The club membership model has already proven successful at Area 27. No one person has had to shoulder the financial burden of the development of this circuit. With 205 current members, the capital costs have been fully funded by the membership. There has been no need to go to financial institutions for assistance.
The Okanagan Lake and River – surrounded by mountains and foothills – is incredibly scenic! As Area 27 contemplates racing events they have to be good neighbours. During the summer months the vacation accommodations are already at capacity. Jeannette points out that while adding to the local economy is important, the membership numbers will not cause a burden that will challenge the community. In contrast, a race event that may draw in huge numbers would need to be planned very carefully. Perhaps in the off season when the beaches are less crowded? The Okanagan Valley is constantly developing and who knows what may be seen in the future. Likewise, Area 27 will be further developed with a clubhouse, wet/dry skid pad, karting track, and track side condos.
The Okanagan Valley is a fantastic destination spot already and Area 27 certainly expands the interest in this location. The average annual rainfall in Oliver, BC is about 11 inches. Compare that to about 6 inches annually in Buttonwillow, CA and about 5 inches at Spring Mountain, Nevada. CTMP (Mosport) in Ontario gets about 30 inches annually and Road Atlanta is just shy of 50 inches annually. The semi-arid climate of hot, dry summers absolutely makes Oliver, BC a positive place to plan your track experiences.
The needs of the membership come first. That is the basis of this club circuit. There are still a few memberships available at $35 000 Canadian or about $26 000 U.S., with the regular membership initiation fees at $45 000 Canadian. At today's exchange rate that's about $33 500 American. There are $4 000 annual membership dues ($3 000 until the clubhouse is built). This includes all immediate family members (including members between the ages of 16 to 27), 15 or more full circuit track days per month, and Karting membership will be available for family members age 8 and up. Obviously, track membership is not for everyone just like not everyone has a golf club membership or a ski club membership. If, however, you are in the financial position to take advantage of an Area 27 membership then you will not be disappointed.
Usually here on MotoIQ we read about an individual's passion to develop their car. This time, the article is about Bill Drossos' passion to build a brand new road course. Combined with other talented individuals, Bill has brought his vision to reality. Without question, his determination, persistance, and flexibility have combined to make this track a reality. What was once a poorly performing corn field is now Area 27, an FIA recognized road course and the newest track in North America.
Thanks to Bill Drossos, Jeannette Montgomery, Felicity Johnson, and Mitch Hudson.