|Watch for green technologies pioneered on the track, such as in American Le Mans Series, to gradually integrate into passenger cars (photo courtesy American Le Mans Series).|
Vehicle technologies are accelerating as rapidly as an American Le Mans Series (ALMS) racer exiting a hairpin onto a straightaway. The new watchwords for automotive racing and performance include vehicle electrification, hybrids, gas direct injection (GDI), clean diesels and next-generation green performance.
For SEMA and Motorsports Industry Association (MIA) member companies, the landscape is erupting with innovation and opportunity. But where is it all going? Where are we now? And where are we headed?
The Race Has Gone Green Conference at the Long Beach Grand Prix, April 16, in Long Beach, California, will connect SEMA and MIA members to the next generation of green performance products, consumer perspectives and profit-making business opportunities, as well as many of the world's leading innovators in the next generation of racing and performance.
The conference will provide SEMA and MIA members with a timely and exclusive opportunity to gain valuable information and insights from some of the world's leading automakers, teams, drivers and organizations participating in the race, events and activities at the track.
The term "green" means different things to different people. To some, it's a fad or movement that may or may not impact them, their businesses or their lifestyles. To some it's a threat, to others it's an opportunity.
Regardless of whether you call it green, eco-friendly, sustainability, clean-tech or whatever, it's here to stay and will be part of the foreseeable future for the automotive industry, SEMA members and anyone involved with the performance and specialty-equipment industry.
The conference will include keynote presentations and panel sessions in which attendees will interact with the speakers. The outstanding grid of confirmed guest speakers includes the following as well as others added weekly:
- David Brabham, 2009 American Le Mans Series Champion, will discuss what it takes to race energy-efficient vehicles and how racing will play an important role in the growing demand for energy-efficient vehicles and products.
- Scott Atherton, CEO American Le Mans Series, will share his vision for the green future of motorsports.
- Les McTaggart, Senior Technical Director, IZOD IndyCar Series, will reveal the new engines, chassis and look of the 2011 IndyCar Series and the resulting new-product opportunities.
- Lord Drayson, UK Minister of Science, team owner and ALMS driver, will explain the global energy, science and economic policies that will shape the future of green motorsports and its commercialization.
- Peter Digby, Managing Director, Xtrac, a leading transmission supplier, will share what has made his company's venture into green racing so successful.
- Forrest Patterson, Technical Director, Michelin Green-X Challenge, a leading racing industry supplier, will explain how he's translated green racing success into consumer product sales.
- Jamie Allison, Director, Ford North America Motorsports, will tell us all about the automaker’s '34 Ford Hot Rod with a replacement displacement 400hp 3.5L twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 that easily rivals a typical hot rod's 302ci V8 or even similar-sized modern V8s. Talk about a crate engine!
- Robert Davis, Senior Vice President, Product Development and Quality for Mazda North American Operations, responsible for the company's North American motorsport programs under the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development banner, including involvement in the American Le Mans Series; Grand Am GT; Continental Tire Challenge; Star Mazda Championship; USF2000 Championship; and Playboy MX-5 Cup and partnerships with BP; Skip Barber; Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca; and Patrick Dempsey. Robert will discuss how Mazda utilizes motorsports from an R&D perspective and integrates it into their ongoing Sustainable Zoom-Zoom initiative.
- Mike Stewart, Leader, Motorsports Engineering Group, Honeywell Turbo Technologies, Garrett, will focus on how Garrett's Aftermarket Group is developing specialty-equipment applications to increase fuel efficiency as well as performance and effectively demonstrating that green power and horsepower can coexist.
- Steve Pruitt, Owner, Corsa Motorsports Ginetta-Zytek hybrid ALMS racer, who owns what The Wall Street Journal called "The World's Baddest Hybrid," will tell you all about his vehicle and performance program and how he's commercializing and selling his innovative kinetic energy recovery system (KERS).
- Eric Cahill, Senior Director, Progressive Automotive X Prize, will provide attendees an insider's view and update on one of the most innovative competitions designed to showcase and inspire a new generation of viable, safe, affordable and super fuel-efficient vehicles that people want to buy.
- Mike Cooperman, Senior Director of Marketing, J.D. Power Web Intelligence, will discuss the latest market research and major behavioral differences between green consumers and the average consumer and how those differences impact the auto industry. This groundbreaking research will focus on the intersection of green consumers and auto enthusiasts and define the size of this market and the messages that resonate with green consumers.
"Truly great competitions are aligned with the best motor-racing venues in the world, and the benefits of competing extend well beyond the checkered flag," said John Waraniak, SEMA vice president of vehicle technology. “In fact, the most important race is not on the track. Once the finish line is crossed, you are left with innovations and proven technologies that impact what you and I drive today and tomorrow. The ALMS championship is an excellent example of relevant racing and represents the future of racing.
“Commercialization and consumer acceptance of green performance technologies are the multipliers to achieving industry growth, increased sales and market share,” Waraniak added. “Innovation doesn't come from the discovery of technology but from being the first to use technology to meet consumer needs and wants.
"Next-generation performance isn't just about powertrains—it's about making vehicles lighter and more aerodynamic,” Waraniak concluded. “It's about better brakes, performance wheels and tires, replacing mechanical systems with electronics, better lubrication, increased cooling and so on—many of the same things that gave birth to the hot-rod industry and were on display at the first SEMA Shows under the bleachers in Dodger Stadium and at Anaheim back in the '60s."
To sign up for the conference, visit www.SEMA.org/racegonegreen. The $275 fee for SEMA members ($375 for non-members) includes not only admission to the conference and its wealth of information and business networking opportunities, but also a luncheon and paddock tour where attendees will meet and talk with team owners, drivers, crew chiefs and engineers on pit row.
Sign up today and accelerate your company to profitability, or be left at the starting line.
Why not make it a weekend in Long Beach? Click here for SEMA-member discount Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach tickets.