Attending a static auto show is all well and good, but once you’ve done the rounds once, there’s little reason to stay any longer. The inaugural Drive Festival at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) in Bowmanville, Ont., gave automotive enthusiasts many exciting reasons to stick around all weekend long.

Organizers Adam Ruppel and Fred Cox spent a year travelling around the world to visit the most notable and prestigious automotive events, including the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England and Monterey Car Week in California. They learned from the best and brought the experience home to create their own automotive festival where cars can be observed and experienced driven at speed, the way they were built to be, instead of just parked and stationary.

Originally planned for 2020, the Festival was moved to 2021 due to pandemic restrictions. The event featured a show and shine, various exhibitors, a classic and custom motorcycle exhibit, car club displays, and ride-along opportunities on a high-speed run, an autocross, and an off-road course, giving attendees an intimate experience with cars many likely haven’t even seen (or heard) in person. Brampton Batman was also in attendance to take pictures with fans alongside his Michael Keaton-era Batmobile.

A definite highlight of the event was the Dream Car Speed Run that was held over the course of the weekend where new exotics, as well as classic and historically noteworthy racecars, put on a show doing what they were meant to do – go fast on a racetrack.

Purpose-built racing machines and sports cars from the likes of AMG, McLaren, Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Pagani were staged near Moss Corner before doing high-speed runs through turn three, two, and one before howling up the back straight, much to the enjoyment of the many spectators on hand. One particular session named Ford vs. Ferrari attempted to re-enact scenes from the film of the same name that chronicled the iconic battle between the two manufacturers at Le Mans in the mid-1960s with the help of a Ferrari Dino SP and Ford GT40s.

Even the vast parking areas were something to behold, as many attendees arrived in classic and exotic vehicles. Given the size and scope of the event, there was more to see and do than one could take in over the course of a single day. Here’s hoping it comes back for year two next summer. If it does, I’ll be planning to spend the entire weekend there.