As readers of european car, you've most likely heard of the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association show (SEMA), which usually takes place the first week of November in Las Vegas. SEMA is huge and has been thriving since the mid-'80s, but years ago many exhibitors and professionals alike felt they needed more of a "trade" show rather than a "consumer" show, and to have it more focused on racing.
To capitalize on this demand, the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) show was born in 1988, and it was held in various parts in the Midwest and East Coast. In 2012, SEMA acquired PRI and, later that year, combined it with its own International Motorsports Industry (IMI) Show to create one racing industry show. For 2013, PRI returned to the motor racing capital of the U.S.—Indianapolis—and it's been there ever since. It's a must-see show if you like aftermarket high-performance and racing parts. Here's just a snippet of what we saw over the course of two days.
As you walk toward the convention center entrance, you're greeted with a variety of race car transport vehicles. Check out this stunning example by Show Hauler Luxury Motor Coaches.
There is room to stack up to two small vehicles or one regular sized one with a lot of storage.
Here's the interior of the same motor coach. Imagine getting to your race spots in this kind of style!
Inside the show, very recognizable wheels immediately greeted me. It's nice to see BBS sticking to its classic honeycomb look.
BBS wheels are always pleasing to the eye, and they've got fitments for nearly everything street or race!
Here's a 140mm anti-stall triple plate clutch for small race cars. The anti-stall feature allows for a tall First gear so it can be used in road racing, as opposed to a useless, wheel-spinning First gear.
If you're not interested in redoing the dash with a data logger, AiM sells this nifty GT350 (as well as the GT320, for its 320mm width) that can provide you all the data logging you need, along with several customizable buttons. It can also even be outfitted with optional paddle shifters.
If your significant other or team principal is keeping track of your lap times, you can have them do it in style and with precision using Tag Heuer's new line of Pocket Pro stopwatches. In case you didn't know, Tag sells a plethora of time-keeping devices for motorsport, including photo-finish cameras, mini as well as full-matrix LED displays, transponders, decoders, and more. Even more impressive, Tag has teamed up with Renault to release Tag-badged Renault engines for the Red Bull F1 team in 2016!
Whether at SEMA or PRI, Brembo always brings an impressive display and is teamed up with its U.S. partner and importer, Race Technologies.
If you caught our Tour of Brembo coverage recently, you know how anxious we were to bring to you Brembo's new B-M8 caliper. Well now the B-M4 is available as well. While the former eight-piston unit is designed for larger vehicles and SUVs, it can accommodate rotors as large as 420 mm (that's 16.5 inches!), the latter four-piston unit can take sizes up to 380mm (15-inch) rotors. The calipers will come in red, yellow, black, and now white, which is new to the market.
One of the easiest ways to reduce weight in your vehicle is to swap out the factory battery, which can weigh as much as 50 pounds in some vehicles. Braille offers high-end, super-lightweight batteries. Take this G-Lite unit, for example, which weighs a paltry 6 pounds and offers nearly 700 cranking amps.
Braille's Lithium Micro Lite batteries can be as small as this unit, which weighs as little as 1 pound (you read that correctly) and was used by the Mercedes GP and Red Bull Racing Formula One championships teams.
One thing that PRI does have a lot less of than SEMA are vehicles themselves and—as a U.S.-based show—PRI naturally brings out a plethora of American-made muscle to the scene. There were a few European racers that caught our attention, which we'll be sharing with you throughout this coverage, starting with this Optima Batteries- and Lifeline-sponsored F30 BMW 328i that will be driven by BimmerWorld founder James Clay and BW veteran Tyler Cooke in the IMSA Continental Tires series for 2016.
Speaking of turbocharged vehicles, Turbonetics was on hand, showcasing its new TNX Series turbos. These new turbos feature a ball bearing design, which features a unique carrier that actually floats on oil for super-fast transient and spool-up response, as well as new dual oil seals. The TNX lineup offers turbos sizes for power levels ranging between 300-900 hp per turbocharger. Turbonetics is a nostalgic brand name for ec, having been a big part of our BMW E36 M3 and Porsche 951 projects years ago.
Switching to gear-driven compressors, if you haven't heard the name Vortech, then you haven't been reading our features. Vortech is the supercharger used in the majority of supercharger kits in the European market, especially when it comes to the BMW E46 and E90/92 M3s. The firm offers a variety of power level sizes, and this is the V-3 Si found in the majority of M3 kits out there today (and I'd love one in my E46 M3).
Speaking of E46 BMWs, here's a Lexan windshield for the E46 coupe platform by Shields. Its lightweight, formed and supercoated polycarbonate windshields and rear windows are available for select Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lotus, Maserati, Mercedes, Porsche, Volvo, and VW vehicles.
More E46 BMW M3 stuff, Supertech, a well-known valvetrain company had a set of high-performance valvetrain components for it, featuring lash caps on the valves.
Here's a close-up of the lash cap (the factory valves are shimmed).
Here's a similar setup for the VW VR6 3.2L that Supertech had on display.
Pfitzner was showing off its trick transmissions. This one on display is a sequential six-speed tranny for the Lamborghini Gallardo and Audi R8. It features ultra-fast shifting, motorsport ECU compatibility, and it's rated for more than 1,500 hp.
We're mostly used to seeing Eibach's springs in red, but this is its Platinum line, which is engineered through further advanced and manufacturing technologies, and uses Eibach's proprietary formulated EPST Hi-Ten spring steel. This newer line offers increased spring travel with less weight, and each comes with an individual dyno-test graph.
When racing in the big time, Bosch Motorsport ECUs are what are used to control the vehicle's performance. Shown here (left to right) are the MS 6.4 fully programmable ECU, Bosch's DDU 7 Motorsport display, and the PBX 90 Motorsport Powerbox, which is capable to replace all conventional relays, fuses, and circuit breakers to simplify wiring harnesses and provide diagnostic capabilities.
Swain Tech Coatings is another blast-from-the-past company that is dear to ec editors, having helped us in numerous projects. Its White Lightning industrial thermal barrier heat coating is still going strong...
...while its Black Body Emitter is working to keep some of the heat from transferring from the rotor and into the caliper, thus keeping brake fluid temps manageable.
Fluidyne needs no introduction when it comes to radiators, and the company had several on display, although mainly for domestics. However, it was nice seeing this one for the E36 M3, since it was our own Project E36 M3 that was used for the original fitment back in 2002.
If you really want to control the heat omitted from a high-performance engine, you're going to have to wrap a lot of components. DEI showed us what a properly wrapped engine looks like, using its Heat Sheath and Reflect-a-Gold products.
Check out the amount of detailed heat shielding done to this intake. Hopefully this pays off and the engine sees the coolest intake air temps on the track!
Precision Turbo has been dominating the high-powered drag racing scene, and the amount of air that can be flowed through these turbos when compared to similar-sized units of just a few years ago is staggering. Take this PT6062 turbo, for example. Its compressor wheel is only 60 mm, which is small by today's standards. Less than 10 years ago, a 60mm turbo was good for up to 550 whp. Today, you can make well over 700 whp with a PT6062!
Performance Friction had one of the sweetest cars on display with this IMSA 991 Endurance Cup Porsche sponsored by WeatherTech.
Here's another angle of the 991. Check out that aero!
Here's a close-up of the four-piston PFC brake setup used in this racing series.
Arias Pistons brought out a huge assortment of billet forged pistons for various makes and models, whether classic or new, including ones for the Ferrari 355 and Bugatti Type 35...
...and even for the old '57 Porsche 718 Spyder RSK!
From Argentina we bring to you Conforma exhausts, which showcased this nice tubular exhaust manifold for the VW 2.0T.
In its booth, IMSA showcased the No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 V-10 that will be driven by Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship for 2016.
Stilo helmets had a nice booth at PRI full of helmets. Check out these Stilo WRC DES helmets with integrated microphone boom, which also come in full carbon fiber! They start at around two grand (and go way up from there).
U.K.-based Lifeline Fire and Safety Systems was showcasing its latest and greatest in Halon-replacement Novec systems, which work better than foam, don't hurt electronics, and evaporate at room temperature. This is its Zero 360 FIA-compliant system, which retails for around $700.
At the higher level is Lifeline's Zero 3620 system, which uses two bottles as one system. The first 3/4 spray is the Novec, while the last quarter sprays a coolant inside the cockpit to eliminate any potential re-ignition.
Race Ramps was in town showing off its super-lightweight, low-profile ramps. They can be used both to load a car...
...or to even store it indefinitely while maintaining access underneath (or maybe you just need the extra floor space for storage).
And yet another U.K.-based performance outfit, Jenvey Motorsport Induction Systems had some serious eye candy on display. Take this individual throttle body conversion for the BMW M52/S52 engine, for instance—stuff like this makes me want to purchase another E36 M3, simply to test this system!
This is JMIS' improvement over the factory E30 M3, which works on the BMW M10 engine.
If you've got a flat-six Porsche 911, Jenvey has a system for you as well.
Finally from JMIS, take a look at this universal induction and fuel rail setup, which was originally designed for the Audi five-cylinder Cosworth turbo engine.
If you like electronics, you'll get sucked right into the AEM Electronics booth. The company released a large line of its X-Series digital gauges, which are slimmer in thickness so as to allow easier fitment.
AEM's Plug-n-Play harnesses for its famously fast and capable Infinity engine management system are now available for E46 BMW M3, Porsche 996 Turbo, Porsche 997.1 normally aspirated ('05-'08) and Turbo ('07-'09), and Volkswagen 1.8T ('02-'05).
AEM's new LED dash display was also a hot top at PRI.
As part of its Classic line, KW Suspension had a nice coilover setup for the E30 BMW M3 on display.
Whiteline suspension systems pre-pressed rear bushings of the front control arm for the E46 BMW M3, which uses factory aluminum housings. This makes installing them much easier.
At the Garrett Turbo by Honeywell booth, there was a plethora of turbos on display. Its newer line of GTX turbos, which features a forged billet and fully machined 11-blade compressor wheel, includes this GTX3576R dual ball bearing turbocharger, which is rated at a popular 400-620 hp and meant for engines ranging 2.0 to 4.5 liters of displacement. That pretty much covers most of us. If you want more, Garrett's got bigger. Way bigger.
Also in Garrett's booth was this menacing, 1,000-whp setup for the Audi R8 V-10, as developed by AMS Performance using Garrett turbo technology.
Radium Engineering is known for its oil catch cans and fuel surge tanks. It sells model-specific products for E46 BMW M3, Lotus Elise/Exige, as well as VW/Audi.
Xtrac transmissions are no joke. Here's a seven-speed sequential box used in a '10 Marussia F1.
Here's a transmission actuator from the U.K.-based company. It uses three pistons for speedier shifts, which Xtrac reports are completed in up to an astounding 0.03 seconds!
You can see the actuator installed on the right side of this Lamborghini Super Trofeo six-speed sequential transmission.
Jiffy-Tite's been long known for its quick-release fuel and oil fittings but the fittings were also known to be a little large for some applications where a tight fit was crucial. Now, Jiffy-Tite offers quick-release fittings that are the same size as the normal AN fittings.