Online exhibit shifts light on the Westwood racetrack

Online exhibit by Coquitlam Archives celebrates Westwood

It was a hilly piece of Crown land in north Coquitlam before the Sports Car Club of BC turned it into the country’s first purpose-built racetrack.

The Westwood Racing Circuit — named after Earle C. Westwood, then the province’s recreation and conservation minister, who helped to secure the track lease — saw 31 years of action.

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And it drew thousands of fans, car enthusiasts and top-notch drivers from around the world: Brothers Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve Sr., Keke Roseberg and Michael Andretti, to name a few — the latter recording the fastest lap at the track during his qualifying run for the 1983 Formula Atlantic series.

But by the late 1980s, racing ran out of gas and the track ran out of time. The province sold the track property and about 1,400 acres around it to Wesbild to develop for housing on what is now known as Westwood Plateau.

The last race, held Oct. 8, 1990, was clinched by brothers Ross and Gord Bentley.

Details of the racetrack’s history and photos are now part of the city of Coquitlam’s latest online exhibit that can be viewed at coquitlam.ca/westwood.

As part of its digital display, Coquitlam Archives also has several racing artefacts at its office at 1171 Pinetree Way (in the same building as the City Centre branch of Coquitlam Public Library).

Staff borrowed a racing suit, helmet, programs and racing banners — as well as a piece of the old Westwood track — to show until the end of the year.

To view the items, make an appointment by emailing archives@coquitlam.ca.

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