AFTER SEMA rolls past each year, the truly devout horsepower addicts wait until December when the winter temps drop below zero for the annual Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis. The PRI Show has been leading the way for high-performance racing since its inception in 1988, and now hosts over 1200 exhibitors and 48,000 industry members each year in the Indianapolis Convention Center.
The event is now owned by SEMA, so you could consider PRI as SEMA’s stripped-down, hardcore brother. It’s not about selling 24-inch rims and fuzzy dice; it’s about blowers, race engines and just about anything that makes you go really, really fast.
Like SEMA, the three-day PRI Show is only open to workers in the industry both locally and internationally, including buyers, manufacturers and distributors, and is packed to the brim with the latest and greatest products available for the coming racing season.
In addition to over 3000 stalls, the 2016 show featured seminars, guest speakers like Indy legend Rick Mears and NASCAR racer Jeff Gordon, and government updates on the Recognising the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act – a bill introduced to US Congress to protect the ability to modify street vehicles for race use.
Many exciting new products debuted, and those that
showcased the latest in alternative powerplants like diesel and electric certainly had the crowds buzzing.
After unveiling the Mustang GT4 race car platform at SEMA, Ford Performance showed off its 2017 Mustang GT to the PRI community as a more accessible, Trans-Amstyle race car, alongside complete turn-key packages for the ever-so-desirable 570hp 5.2L Aluminator XS Coyote.
Another company getting in on the engine-swap packages was Cummins, which is working to release its Repower R2.8 turbo-diesel as a turn-key platform, motivated by the new diesel movement for restomodding older Jeeps, Broncos and the like. Cummins’s Steve Sanders was proud to have debuted the package at SEMA, but was blown away by the response it had at the more hardcore PRI Show: “Even a lot of builders that don’t advertise anywhere were at our booth,” he said.
“We were so happy to have that massive outpouring of interest.”
When it comes to drag racing, you can’t get far without mentioning the guys and gals from Discovery Channel’s Street Outlaws show, and a few of their cars could be found dotted across the venue. ‘Dominator’ Joe Woods was at the Turbonetics booth with his newly finished ’67 Dart, showing off the twin 88mm snails on the 632- cube big-block Bowtie. Big Chief and his Crowmod were sharing the Stainless Works booth with two-time Drag Week winner Jeff Lutz and his Mad Max Camaro.
Shawn Ellington revealed the updated Murder Nova at the Precision Turbo booth and was subsequently swamped by fans, while ‘Doc’ Love was out with the Street Beast representing Aussie brand Mainline Dynamometers in between signings and interviews.
The 2016 show included a fair swag of Aussie companies making the Americans sit up and take notice. Industry stalwarts like Haltech and Turbosmart were out in full force, along with an influx of newer companies showcasing everything from billet Pro Mod Hemi engines to smart garage tools.
Queensland-based Noonan Ultimate Race Engineering debuted three new engine platforms: a 4.900in-bore-space full-race Hemi, another billet Hemi block tuned down slightly for street-weapon use, and the incredibly well-received LS-EDGE platform – a billet LS block with all the Pro Mod tricks to support over 2000hp, but still with factory engine mounts and head configurations.
The Turbosmart guys were celebrating 20 years in the industry and invited PAC Performance along
to show off its insane six-second, 2000hp triple-rotor Mazda 6 drag car to the US market.
Plazmaman was new to PRI, and although its LS products were understandably popular, the more niche bits the company makes for six- and four-pot hi-po engines were also well-received.
Other Aussie companies exhibiting at the PRI Show included ICE Ignition, Yella Terra, XClutch, Shaun’s Custom Alloy, Haltech and Mechanics Mate, with all enjoying a busy and successful weekend. Not only did the public swarm to chat to the exhibitors parked under the hanging Aussie flag, it was also the spot to be after the day was done, with an Aussie-run networking hour fuelled by beer. They even had Coopers stubbies – notoriously impossible to find in the USA!
The 2016 Performance Racing Industry Show was the biggest yet, creating a lot of enthusiasm for a stronger, better, faster 2017 racing season, and our Aussie crews were stoked with the success they had rubbing shoulders with the formidable US market.