Places to visit
Drivecenter Arena – more than just racing
Huge crowds, fantastic weather and victory for hometown driver Robert Dahlgren. The premiere of Midnattssolsloppet (the “Midnight Sun Race”) was exactly the success that Drivecenter Arena had hoped for, which has echoed far beyond Sweden’s borders. “With the course, we have an arena that can meet customers’ training, test, competition, and amusement needs. I’m convinced that interest will explode,” says Hans Westin.
Operations at the disused military airport in Fällfors started in 2008 and already at that time co-owner Bengt Astergren had a vision to create Sweden’s northernmost racetrack.
“But the competition part is not a lucrative business and we needed to create capital to be able to afford to build the course,” says Hans Westin, Site Manager and Training and Event Manager at Drivecenter Arena.
Over the years, they have offered test activities, Driver Certificate of Professional Competence and driving courses, and general driving, slippery conditions, and risk training. When Bengt Astergren died suddenly in February 2017, co-owner Jan Marklund bought the entire facility and decided to do everything possible to realize Bengt’s vision.
“Then everything went at lightning speed. Last year was incredibly hectic; all the focus was on Midnattssolsloppet, and we finished the preparations just in time. The night before the race we were still erecting flagpoles and clearing away building materials,” says Hans.
The race day offered sun, clear blue skies and 30 degrees, helping to entice nearly 17,000 spectators to come to Fällfors to watch the premiere race on Scandinavia’s longest speedway.
“We’ve received a very positive response to Midnattssolsloppet, and we’re pleased that we achieved our goal. Now the next phase begins, where we’ll make sure to fill the arena with as many people as we can. We’ll have our work cut out for us,” Hans says with a laugh.
An area of 361 hectares
The area already has a restaurant and spa, as well as cottages and rooms for rent. Now a hotel with 76 rooms has also opened its doors a stone’s throw from the speedway.
“We see that there’s a lot of demand for accommodation. At the competition last year there were no beds in Piteå and the hotels in Skellefteå also had high occupancy. We don’t want to compete with them, but for Midnattssolsloppet, we need accommodation in the area because we have 300 officials on-site for the event,” says Hans.
The 361-hectare area has wide, paved surfaces and large run-off areas that are used in test activities as well as for training and events.
“We believe that the testing business will grow a lot, especially in the case of heavy vehicles, because the area has everything you need, and our land ice works at least as well as lake ice.” Drivecenter Arena is also seeing increased interest from companies that train their staff in driving.
“They see slippery conditions training and risk training as part of work environment protection, and we’re going to try to expand that area more aggressively” says Hans.
The arena’s large glassed-in building provides good opportunities to arrange more conferences and events in the area.
“Last autumn, for example, we had a company party with performances and set tables for over 300 people,” says Hans. He continues:
“We’re mainly focused on the automotive industry, but we’ve had inquiries about other types of events, too. A rock festival, for example - which would be great fun. We’re not necessarily the ones who will organize it, but we have an arena to host it. I like crazy ideas, and anything’s possible when you put your mind to it.”
For current competition information: www.drivecenter.se External link.