Subaru: “This year has been a success”


Credit: Dominik Wilde

Vermont Sports Car boss Lance Smith is happy with his Subaru team’s performance in 2017, despite them failing to win a main event.

Subaru Rally Team USA enjoyed a resurgence this season, with the new driver lineup of Chris Atkinson and Patrik Sandell combining to score five podiums for the team over the course of the year. After two years of struggles since ditching the hatchback Impreza for the new WRX STI, SRT USA have had a difficult time in Red Bull Global Rallycross, but 2017 has left Smith impressed.

“This year has been a very good success for us,” he told The Checkered Flag. “We’re consistently showing strong results. Okay, we haven’t got to the top spot of the podium, but the other cars are now within range and the most important thing is our cars are now [showing] consistent, solid results and we’re able to tune the chassis to the track, a big improvement for us.”

A big benefit for Subaru this year has been their driver lineup. Former World Rally Championship star Atkinson continued after making cameo appearances last season, while Sandell joined from Bryan Herta Rallysport, replacing long-time drivers Sverre Isachsen and Bucky Lasek,

“The previous drivers are excellent talent as well but the feedback we get from these drivers, we’re able to adapt to it, the engineers are able to work with them,” Smith said. “They both came from professional racing series before and allow us [a] different level of input.”

Looking towards 2018, Smith is hoping Subaru continue to make the huge strides they have this season, with a sustained championship challenge the ultimate aim.

“That’s our goal,” he said when asked if the team were hoping to make a title challenge in 2018. “We have amazing support from Subaru America, our off season started two months ago and we are pushing forward with the goal of getting to the top step that’s for sure.”

Smith also confirmed that Subaru’s driver lineup will remain the same next year, with a third car a possibility at some events.