VICTORIA -- After COVID-19 limited events to one race in the 2020 season, staff at Langford’s Westshore Speedway are hopeful that racecars will again rumble at the iconic track.

Staff have been working with officials from Island Health to develop COVID-19 protocols that would allow races in the 2021 season. Both groups acknowledge that because auto racing during the pandemic presents unique challenges, a specific safety plan must be developed for the track.

“We’ve had them out for a site visit, we’ve verbally gone over a lot of things we can implement to make it a safe environment for the racer in the pit area,” said Westshore Speedway general manager Daryl Crocker. “Putting the documents in place has started so it’s just a matter of time before we can come to an agreement where we can keep everyone safe.”

When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, racing at the track was limited to one race without spectators. Crocker says the lack of racing was hard on the drivers and on the operation’s bottom line.

“It was devastating – it’s really the only word,” Crocker said. “We had gone through all the work and laid out all the money to get ready for the season and then it shut us down.”.

Crocker says the race community on Vancouver Island is strong and drivers are anxious to get rubber on the pavement. “It’s critical that we pull off this season for the racing community,” he said.

The speedway’s first priority will be hosting driver-only events without spectators.

“We need to get these cars on the track so people that have these racecars can use them,” said Crocker. “Guys and gals want to get their racecars on the track so we’ll get them on the track and then when we’re allowed we’ll get fans in the stands.”

Crocker says he expects an agreement with Island Health on a COVID-19 safety plan to be in place in the coming weeks. Once the plan is approved and implemented, weekly driver-only races could begin as soon a late May.