Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit
“If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough”
— Mario Andretti
This statement stands true for most of us on our daily commutes — after all, can we ever drive as fast as we would like and truly put our cars and driving skills to the test? Traffic and the time we all spend in it makes our everyday driving experiences less than enjoyable. For everyday drivers, it’s nearly impossible to enjoy a drive around town, or out on the countryside, without having to constantly worry about our surroundings.
Today’s cars, be they luxury sports vehicles or standard sedans, are all tested and tried in track facilities around the world prior to being released to the consumer market. This is done so that the manufacturers can promote and advertise with confidence the quality and capabilities of the vehicles they produce. The question is: if all this time and effort is spent by the car makers so that we as drivers can enjoy their vehicles to the fullest, then why just use our vehicles for our daily commutes? Why not put our vehicles and our driving skills to the test? Of course, as we all know, this cannot be done on our streets or highways; in most cases we can hardly achieve the posted speed limits (thanks to traffic), and when we happen to drive on open roads they are usually straight and boring, and usually under surveillance by the authorities.
Imagine, a place where the driving and motorsport enthusiast can test the limits of his/her skills and the capabilities of his/her vehicle, with the only thing in mind being driving to the limit and having a great time doing it.
Well, places like this actually do exist — and this week we at Dolce were introduced to one of these amazing facilities: the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit. The circuit, which will open its doors in the summer of 2016, is the result of a great deal of work and dedication by the GAIN dealer group and its associates. The circuit is a state-of-the-art, members-only track facility that is tailored to suit all the needs of its members and was designed and built according to FIA standards. It’s a place for the motorsport fanatic to live their dreams and to let the inner child inside all of us out to play.
GAIN, Vancouver Island’s top luxury dealer group, is the proud firm behind this development. About three years ago, the GAIN dealer group had the idea to offer their clients a safe compound where they could experience their sports and performance vehicles as they were designed to do. In order to accomplish such an undertaking, and after consulting with several motorsport experts, GAIN teamed up with the top engineering and architectural firm in this field, Tilke GmbH of Germany. After all, Tilke is the firm responsible for bringing to life some of the most prestigious Formula One racing facilities around the world. Tilke was commissioned to come up with the design that would best suit the parcel of land that GAIN had purchased for this project.
Once the design was approved, GAIN hired SupErb construction, one of Vancouver Island’s foremost construction companies, to execute the design. The result is the Vancouver Island motorsport circuit.
The circuit is a country-club-type facility for the driving and motorsport aficionado, the first of its kind in Canada. It is located in beautiful Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley, a perfect setting for such an exclusive venue, surrounded by the natural beauty of the valley and blessed with great weather conditions — meaning the circuit will offer its members the opportunity to enjoy its facilities year-round.
The circuit features 19 turns in a 2.3-kilometre span with impressive changes in elevation that will challenge anyone from the novice to the most experienced driver on every single lap. It is outfitted with some of the most sophisticated timing and communication technology available. I had an excellent time making my way around the track in some of the cars that were available for us to test drive. My lap time, on the other hand, was not so impressive. I’m not afraid to admit it: after a few laps, I felt overwhelmed by all that the circuit represents. I felt as if my brain was processing too much information, all the work gone into the design and execution of this project had come alive and it was in front of my eyes — between that and navigating each thrilling turn of the course, it was an incredible experience.
In addition to the actual road track, the circuit facilities include an off-road course for product testing and training as well as a state-of-the-art clubhouse with a 180-degree view of the track, ready to attend to the needs of every member and their guests for a thoroughly enjoyable experience. You’ll also find West Coast–inspired cuisine in the restaurant, fully equipped conference rooms, in-house instructors, vehicle storage, locker rooms, garage facilities, a library which will feature a rare collection of automotive books and memorabilia (donated by none other than Rudi Koniczek of Rudi & Company), one of the world’s best antique car restorers and a Mercedes Benz specialist, and a showroom that can be used to host private events. All of these features and more make the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit the ideal place to celebrate a passion for motorsports and gradually improving your driving skills.
The circuit is both accessible and exclusive: it is a 20-minute helicopter flight from Vancouver and about a 40-minute drive from Victoria International Airport. To further enhance the experience, the circuit has partnered with the Villa Eyrie Resort, a 40-room, European-style boutique hotel which is a mere 25-minute drive from the track.
The Villa Eyrie is surrounded by some of the most beautiful natural scenery that Vancouver
Island has to offer, with breathtaking views, in a setting that can be compared to Lake Como in Italy and with a level of service that is second to none. The Villa Eyrie is the perfect place to stay and enjoy all that Victoria Island has to offer — from spending a day at the track to golfing, whale watching to fishing, biking to hiking, shopping to foraging. The Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit along with its hotel partner the Villa Eyrie Resort are in my books as one of Canada’s top destinations for purpose styled vacation. I would not be surprised if in the near future the Cowichan Valley gets renamed “A Driver’s Paradise.”