A non-profit group is working to develop a new motorsports park aimed at filling the void to be left when Westshore Speedway closes at the end of next season.
The Vancouver Island Safe Speed Association was formed by long-time members of the region’s motorsports community, with the purpose of taking the lead in ensuring motorsports will always have a home on the Island.
“We believe in the race track. The race track is something that doesn’t just bring racers together, it brings families together. It’s a place for young people to learn how to work on cars, work with crews, things like that,” association president Steve Copp said. “The social side of it is huge … then there is the spin-off in the community with parts, and paint and cars.”
In the current 82-acre concept, the group envisions their facility featuring an oval track for stock car racing and a road course intertwined with the oval to accommodate other racing styles.
Plans also call for a spectator grandstand, some 2,400 parking spaces and a campground for RVs. A space would be earmarked for an 1/8-mile drag strip to be built at a later date.
But before talks of what the facility would actually look like get serious, the group needs to find a location and adapt the plan to suit the property.
The group hopes to create a new facility on the West Shore, Copp said, and several potential sites are being looked at. The City of Langford has been very helpful so far, he added, earmarking $2.5 million for any non-profit organization which shows it is able to construct and operate a motorsports park for the long term.
That funding came from Strand Properties Corp. and Bastion Development Corp. – the current owners of the Westshore Speedway, known for decades as Western Speedway – and is the result of negotiations with the city over their planned development of a business park and high-end homes for the site.
“The speedway is kind of iconic in Langford … I’m getting a lot of people asking what is going to happen after it shuts down. They want another one,” Langford Mayor Stew Young said. “We are going to support a non-profit group to get in there, come up with some ideas and maybe expand the motorsport experience … it really has to be driven by the racing community. If they want it, we will support it.”
As for how long racers will have to go without a facility once the track closes next fall, Copp said his hope is they will only miss out on one season.
The goal is to have a location settled and a deal struck to purchase it by next fall, with the new track open in time for the 2023 season start that spring, but Copp said it is too early to make any promises.