From full-day proactive programs for newer drivers in their own vehicles to unforgettable sessions of high-performance driving, the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit offers options for all drivers.
But that’s not all. With features like the Paddock Lounge and a unique indoor facility perfect for hosting corporate, social and non-profit events, there’s lots more going on at one of Vancouver Island’s premier attractions.
“One of the biggest misconceptions is that we’re not open to the public. Yes, we have memberships, but we have many opportunities for the public to get involved at the circuit,” says general manager Paul Rossmo.
This year-round vehicle training and testing venue is a unique experience for both recreational and serious drivers of regular and high-performance vehicles.
The circuit also welcomes high school programs and local first responders for training.
“If you can learn to drive our course, you can drive safely anywhere in the world,” Rossmo says. “The circuit is not a racetrack; racing is not permitted. As a test facility for vehicles and drivers, our focus is on driving dynamics and performance driving. We coach people to become better drivers by offering professional support that increases confidence. We promote personal safety on and off the road by helping drivers establish good driving habits.”
A draw for tourists
Part of a network that also includes Villa Eyrie Resort and Lake Cowichan Wilderness Fishing Lodge, the circuit is a destination attraction contributing to the Valley’s world-class visitor amenities, including wineries, agri-tourism, outdoor adventure and cultural experiences.
In addition to the numerous locals, many visitors from Calgary, Toronto and even farther afield make the circuit a must-do during their Vancouver Island vacation, appreciating the central location near ferries, airport and all the Island has to offer.
“I think we’ve had more than 40,000 people through the facility,” Rossmo says, noting the circuit is recognized by Tourism Cowichan and Tourism Victoria as an important contributor to the tourism sector. “We’re part of a global car culture and the facility is absolutely stunning. The building itself is beautiful and the circuit was designed by someone who designs some of the best in the world.”
Located along Highway 18, zoning allows for heavy industrial and commercial activities, and even at its busiest, the circuit operates well below Cowichan Valley Regional District sound guidelines, Rossmo says. All vehicles are measured for sound levels and aren’t allowed on the circuit if they exceed its stringent guidelines.
“We’re committed to continual improvements that respect our community and allow a world-class high-performance driving experience,” Rossmo says.
There are also significant community contributions, from events like Sunday’s Vancouver Island Motor Gathering fundraiser for the David Foster Foundation and Cowichan District Hospital Foundation, to the regular “Cars and Coffee” gathering of car enthusiasts sharing a love of cars in the front parking lot.
More than $150,000 was contributed to the local community in the last year alone, Rossmo says.
And, beyond more than 100 jobs created at the Motorsport Circuit and Villa Eyrie, the two also contribute $156,000 and $141,000 respectively in municipal taxes.
Future plans include an expanded circuit and second clubhouse facility, expected to create 254 construction jobs and $36.5 million in construction spending, most in the CVRD. Once complete, the expanded circuit is expected to provide 28, primarily local jobs, $4.5 million in direct operational spending and $400,000 in estimated tax revenue.