With this view, who needs to own a condo?
Is this the prettiest racetrack in the world?
Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit caters to the professional driver in us all.
As country club racetracks pop up around the world, they seem to be in a game of one-upmanship for the best track layout, coolest facilities and the most breathtaking scenery. The new Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit, off the western coast of Canada, has now stepped squarely into the fray with its new, 1.42-mile, 19-turn track in one of the most beautiful locales in the world.
The completed track, opening mid-June, sits on 50 acres of land and includes 15,000 square feet of conference space with a pro shop, a full audio/video system, locker rooms, a clean garage, car storage, computerized caution lights, cameras and a control center for on-track activities, and classrooms for the instruction of members. The facility also includes a skid pad for dynamic driving and eventually an off-road course. Additionally, the track owns 225 acres of forest land that will eventually be filled with more miles of asphalt, for a total length of about 3 miles.
Track guests stay at Villa Eyrie Resort, a luxury hotel located 20 minutes away from the facility. Members get discounts with their drives. As opposed to places like Monticello Motor Club, VIMC won’t have private residences.
The new circuit was the brainchild of German Auto Import Network dealership group owners Peter Trzewik and Sylvester Chuang, who wanted a place manufacturers could use, but also a place where Canadians, Americans and the rest of world could arrive with their families, pick up their clean equipment—the track has laundry service—drive, and have it all ready again the next time they check in.
It’s been a $15 million endeavor, which seems relatively inexpensive. The planning stages started in November of 2014. By March track-maker Tilke was moving dirt, and V10-powered Audi R8s hit the track this past April for a dealer event.
The club is looking to fill 499 spots in total for members, about 50 of which have already been spoken for. The member’s price for a 25-year term is $36,920 plus annual dues of $3,696. That breaks down to just over $5,000 per year, which nets you 20 track days per month, with at least one weekend day per month, family access to the clubhouse, some guest driver passes and access to the Racelogic software as well as driving lessons from the house instructors. Car storage is extra, about $200 per month. By the time the whole facility is complete they’ll have room for hundreds.
There is one group that VIMC won’t cater to: weekend warrior racers. As of now, there won’t be any open track days or test-and-tunes for people who don’t have a membership.
‘Ze Germans are here.
GAIN tapped Tilke GmbH to design the track, and explained that the German company is basically the name brand in circuit design. Everything else is Brand X. Most notably, Tilke designed Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, but also designed tracks in Abu Dhabi, Mexico and Spain. In total, the company has 65 tracks under its belt, 19 of which are rated for Formula One.
The 1.4-mile Vancouver circuit might seem small and difficult to learn, but after a full day of exercises, we can say that neither is the case. The 50-acre plot of land cants toward the clubhouse with about 85 feet of elevation at the far side. This not only allows people inside to see the whole track, but hear it, too.
The front straight is about 1,500 feet, but it flows into uphill turns one and two without much need for brakes. The back straight is a little shorter, and then cuts into some twisty parts inside. There are five configurations, two of which can be used simultaneously. There is also an outside ring layout as well as a handful of shortcuts for emergency vehicles.
Runoff is always a big concern for these country club-style tracks, and Vancouver has a good amount in almost all directions. Most curves have 20-30 feet of asphalt and another 10 or so of gravel before an Armco-style fence blocked with about 35,000 used tires.
There are no repeated corners, and nothing from famous tracks you might recognize. Most of the turns are on-camber, but there are a few that slope away. The best is the blind right-hander after the back straight, which leads to a triple apex right that allows you to hold the wheel steady at about 60 degrees and just modulate with the throttle.
The VIMC is a five-hour flight from Toronto and fewer than three from Los Angeles. Anywhere in the Pacific Northwest is a short drive, followed by a quick ferry. It bills itself as “Canada’s first and only year-round motorsport facility,” and we can’t really argue. Did you know it only snows twice a year there? We didn’t.
Special to Autoweek.com
Published May 10, 2016
The writer was a guest of VIMC. Content was not subject to approval.
Originally posted in Autoweek.com