’s frustrating,” Hunter-Reay said. ”I’d like to thank Sato forIMG_6660 knocking us out of the session again.”
Hunter-Reay is also driving with an injured hand suffered in the Pocono accident.
”It’s a concern, for sure. We don’t have any power steering at all in these cars, and when you get into an issue where you touch a wall or get in to it with another car, the wheel will whip around, and a lot of guys are hurting their thumbs, tearing ligaments and stuff like that,” he said. ”Certainly not a fun situation and not fun driving with it here at Toronto.”
Saturday will mark the debut of standing starts for IndyCar, which has been met with mixed reaction from the drivers. Many of the veterans haven’t done a standing start in 15 or more years, while some of the younger drivers have more experience in other series. IndyCar will not use standing starts for Sunday’s race.
”It’s been since 1993 that I have done a standing start. Right now, I’ll say I’m not a big fan,” said Kanaan. ”IndyCar for me, it’s always been about rolling starts. We’re talking about tradition. Maybe tomorrow I’ll end up at the end of the race saying I love it.”
Franchitti’s last standing start was British Formula 3 in 1994, and once at the Gold Coast 600 in Australia when he wrecked with teammate Scott Dixon. Power was also involved in the accident that began when Jacques Villeneuve spun.
”Will was there, because we all crashed into each other the first corner,” Franchitti said. ”Jacques spun. Next thing I see Will’s car with no wheels on it parked across the track.
I stick the thing in reverse, hand-drive the car, proceed to reverse into the front bumper of him. I look in the mirror and see Dixon shaking his head. Hopefully tomorrow’s standing start goes a bit smoother than that.”

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