---Local company launches top-quality motorsport chassis
A local heavy manufacturing company is looking to thrust itself towards the pinnacle of the motorsport industry with a unique new product. Recently striking a three-year exclusive licensing deal with Mirabel’s ICAR Complex, Vaillant Autosports will be the official supplier of vehicle frames from the series’ oval and road circuit races with its top-of-the-line Sportsman chassis. According to a press release issued by Vaillant Autosports on October 21, the company is building an innovative hybrid chassis model also intended for the ICAR Superseries’ events that will first hit the track starting in the spring of 2021.
Obsessed with motor-racing since he was a kid, Vaillant Autosports President Nicolas Vaillant emphasized that the new partnership means a childhood dream coming true, and a passion project turning into a real business. Acquiring exclusive rights to provide its Sportsman frames and associated race car parts to all ICAR Superseries’ contestants for Quebec and Ontario events, Vaillant expects his brand to attract considerable exposure from the deal that could open more opportunities in the future. The deal also means that Vaillant Autosports will be collaborating with ICAR on a number of other levels, including making its schedules, establishing regulations, and preparing programming, Vaillant said.
Vaillant Autosports is also collaborating with ICAR to create a new modified racing series for 2022, and is close to launching a development program intended to introduce young karting enthusiasts to high level stock car racing. “We want to make it accessible for everyone to have these experiences,” Vaillant said.
As a branch of Gatineau-based company Les Industries CD, Vaillant Autosports operates under Groupe Vaillant and mainly specializes in manufacturing, distributing and repairing hydraulic and pneumatic equipment with automated machinery. “We build cars,” Vaillant said. “We don’t just make the frames. We make all the parts that go with it.”
Boasting an impressive racing résumé of his own, Vaillant said he was forced to end his competitive career earlier than he wished in his mid-thirties as his entrepreneurial career got too busy. But, he always wanted to stay involved with the sport he loved in some capacity, realizing in the last couple of years that he could use one of his existing businesses to marry his two passions together.
Operating inside a 23,000 square-foot facility located on boulevard Saint-René in Gatineau, Vaillant said Les Industries CD has around 30 employees from different fields of expertise and that it mostly makes products using state-of-the-art automated machinery to ensure the highest level of precision, while minimizing human errors. Noting that he plans on opening another facility dedicated solely to the new project, Vaillant said the frames have received more demand than initially expected. “There’s too much stuff coming in and we’re lacking space,” Vaillant said. “It’s moving faster than I thought.”
When he initially founded Les Industries CD, Vaillant said he envisioned providing a place where Canadian racers could access high-performance equipment without having to cross international borders. Starting the project around a year and a half ago, Vaillant said he was originally unaware of the project’s potential significance and overall direction. But he’s been determined to prove that a relatively small company from Gatineau could provide racing products as good as, if not better than, well-reputed companies south of the border. “There’s no big company from Quebec or Canada that does this,” he said. “There’s guys doing stuff in their garage with a couple of their buddies. But an actual shop for it, we don’t have it here.”
With all of its products manufactured locally, Vaillant explained that the Sportsman chassis is truly unique because of its hybrid nature. Noting that it can be adjusted to be used on different types of race tracks in less than two hours, while frames are typically designed for a single purpose, he stated that the Sportsman chassis will help people save time and money. “With the same vehicle, by changing a couple of settings, you’ll be able, within an hour-and-a-half, to switch your set up from an oval circuit to a road circuit, or vice versa,” he said. “With other ones, you can do it, but you’ll spend about three days messing with it. Ours will already be made. My goal is that you can go anywhere and race legally,” he added.
Striving to combine the best possible quality and relative affordability, Vaillant stressed that the most important aspect of manufacturing is ensuring the safety of its users. “We’re not cutting corners here,” he said. “I’m either doing this well, or I’m not doing it at all.” On top of providing the most easily accessible high quality racing gear in the province, he said another positive aspect about the project is how many local jobs it creates – adding that Vaillant Autosports has received a lot of job applications since launching the project. Having commenced manufacturing shortly after making the deal in late October, Vaillant said the new frames should be ready for testing very soon, and should hit the track in the spring of 2021. “I like when things are done well, so I needed to ensure we had a done deal [before manufacturing],” he said, noting that he’s invested a lot of money in the project.
Delighted with progress so far, Vaillant said his goal is for Vaillant Autosports to become the main race car part provider for all race tracks in the province, before expanding nationally and perhaps internationally. The company is notably planning on meeting with a number of American racing schools and entities, including NASCAR, and the Skip Barber Racing School in Florida to expand Vaillant Autosports’ market. Promoting the sport to local youngsters to develop more racers, Vaillant Autosports has appointed Aylmer-native prodigy Marie-Soleil Labelle as its new spokesperson and headliner of its development program for promising young drivers.
Racing with the Gilles-Villeneuve Museum racing team as the youngest rookie in Nissan Micra Cup Series history last year, Labelle will debut training with the new development program in 2021. For more information about Vaillant Autosports and its new products, people are invited to contact the company via e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org. Its website - https://www.vaillant-autosports.com/ - will be up soon.
Established in Gatineau since 2002, Groupe Vaillant includes several different companies based in the region, including Vaillant Excavation, Transport Leblanc, and Les Industries CD, and has 140 employees collectively.