Vermont SportsCar, a longtime partner for Subaru‘s rally operations in North America, is the second team to confirm its commitment to the Nitro Rallycross Class E for the 2022/23 season. Series founder Travis Pastrana will drive the #199 FC1-X, while Conner Martell is in the #21.
“This is a big step for our company and team, and shows we are serious about our commitment to the sport and the future,” commented VSC head Lance Smith. “We are proud to have been a seminal force in the rise of rallycross in the USA beginning over a decade ago, but this next step into the electric space, and where Nitro wants to go with it, makes us excited and more optimistic than ever about the future of the sport. This is spectacular racing and amazing entertainment for fans and drivers. All these ingredients make for a very compelling marketing opportunity for the automotive industry and sponsors. We think Nitro RX is perfectly suited to the EV space and vice-versa.”
Pastrana founded Nitro Rallycross in 2021, during which he won two rounds and the inaugural Supercar championship via tiebreaker. The 38-year-old has extensive rallying experience which includes championships in Rally America and the American Rally Association, while rallycross stints have come in Nitro RX’s spiritual predecessors Global Rallycross and Americas Rallycross.
Despite committing to Group E, he will continue driving in the Supercar class for Subaru Motorsports USA.
“I’ve been driving for VSC since my very first rally nearly twenty years ago,” said Pastrana. “I’m confident we will put forward an amazing effort and I’m excited to enter this next chapter with Lance, his team, and Conner. Conner is a great kid and an amazing young American talent.”
Martell works as VSC’s test driver but has also raced competitively. In 2018, he won the Americas Rallycross ARX2 championship with three victories, a year after placing fourth in the Global Rallycross Lites, while also finishing seventh in the FIA World Rallycross Championship‘s RX2 International Series. He did not make a full ARX2 title defence in 2019 after missing the opening round, but still won twice en route to a third-place points finish.
In 2021, Martell dabbled in both the World Rallycross RX2e class and Nitro RX Lites. He finished fifth and ninth in two RX2e starts, while scoring two podiums in NRX at Wild Horse Pass and the FIRM. Martell also expanded his racing résumé to open-wheel with starts in the F4 Western Championship.
The 24-year-old added, “I have been working with the VSC team for many years, and for me to finally get this opportunity and the full trust of the team is a dream come true. After I tested the FC1-X my first thought was, ‘Wow, the future of rallycross is going to be insane!’ I have never been in a car that is so fast and so controllable at the same time. It’s definitely going to be a big learning curve for the whole field because of all the power the car puts down, but it will be easy for the fans to love this.”
VSC is the third team to confirm entries in the newly formed Group E, an electric racing division. XITE Energy Racing has two cars, while Dreyer & Reinbold Racing is fielding a quartet in partnership with JC Raceteknik.