Article By: IM Italian Motors
SUMAS — Claudio Valiante has been running a successful karting business, Italian Motors, for over 30 years. The business in Vancouver, B.C., is one of the largest karting supply shops in North America.
But now he’s looking to do more.
“At this point in my career, I feel it is now time to give something back to the racing community,” Valiante said. “And the best way I know how is to build a world-class racetrack and create a multi-purpose facility for all to enjoy. The Sumas International Motorsports Academy (SIMA) will be that facility.” SIMA will be an outdoor facility, and the rental karts will be equipped with Honda go-kart engines, with their size ranging from 60cc to 125cc. The project, expected to be completed in spring 2010, will cost around $4 million. The site is 529 W. Front St., west of the Elenbaas Company feed mill.
“We feel that we are going to bring some new jobs, which are needed so much in Sumas, and we will also bring some money to the businesses in Sumas with the people that will be attending the races,” said Valiante, who immigrated to Canada from Italy in 1965 and earned a degree in Mechanical Congeniality.
A world-class track is defined by a world sanctioning body that dictates minimum length and minimum width of the racing surface, Valiante said. Also, a world-class track must have the proper amenities, such as proper washrooms, a scoring tower, a meeting room, restaurant and other particulars “to receive approval from the governing body,” Valiante said. “The multi-purpose is that we will be able to host go-kart races and offer memberships to enable people to practice at their convenience. At a later time, we will also be offering a summer camp for young drivers.”
The planned location for SIMA is already listed as the home of Italian Motors USA, the American division of Italian Motors. “It has been a dream of mine for a long time,” Valiante said. “I have worked at this for about 20 years. All my life, I have been involved in motor sports, so this is a perfect fit. Also, it will give me the opportunity to build things and to also spend time getting to know other families and their kids.”
A summer camp for young drivers, Valiante said, will be the second phase of the project. The camp will not be available at the opening of SIMA. The camp, however, will be open to applicants 7 to 15 years old, and Valiante expects the cost to be around $2,000 per camper.
“The environment will be low-key,” he said. “I would like to emphasize that this is a family sport with youngsters also. This is a family-oriented sport. Most of the training will take place in the summer when the kids are out of school. The vision is to provide some skills of teamwork and to teach them some craft in racing, the details of equipment, how to clean and prepare the go-karts, and some fitness work as well. We expect to have camps open to 50 to 60 campers.”
NOTE: Valiante is a part of the Italian Motors race team, which competes throughout North America.
The plan is for SIMA to offer memberships at several levels that will allow practice at the facilities at any time during operating hours. There will be the possibility of renting garage space to store equipment as well.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the Web site at www.simaracing.com.