Located in the South Okanagan at the northern end of the Sonoran Desert – the only true desert in Canada, which stretches down into Mexico – Area 27 is found north of Osoyoos on 230 acres of land controlled by the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB), and it is the only one of its kind in North America. It boasts of a “highly technical 4.83km track, with 16 turns and over 350 feet of elevation change over each lap.”
Area 27 is the product of one man’s vision turned reality and begins with a young boy’s idol, Gilles Villeneuve. After watching Canadian motorsport legend Gilles Villeneuve win the Canadian Grand Prix in 1978, Bill Drossos knew he wanted to be a race car driver. At the time he was just eleven years old, and he had no idea how his dream would come to be. From that day forward, Drossos never missed a race that Villeneuve competed in.
After Gilles Villeneuve’s tragic death in 1982, Drossos was devastated by the passing of his hero, but he was still more determined than ever to pursue his dream of competing in motorsport.
As soon as Drossos finished high school he headed east to Spenard-David Racing School in Ontario, Canada – “one of the top schools for young drivers to learn the skills needed to compete on the international motorsport circuit.”
Despite a rough start on the track during his first few training days at the school, Drossos was invited back the following year for the F2000 championship school and to work as a race mechanic. In June 1987 while Drossos was hard at work on F2000 race car engines and refining his driving skills, Jacques Villeneuve arrived at the Spenard-David Racing School and the two created an instant friendship.
After a year spent working as the head engine builder at Spenard-David Racing School, Drossos moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where he spent the next four years competing in the Player’s GM Series until 1993 when he made the difficult decision to leave the pro circuit.
Fast forward 19 years – as Drossos drove home from coaching at a ski race, he noticed a section of vast undeveloped land in the Okanagan that could house the racetrack he had dreamt of his entire life. He later found out that the land was owned by the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB). He eventually met with Chief Clarence Louie who insisted Drossos look at a second land option for developing the track. “We took o on this 4×4 road, bumping along. I’m thinking ‘what am I doing out here?’” said Drossos. “When we crested a small rise and I saw a place that really was better. I went from thinking there wasn’t anywhere for us to build this dream to having a choice between two locations.”
Drossos spent the better part of 2012 assembling a team of professionals and founding members to fulfill a shared vision. “Area 27 was founded in 2013 by Bill Drossos, Jacques Villeneuve, Trevor Seibert, and David King. Founding members include Les Cool, Daryl Carter, Gord Lindsay, Robert Sinneave, Robbie Dickson, Paul Neider and Brett Knelson.”
Area 27 Motorsports Country Club had its grand opening in June 2017. With strong support from the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) and Chief Clarence Louie, the motorsport country club is the perfect addition to a thriving community. OIB has a beautiful resort area called Spirit Ridge, which includes a hotel and condo development, a golf course, a winery (Nk’Mip Cellars) and much more. According to OIB management, approximately 70 percent of the construction jobs for the development of Area 27 were filled by band members.
The track, featuring both long and short track structures, is in fact just Phase One of a multifaceted plan that includes four phases of development from on-site vehicle storage and member amenities, to additional infrastructure such as pit-garages, grandstands and condominium style suites.
Area 27 is sure to impress even the most avid motorsport enthusiasts with its driving academy with professional instructors and the opportunities to host corporate events.
For more information on Area 27, visit http://www.area27.ca.