Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit is a self described “Disneyland” for motorsport enthusiasts; we couldn’t help ourselves and had to find out why.
Tucked away on a quiet stretch of road in a quiet part of Vancouver Island lay a road course worthy of a Grand Prix and you might not have even heard of it. It can provide five potential track configurations, a full skid pad, off-road course, full pit lane, pit garages with a 15000sq/ft paddock lounge over looking the track and everything required to make best use it all. The facility as a whole is modern, discreet, secure and certainly surpassed our initial expectations.
You arrive by way of a large gate and secure terminal where you can speak directly with staff who will direct you to check in and where vehicles can be parked. As the gates part you proceed into a large parking area where an architecturally inspired building with glass facades comes into view in the distance, it is clearly the desired destination. On first inspection it resembles a polished downtown office building garnishing a massive showroom back-dropped by a race track. Through the showroom glass brief sights of a Group Grand Touring Car-esque Porsche can be seen as we approach the reception area. We immediately feel we were in the right place.
After going through some essential safety considerations and signing a standard waiver we were directed further into the facility for a full safety briefing. This is where the experience may vary for different driving experiences requested by specific clients(as we were there under a member’s only function, our experience might vary from those coming out for another specific event, training, one off experience etc). Whether or not your are bringing your own vehicle, you will need to go through some basic driving training before you suit up and hit the track for you and everyone else’s safety. Many of us were starting to get excited knowing that everything was in place, it was time to really have some fun.
Boasting world class facilities that can accommodate you and your street going and/or track spec car, year round, is simply superb.
Within an hour of arrival 10-12 cars and nearly double the amount of drivers were prepped, checked, lined up in pit lane and ready to head out on the road course. Groups of 4-6 cars were led out onto the track by an instructor in seemingly brand new BMW M3 a head of a pack of privately owned BMWs. The Instructor M3 ran a few conservative laps ahead of the pack to show ideal race line and warm up the tires before setting off on a more spirited lap and exiting the track ahead of the green flag.
As the various cars wind around the final corner for the second time drivers now can see the green signaling the start of the heat. Engines rev high and pull hard as the cars slot into position on the short initial straight ahead of the START/FINISH line. The respective cars take their positions as they wind into the first long sweeping corner of the road course.
The sounds and sights of enthusiastic driving soon overcame the multi-hectare facility as the participants pushed their road going vehicles around the race course with increasing pace. After a good handful of laps the white flag was flown as the pack jockeyed towards the the finish line the final time of the heat. With the checkered flag flying and the thrill of the hunt and or chase still yet to fully set in, we cooled our heads and our cars on the lap before we were directed in.
As our group’s cars rolled into pit lane another group of cars was already being led out by instructor for their heat in the instructor M3. Their staff worked like clockwork, instructors offering immediate tips and feedback in the pits, race organization staff monitor the cars timing around the course and safety staff on the ground ensure everything rolled out smoothly, and it did. Throughout the day we ran multiple heats, ran some hot laps with the instructors, chatted with other instruction and safety staff to improve our race line and times throughout the day. We enjoyed exploring the pit garages to see several member owned formula 4 cars, a very unique Ferrari 308 GTS as well as the track ready fleet vehicles available to send around the track like the Subaru BRZs and WRXs to the Alfa Romeo 4Cs and Porsche Cayman Ss to name a few.
After exploring the facilities, experiencing the excellent service and savoring it all from the paddock lounge over looking the road course, I can certainly say that this is not my last experience with Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit. I would highly recommend this as a special treat for the driver in your life or simply someone who has everything else; this was something truly memorable. Whether you look to become an member or to book your own one off driving experience, Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit is the stop to make.