April 19, 2017 6:19 pm
Updated: April 19, 2017 9:11 pm

Economic spinoffs since opening of exclusive south Okanagan race track

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Gear heads with the need for speed tested out the blacktop at the newly minted Area 27 motorsport track near Oliver today.

“I never expected in my life to have something in my backyard that is this amazing,” said driving school student Jerod Hudson.

Students dished out a few thousand dollars to practice on the five kilometre grand prix style race track for 2.5 days.

It was designed by Canadian racing legend Jacques Villeneuve.

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READ MORE:  Motorsport racetrack gets green light

The private club caters to wealthy international clients as well as local motorsport enthusiasts.

Co-founder Bill Drossos said it’s all about the passion for the sport not necessarily the price-tag of the vehicle.

“On the car side you may see a $2,500 Honda all the way to a $2.5 million McLaren and those guys will be sitting across from each other at the lunch table having a great conversation and a great time together,” he said.

The cost of a lifetime membership is $45,000 plus yearly membership dues of $3,000 to $4,000.

READ MORE: Okanagan is home to the country’s newest race car track

Hundreds of amateur drivers from all over the world have already signed up and the economic spinoffs for the small town are becoming palpable.

“We calculate in the neighbourhood of $600,000 worth of hotel rooms,” said Drossos.

Drossos also noted spending at nearby restaurants and wineries and said real estate sales are on the rise with members buying up property.

“The track is putting the south Okanagan on the map,” Drossos said.

There’s also an application before town council from two members who want to build a hanger at the local airport to house their private planes and sports cars.

“This is only a good thing for the south Okanagan. It’s going to bring a lot of economic activity,” said Oliver mayor Ron Hovanes.

The economic impact doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.

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