The Performance Racing Industry show held at the Indiana Convention Center did not disappoint. I walked the entire show for 2 days, stopping at every vendor along the way, looking for cool products and inspiration. Unsurprisingly, I found many. Although winners and losers may sound harsh, this is a racing trade show after all.
The winners were both small and large companies willing to pour in the time and resources to bring a novel idea or improvement to market. I spent quite a bit of time talking to a few of these owners/entrepreneurs. The winners are as follows.
IC Chiller: Air Conditioned Intercooler
This was one of the first products to catch my eye and something I’ve wanted to experiment with for a long time. IC Chiller is a company that makes ‘inter chiller’ products. ‘Inter chillers’ are effectively a liquid intercooled (water-to-air) system that uses a coolant loop from the air conditioner system to super cool the liquid that cools the intercooler. This is a more complicated approach to the timeless dry ice and ice chillers for drag racing. However, where ice systems are finite, the AC can run indefinitely.
As a non drag racer, my first question was, ‘What about circuit racing applications?’ The answer to which landed IC Chiller on the winners list. In short, they have a prototype running around the SCCA (sorry NASA) that reduces turbo outlet temps from 160 degrees to 90 degrees. More impressively so when considering this is constant throughout a 20 minute sprint. This is accomplished with a stand-alone, electric-driven ac system mounted in the trunk.
The consistent inlet temps may very well outweigh the added weight and complexity.
LightWELD Laser Welding
Laser welding is quicker, cleaner, and easier than traditional MIG and TIG welding. And when I spotted LightWELD at the show, and with a seriously cool booth as well, I had to head over. Their booth included a self contained demo zone with UV windows that allowed viewers to watch how easy the process is.
I’m excited to see this technology reach wider adoption although the entry level is still quite steep at 25k. Hopefully, demand and improvements will drive prices down in the next few years and we will start to see systems like this in the hands of motorsport hobbyists.
MyFreeTiming (a MyLaps alternative?)
Due to the proprietary nature of transponders, MyLaps is the only transponder usable at US racetracks. However, MyFreeTiming deserves a mention for two reasons. First, the MyLaps pricing sucks royally. Racers and enthusiasts are forced into exorbitant one-time fees close to $800 for stand-alone transponders or an annual $129 subscription fee. Second, and the main reason I mention MyFreeTiming is that if someone were so inclined to develop a method to translate the transponder signals between companies, racers would have access to appropriately priced, high-quality transponders again. (Think $200) I can neither confirm nor deny that something like this is being worked on. 😉
Oasis Scientific Inc. Articulating Borescope
I was nerding out on this one pretty hard. Articulating borescopes are not new but being able to purchase one for less than $400 is. Not much else to say on this one except that I plan to add one to the track box very soon.
This is the part where I should say that there were no losers at the show. And that just may have been the case except for one particular item that stood out gloriously. This particular product is brought to you by a major manufacturer of exhaust components. And because this company is a huge name in the industry, we won’t necessarily call them a loser. Regardless, I present to you:
Borla Active Performance Sound
I will admit that at first, I thought this was a joke. It unfortunately is not. In short, it looks like the marketing guys got bored and are now trying to sell engine noise to the EV market. ‘The missing link between driver and EV’, as they coined it. Even the website reads like an April 1st prank.
However, there is one cool feature of Active Performance Sound. According to the literature, you are not limited to engine noises. You have to download an app to explore the sounds but If I could make my EV sound like the Millennium Falcon, I may be in. Or maybe I would prefer a steam engine.
Regardless, this is how I will always envision the decision makers at Borla from now on.
This goes out to the questionable bathroom fitment in racing trailers. This is a great feature to have in an enclosed race trailer and several companies are getting creative with their size constraints. First up we have the toilet curtain offered by ATC.
And finally, the F1 shower because real racers aren’t over 5’6″.
All kidding aside, there were thousands of vendors at PRI 2023 and this is just a small sampling of what got my attention. I’ve got plenty more to share so check back for Part 2 where I will post a huge photo dump from the show featuring some amazing builds.