Vermont SportsCar is off to a fast start at it’s new facility in Milton — literally. After a few engine revs to ready the crowd, one of Vermont SportsCar’s signature Subaru cars tore down Gonyeau Road last Friday, through a blue ribbon and into the company’s next chapter.
Vermont SportsCar, in business since 1988, recently moved into a brand new, 75,000-square foot space, where it currently employs over fifty full-time staff. The company races around the world and has won numerous championships — winning 15 of the last 19 American Rally Championships, including the last nine years. It also specializes in the construction and preparation of rally cars, building both the cars and engines in-house.
The new facility boasts an impressive showroom and gift shop, with a walkway that offers a grand view of technicians working on the custom cars. The added space gives each department more room to maneuver, along with the ability to store the semi-trucks used to transport equipment for racing activities indoors, a useful feature come winter.
The extra space also gives Vermont SportsCar the room it needs to revisit projects as well as take on new ones. “There is a lot of stuff we don’t do right now because we don’t have room,” Vermont SportsCar vice president Chris Yandell told the Milton Indy in 2017. “This is opening up the opportunity to do more business, other revenue streams – building more racecars, selling more racecars.”
Rally car racing is a team sport that finds teams of drivers and co-drivers in modified production cars running against each other on existing roadways — typically a mapped out course with twists and turns. Co-drivers tell drivers where to turn and what might be coming up on the course. Events can last several days and cover hundreds of miles through all sorts of weather.
Gov. Phil Scott, well known for his racing prowess, toured the facility last Thursday morning. At one point, he hopped in the driver’s seat of a car on the showroom floor, gripping the steering wheel with a big smile on his face as news cameras swarmed. In a written statement to the Independent, Scott encouraged anyone with an interest in motor sports or “technology and craftmanship” to visit the facility.
“Vermont SportsCar is truly one of Vermont’s best kept secrets,” Scott said in a written statement to the Independent. “We’re very fortunate to have such an impressive facility right here in our backyard that competes and excels on the world stage of rally racing. What Lance Smith has created with his 50 employees, talented drivers and 21st century building rivals some of the most well-known NASCAR shops in Charlotte and around the country.”
Vermont SportsCar participated in 15 rally or rallycross events throughout the U.S. this year, and occasionally makes the trip across overseas, recently taking part in the prestigious Goodwood Festival of Speed in the United Kingdom. And the company’s show-car display program, in which the team shows off their cars at enthusiast events and auto shows, is involved in over 80 other events across the country.
The company had mulled the idea of moving to Milton for a decade. In 2007, owner Lance Smith purchased the two lots in Catamount Industrial Park, which were combined into one with the intention of constructing a new shop.
Smith, who was previously a co-driver before launching Vermont SportsCar, has long been an ambassador of the sport. In a press release, he said, “No matter what the project, we always aim to help rallying achieve the attention and respect it deserves. Rallying is our passion.”