The German Auto Import Network (GAIN), a luxury car dealer group based in Victoria, is promising to open “the most sophisticated racing track in Canada,” and it’s being built right now just outside of Lake Cowichan.
The Vancouver Island Motorsport Resort is set to open next spring off Highway 18. The first phase of the project will be comprised of 19 corners and elevation changes of over 25 metres, and will allow drivers to reach speeds up to 200 km/h. The track is being designed by German firm Tilke GmbH, who are creating a unique layout based on local terrain. “That’s the only way to do it properly,” GAIN spokesperson Peter Trzewik said. “Drivers aren’t looking for a copy of a track somewhere else, that comes with a lot of risk — a corner that works really well in Germany or Belgium might not work here in the Cowichan Valley’s topography.”
The Motorsport Resort will also include on-site storage and classic car restoration.
GAIN is looking to sell 300 memberships to the Vancouver Island Motorsport Resort by the time it opens and are putting a priority into local drivers. According to Trzewik, 50 to 70 memberships are reserved for residents of Vancouver Island, with similar numbers for those elsewhere in BC and in Alberta. He said that the track has also been gaining attention from drivers from the west coast of the US, Texas and Germany, who are interested in the local atmosphere.
Though only a limited number of people will be able to take advantage of the track, local tourist groups have been on board with the project, hoping that the luxury attraction will also bring more tourist capital to the area. The Motorsport Resort could also be a boon to nearby autoshops, as cars typically require a new set of tires after a weekend on the track.
“Driving is not an activity you can do for a long time,” Trzewik said. “There’s a lot for someone to do while they’re not on the track — golfing, fishing, eating — some of the members have never fished in the ocean before. We’re expecting there will be an economic spinoff.”
Tourism Cowichan and Tourism Vancouver Island were both part of the initial discussions.