January 1st, 2006
Vermont SportsCar is pleased to announce it has signed a multi-year contract with Subaru of America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries, to manage the Subaru Rally Team USA program. Subaru Rally Team USA will be a dynamic factory effort to showcase the 2006 Subaru WRX in the Rally America National Championship. All team operations, including the preparation of the rally cars will be managed by Vermont SportsCar at its new facility in Colchester, Vermont.
“It is very gratifying for us to compete as the factory team for Subaru in the USA” explains Lance Smith, Founder and President of Vermont SportsCar. “We have been involved with factory teams in America in recent years but never at this level.” The team will run two 2006 Subaru WRX STI rally cars for team drivers Travis Pastrana and Ken Block in all nine rounds of the 2006 Rally America National Championship.
One of the team’s primary goals will be to help an American driver reach rallying’s highest level, the World Rally Championship. Selected to lead Subaru Rally Team USA is Travis Pastrana, a 22-year-old multi-sport phenom who has gained Worldwide fame as a Supercross and Motocross Champion as well as a multi-time X-Games Gold medalist at Freestyle Motocross. Pastrana began rallying in 2004 with Vermont SportsCar and finished an amazing 4th Overall at his first gravel rally. 2005 marked Pastrana’s first full season of rallying where he reached the podium several times and proved himself capable of challenging accomplished rally veterans.
“Pastrana is a perfect fit for us because not only does he clearly have the talent, which he proved in 2005, but he also has a huge dedicated worldwide fan base,” explains Smith. “Growing the awareness of rallying is a major objective for Subaru, and Pastrana will attract many new fans to the sport. I’m confident that he has what it takes to not only become the Rally America National Champion but also make an impact in the WRC one day.”
Joining Pastrana is Ken Block, the “2005 Rally America Rookie Of The Year”, whose day job is Co-Founder and President of DC Shoes. The 38 year old Block finished 3rd in the Group N Class and 4th Overall in the 2005 Rally America National Championship. “2005 was Ken’s first year rallying and he really was a huge surprise to everyone,” said Smith. “He drove at a consistent and conservative pace yet was at the top of the leader board at every rally.”
Subaru Rally Team USA will run both cars in the Open Class of the Rally America National Championship. “Although our team will compete in the Open Class, the cars will be prepared closer to the production-based Group N cars for now,” explains Smith. “We are not here to win by outspending and out-engineering the many very good privateer teams in the US, but we will have a very competitive car that is exciting to watch.”
In addition to running Subaru Rally Team USA Vermont SportsCar will continue to manage the Subaru Rally Support Program which offers privateer drivers significant prize money as well as a Subaru parts support truck at every Rally America National Championship event. New for 2006 is a $500 start fund for Subaru entrants in
Group N and PGT classes that will effectively cut entry fees by up to 50% for eligible competitors. Full details on the program have been posted to Vermont SportsCar’s website www.vtcar.com.
Vermont SportsCar wishes to thank our many team sponsors and supporters including Subaru of America, DC Shoes, Red Bull, Michelin, STI (Subaru Tecnica International), PIAA, SPT (Subaru Performance Tuning), Motul, Meguiars and Recaro.