It’s common to have golf courses boast their design credentials, leveraging pro athlete connections to lend an air of confidence – and credibility – to new developments. In many cases the design and engineering/construction teams have little if any overlap, with each speaking different languages and having limited knowledge of each other’s purpose. So when a professional race car driver, who happens to own one of Western Canada’s leading earthworks and infrastructure companies, gets an opportunity to design a motorsport track – good things happen.
Late in 2012, professional racer and president of Lake Excavating Trevor Seibert got a call from friend Bill Drossos about his vision for a motorsport club, and it piqued Trevor’s interest as a builder. “My dad began Lake Excavating in 1964,” says Trevor. “This is our 50th year. I started running the business in 1985, and bought it in 1996.” The construction company initially worked exclusively in Trevor’s hometown of Williams Lake on civic projects. It wasn’t until the late 1990s that Trevor took the operation to Alberta, expanding into mining, oil, and gas. “Now we do residential, commercial, and industrial projects.”
The Seibert family history goes beyond construction: three generations have been – and are – behind the wheel and on the track. “My dad raced in the late 60s,” says Trevor, and then laughs. “He took some time off, then started again when I began to race. Of course.” Now Trevor’s son Ryley is a professional driver in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series – just like his dad.
This combination of driver and president of a major construction company provides Trevor with unique insight into the mechanics of how a track design should feel, and what his team of engineers and drafts people need to do to achieve the desired outcome. In conversation, one gets the sense of a kid who’s dreamed of having a big sandbox to build the things he’s always wanted. “All of us drivers have dreams of owning our own track,” says Trevor. “But let’s be honest. How possible is that?” There’s a momentary pause. “I have about 100 pieces of construction equipment,” he says, grin evident in his tone. “And I just bought paving machinery.”
In having a heavy-hitter like Lake Excavating partner with Area 27 to design and building the track, it makes this dream-to-reality much closer. “We’re very well versed in the construction side of things and I’ve been racing for about 30 years,” explains Trevor. Through working with Jacques Villeneuve on this project, Trevor can be translator and engineer in one. “Jacques will explain things to me in terms of driving the track and I know what it means in engineering terms. It’s unique to any construction job I’ve worked on.”
stay tuned for part ii: from paper to simulator – how Jacques and Trevor get it done