Fueled by a massive grassroots effort and bipartisan support among lawmakers, a bill critical to the future of racing is gaining momentum following its recent reintroduction in Congress.
The SEMA-/PRI-backed Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act of 2021 protects Americans’ right to convert street vehicles into dedicated race cars, as well as the motorsports parts industry’s ability to sell products that allow racers to compete. In doing so, it reverses the position of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that prohibits street-car-to-race-car conversions, along with the sale of parts that take a street vehicle out of compliance with broad-based emissions standards, even if that vehicle is track-only.
While the EPA points to the 50-year-old Federal Clean Air Act (CAA) as the basis for its position, it was only in 2015 that officials began interpreting the law to include race car conversions.
Spurred by a growing army of motorsports professionals and enthusiasts, the RPM Act in early June had already gathered 41 Republican and 17 Democratic cosponsors. It is next scheduled to be taken up in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. A Senate version of the bill is expected to follow soon.
While the RPM Act awaits its next steps in Congress, there are measures suppliers can take now to better protect themselves from EPA enforcement. PRI, in partnership with the SEMA Action Network, has put together the following guidance for companies that manufacture or sell parts for competition vehicles:
- Know your customer. Document as much as you can that the vehicles you are manufacturing or selling for are race vehicles and have attributes, such as roll bars, belong to a race team, or don’t have license plates.
- Ensure the number of units manufactured or sold supports sales that are for race-use-only vehicles.
- Do not rely on “For Race Use Only” labeling alone; it will not protect you from EPA enforcement.
- If you manufacture or sell parts for purpose-built race vehicles, the EPA probably won’t target you. Still, it is possible, if highly unlikely, that if one of your parts ends up on a street vehicle, the EPA will come knocking. “Trust us” isn’t good enough from the EPA: help pass the RPM Act.
- Be cognizant of your advertisements and social media content. A viral video of a non-Clean Air Act complaint vehicle doing burnouts on the street or a truck off-roading and belching out black smoke is an evidentiary “gift” to enforcers.
MPMC members can help spread the word by including links on their websites, social media platforms, storefronts, and/or garages. Racing businesses can also rally their customers, employees, followers and friends to act by using the assets found in SEMA’s digital toolkit: sema.org/rpmtools. They are also encouraged to join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #SaveOurRacecars.
In the meantime, SEMA/PRI will continue leading the fight against the EPA’s overaggressive legal interpretations and enforcement tactics in the courts, legislatures and regulatory agencies.
Click here today to learn more about how you can join the fight to save our race cars.