By Chad Simon
Tom Longo of Derale Performance will bring his ’66 Mercury Cyclone GT to the 2016 SEMA Battle of the Builders competition.
SEMA Ignited—the official SEMA Show after-party that is open to consumers—will kick-off for the third time ever, Friday, November 4, immediately following the close of the 2016 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
Leading up to the 2016 event, SEMA eNews will feature some of this year’s builders. In this week’s behind-the-scenes video, SEMA Battle of the Builders (BOTB) participant Tom Longo of Derale Performance in Los Angeles talks about the ’66 Mercury Cyclone GT stock car that he will showcase at the SEMA Show. Longo details what makes this build unique, and how it is inspired by the ’60s vehicles that raced in NASCAR, while incorporating today’s modern technology to improve performance and ride. Showcasing Derale’s sponsors’ products along with its own, Derale’s concept for this vehicle is a “street-legal NASCAR” vehicle.
There were more than 27,000 registered attendees for the 2015 event—up 20% from the previous year. Held in the Gold Lot just steps away from the Las Vegas Convention Center, SEMA Ignited will feature automotive demonstrations, celebrity appearances, industry icons, food, music, cackle cars, Formula Drift action and a live taping of the 2016 BOTB competition that will premiere in early 2017 on the Velocity Channel. Vehicles from the SEMA Show will begin to parade out of the convention center around 4:00 p.m., and make their way to SEMA Ignited as thousands of fans line the streets of Las Vegas to catch a glimpse of the Show’s wildest rides.
Also for the third year, SEMA Ignited will serve as the backdrop for “SEMA: Battle of the Builders,” hosted by Adrienne Janic and Chris Jacobs, during which the top three finalists will learn their fates. Last year, 220 of the world’s best builders entered the competition, but it was Bobby Alloway who walked away with the top prize.