Text & Photos: Jason Reiss / Kyle Crawford
The 2016 edition of the Performance Racing Industry trade show is now in the books; it will go down as one of the best-attended shows in recent memory and no doubt one of the coldest. Temperatures struggled to approach the freezing mark for the majority of the week, but inside the Indiana Convention Center the action was hot and heavy as attendees filled the show’s aisles to peruse the latest and greatest speed parts from the world’s most prominent manufacturers.
This article is by no means an all-inclusive wrap-up; rather, the parts, cars, and people featured here are what stuck out to Kyle and myself as we wandered the show taking in the scene. There were plenty of innovative and unique products on display, so let’s get right to it!
The Florida boys from VMP Tuning had their Air Force-inspired Track Attack Mustang in their display area wearing one of the company’s all-new Gen-II-R TVS 2.3-liter superchargers on top. The Gen-II-R is unique in that it uses an inlet elbow, which is part of the supercharger housing, unlike other TVS superchargers. The inlet elbow has been enlarged and contoured over the previous bolt-on version to maximize airflow and performance. The Gen-II-R kit also includes a dual-fan-equipped heat exchanger, plug-and-play fuel pump boosters, and a TwinJet dual 67 mm throttle body. With VMP’s custom engine calibration, the 5.0-liter Coyote engine pumps out a whopping 851 horsepower and 703 lb-ft of torque to the wheels. That is a staggering horsepower figure from what amounts to a real street car.
In the DeatschWerks booth we found a ton of new products. Based upon the success of the company’s DWR1000 adjustable fuel pressure regulator, they’ve developed the new DWR2000 regulator, which ups the inlet and outlet sizes to support even more horsepower. In addition, they’ve also launched a complete assortment of hose ends designed to support the company’s one-source mandate. Included in the product assortment are fuel rail and hard line adapters, Y-blocks, AN-to-metric line adapters, and a full line of hose ends – along with the sweet billet AN wrenches. The company is also now producing fuel rails for all of the popular late-model applications.
BMR Suspension’s products have long been a favorite of the late-model Muscle crowd, mainly for their high-quality pieces, which perform both on the street and at the track. This new race-designed Xtreme Anti Roll bar kit is designed for the S197 Mustang crowd, and has been developed for those owners looking for a product to control the rear suspension on hard launches. It’s built from heavy-wall DOM tubing and eliminates body roll through the use of heavy-duty spherical bearings, and is a true-bolt-on affair that attaches to the lower control arm mounts of the rearend housing. They don’t recommend it for street use, but the company assures us initial track testing has shown impressive results. BMR’s Pete Epple says the initial run sold out in only a few days and they continue to fly off the shelves to Mustang racers. The company also recently launched a complete line of Fox-body Mustang rear suspension components, seen in the above photo.
Performance parts don’t develop themselves – and that’s where companies like Ford Performance enter the mixture. The Ford Performance team is constantly evaluating new products, making calibration changes based on testing results, and creating new products for the legions of Blue Oval fans all over the globe. Take note of this 2017 Mustang development car, which features the company’s 5.2-liter XS engine assembly, which makes use of many of the tricks found in the world-beating GT350 to create the most dynamic and impressive naturally-aspirated Coyote engine package ever.
They’ve achieved this power production through the use of the 5.2-liter engine block, a cross-plane, 93 mm-stroke forged crankshaft (different from the flat-plane crank in the GT350), 12.0:1 compression, and a set of CNC-ported cylinder heads. On top of the engine is the Cobra Jet manifold and throttle body, and it all comes together to create one hell of a Mustang. How does 580 horsepower and 450+ lb-ft of torque sound? The best part about this car is that all of the products save for the prototype cold air intake system and header-back exhaust are available now from Ford Performance.
Traditional connecting rod designs use one of two configurations – the H-beam, or the I-beam. Enter the new Boostline connecting rod from Wiseco Performance Products, which Wiseco’s Mark Gearhart says offers the best of both worlds. When faced with big-power applications, the Boostline connecting rods perform markedly better than the H- and I-beam rods by correcting the flaws of those designs.
By adding material near the big end of the connecting rod, Wiseco has taken those concerns out of the equation; Gearhart says the Finite Element Analysis testing done by the company proves out their theories, as they have shown a 60-percent increase in bending strength when compared to an H-beam configuration. The connecting rods feature what the company calls a “three-pocket design”, and they’ve applied for a patent to protect their innovation. The rods are delivered with proven ARP2000 hardware, and racers pushing the limit can upgrade to Custom Age 625 capscrews for ultimate power-handling capability. They currently have product available for most popular applications including LS, 2JZ, EJ25, Honda K24, Nissan VR38DETT, and Ford’s Modular and Coyote engines.
Bob Glidden is known as one of the most successful NHRA racers of all time, and innovations developed by the cagey racer are still in use today in many race engines. This 1978 Ford Fairmont Nostalgia Pro Stock tribute car is owned by Mike Ruth and features a Glidden-era 500 cubic inch engine that uses a Ford SVO block and cylinder heads along with an original Pro Stock chassis that has since been updated to 7.50 specs. It was almost as if you could see Bob sitting in the driver’s seat!
Falling in line with their popular collection of F-150 EcoBoost turbocharger upgrade kits, Borla had this sweet 2.3-liter EcoBoost Mustang upgrade kit on display. Although the kit isn’t in production yet, Borla’s Ola Lysenstoen says it will include an EFR 76/63 turbocharger, all of the tubing from the turbo through the intercooler and up to the engine, and the company’s downpipe, which will interface with the stock exhaust at its connection point. He mentioned that it will provide a serious upgrade in performance and Borla’s traditional high-quality fitment. The appearance of the kit is quite impressive, especially the thick intercooler.
NHRA stars John Force and Robert Hight were signing autographs in the Weld Racing booth for their fans.
Speaking of autographs, it seemed that everywhere we turned, there was a star of Street Outlaws signing autographs as well. In perhaps a sign of the times, each of their signing sessions were mobbed with lines stretching around the booths, while the line for the NHRA stars was condensed to diehards.
If you’re a diesel truck fan, then Wagler Competition Products had something for you at the 2016 PRI show. In the ARP booth, we tripped over this DX460 all-billet Duramax engine, which was simply massive. From the billet steel bedplate assembly through the billet aluminum center section and up to the billet aluminum heads, every piece of this Cummins Killer engine was focused on brute strength. Inside: a Winberg crankshaft, Wagler Competition connecting rods, Ross pistons, Trend wristpins and pushrods, billet rocker arm assemblies, and a dual-feed five-stage dry sump system. These items are required to handle the 130 pounds of boost pressure from the Columbus turbocharger. Naturally, a complete line of ARP fasteners held the whole works together.
Then you had the big daddy DX500 Billet Duramax in Wagler’s own booth. Much of the same engine parts are in this beast, but on top, there is a PSI screw supercharger fed by a pair of Precision turbochargers. Oh, and we can’t forget the NX nitrous system either. What do you even say about an engine like this?
Off in one of the side rooms, the Hot Rodders Of Tomorrow competition was underway. This competition, which pits students from various technical programs around the country, showcases their ability to disassemble and reassemble a small-block Chevrolet engine from start to finish. This year, Team COMP Cams from the Burton Center for Arts & Technology in Virginia took home the title with an amazing 17 minute, 43-second average time.
In an effort to complete their catalog, the Manley Performance gang now offers three different 4.6-liter Ford Modular crankshafts. The 4340 steel forgings have fully-profiled counterweights, lightened rod journals, and will be available separately or as part of a complete rotating assembly kit early in 2017. Three different stroke options will be available: 3.543-inch stock stroke, and 3.750-inch and 3.800-inch stroker cranks.
This nifty little XD-ATM adjustable pushrod from COMP Cams is perhaps one of the least-appreciated items we found on display. The company’s engineers have developed it to use replaceable shims to achieve the correct pushrod length when used in conjunction with a non-adjustable rocker arm assembly.
The advantage of using these is that the builder can order pushrods prior to beginning the assembly process rather than at the end; the XD-ATM pushrods offer nearly a quarter-inch of adjustability .004-inch at a time with shims, and different top sections with .200-inch increments are also available. Not only did they catch our eye, but they also caught the eyes of the judges at the recent SEMA Show by winning the Best New Product award. Chris Douglas of COMP says they are proven to perform over 9,000 rpm in a solid-roller LS engine application, and are available for hydraulic and solid-roller applications.
The machines in Rottler Alley were grinding away on different block and cylinder heads: millions of dollars’ worth of equipment, and Kyle and I managed to take two photos of the same machine. Can you guess who took which photo?
Front-and-center in the Race Star Wheels booth, this all-new one-piece forged wheel caught the eye of everyone who walked by. Race Star’s wheel designer, Mike Kent, was on hand to talk about the wheel’s design and configurations. It’ll be targeted to the late-model muscle crowd initially (think Mustang, Camaro, Corvette) with other fitments to follow if the design proves successful. The wheel will be available in 17 x 4.5-inch and 15 x 10-inch fitments among others.
Nick Bacalis had his Mustang on display in the Ross Pistons booth, with the monster 700 cubic-inch engine trying to claw its way out of the engine bay. Read more about the insane powerplant right here.
Now that you have absorbed all of the information that I (Jason) laid out for you, allow me to turn it over to Kyle for his view of the event. But don’t forget what I talked about – there will be a pop quiz later.
The event floor isn’t just littered with finished displays of new products. Some manufacturers also choose to unveil their newest piece in grand display inviting members of the media to be present while they pull the sheet off their latest breakthrough. McLeod Clutches did just that, as they revealed their newest partnership with Raybestos Powertrain to offer high-performance automatic transmission rebuild kits to the public. The McLeod by Raybestos Performance Automatic Rebuild Kits open the doors to additional applications for the clutch company to service those with an automatic transmission.
On the road racing side of things, the Ligier chassis constructor Onroak Automotive displayed their newest lightweight creation, the JS P3. Believe it or not, this beautiful aerodynamically-sculpted carbon fiber chassis is their budget entry into the Prototype class. In an effort to reduce technical, driver, and running costs in the class, only five constructors offer a chassis – the Ligier being one of them – and all of them must run the same Nissan V8 engine. Any watchers of the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona race will see a few of these circulating the track next month. If you’re currently cleaning up your slobber like we are, feel free to purchase your own for the relatively low starting price of $215,000.
Amidst the alleyway of various turning, honing, and milling machines, Haas Automation’s booth showcased one of their 5-axis CNC machines. This 30-inch UMC-750 machine performed its own show throughout the event, rotating the engine head enclosed in its chambers around with surgical precision. Qualified to create just about anything, this machine’s price tag reflects its extreme range of capabilities. Fully optioned, it appears that this machine is $207,475. So for a hair less than half a million bucks, you can have a carbon fiber chassis and a 5-axis CNC machine.
You learn something new every day, right? Well, while at AP Racing’s booth I learned a great tidbit of information regarding my favorite form of automotive competition – Formula 1. The braking titan doesn’t just provide their six-piston Radi-CAL stopping power to the Force India, Manor, Renault, and Williams teams; but designs and manufactures alternate friction material with their 4-Plate Carbon/Carbon Clutch for all eleven championship teams. That means their products crossed the finish line in first place at every single Grand Prix in 2016. That’s a pretty impressive statement in the highest form of motorsport.
Representing Toyo Tires fresh from their second consecutive win at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill – one of the longest and most grueling endurance races on the planet – were Flying Lizard’s pair of ES-class podium finishers. The No. 45 Audi R8 and the No. 74 Porsche 911 RSR – still covered in rubber and bruises from the racetrack – promoted the tire brand and proudly displayed their first place overall finish with the coveted NASA trophy.
A crowd favorite of the event was David Meyer’s 1966 Plymouth Belvedere named Northern Bel. It hosted a pair of rear-mounted Turbonetics TNX-45 turbochargers, glistening BASF Glasurit paint, and Hotchkis suspension products all assembled and designed by Troy T. Trepanier of Rad Rides by Troy. I especially liked the hideaway parachute mount, which gives this car the ultimate sleeper status when the license plate is in place.
Loyal Front Street readers will remember our composite materials article we published earlier this fall, in which we enlisted the help of carbon fiber professional Greg Shampine of Ultra-Carbon to answer a series of questions about the lightweight material’s pros, cons, and uses. Unbeknownst to us, Shampine and his team had been working tirelessly to create the next stage of carbon fiber’s inclusion into our industry, a 16 x 16-inch beadlocked drag racing wheel made entirely of carbon fiber, sans the billet aluminum beadlock ring. Tipping the scales at a minimal eleven pounds, this wheel eliminates several pounds of rotating mass at the wheel hub. Add to that how attractive the weave of this carbon wheel is, and you’ve surely got the recipe for a very popular new product regardless of pricetag.
Back in August, NMCA Pro Mod racer Steve Summers released his newest Xtreme Pro Mod project to the public, this bright white 2016 Chevrolet Camaro. The car inhales its boosted air through a pair of gigantic 98MM turbochargers by Garrett, one feeding each bank of the all-billet 522 cubic-inch engine, making it a fitting display vehicle for Garrett to house in their booth.
Over at the Arai Helmet booth, the world-renowned safety equipment company showcased two glass cases full of professional drivers’ used headgear, along with shelves covered in blank production helmets. The entirety of one case was dedicated to my aforementioned favorite motorsport, with helmets from previous Formula 1 champions Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, and Fernando Alonso. The American Formula 1 test driver Alexander Rossi also donated his Manor helmet to the display.
AEM Electronics recently unveiled their new CD-7 super bright dash display at the SEMA show. Here you can see it on display again, showing its glare-eliminating hood, different modes, screens, and datalogging capability. It features two CANbus channels in order to receive data from AEM-enabled systems such as their Infinity Series 3.0 engine management. The large buttons on the sides are used for switching screens and can even be used with racing gloves on, making this the perfect digital display to monitor vitals during competition.
If this front end looks familiar, that’s because it’s another Ligier, except the pristine carbon fiber exterior of the JS P3 shown earlier in the Onroak booth is masked in favor of a weathered and wounded vinyl livery on this JS P2, seen in the Borg Warner booth. This is the Michael Shank Racing car that won the 10-hour Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta, the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale, which ended on October 1st. Upon the completion of the race, the winning car wasn’t cleaned or fixed before making its appearance at the PRI show. With half of its carbon sleeve removed, all attendees of the Borg Warner booth were treated to a display of motorsport engineering at the highest level. Amidst the myriad of metal rods, which formed the cantilever suspension setup behind the Honda HR35TT engine, I was able to find the twin Borg Warner EFR-6258 turbochargers tucked down below the massive roof scoop intake ducts.
The Injector Dynamics booth allowed visitors to control a series of five different injectors ranging from the company’s ID1050X up to the ID2200X. A central knob gave each user the ability to adjust pulse width in a visual display of injector art. It was a very cool presentation that helped to explain exactly how injectors perform.
I’m going to finish my coverage with this luxurious racing lap timer. TAG Heuer, a company synonymous with precision timekeeping, created their OLED Messenger to broadcast real-time information between race control and the seat of your car. Designed to work at circuits equipped with or without timing systems, the OLED Messenger can record lap times but also read race positions and gaps to competitors. It will communicate data with the company’s Race Direction Centre wherever applicable, to relay caution flag information or personal messages to the driver. Santa, is it too late to change my Christmas wish list?
In the end, Jason and I ran wild for three days of automotive amusement in the Indianapolis Convention Center, where we each visited hundreds of booths from the aftermarket automotive giants of the world and we only photographed the same thing twice. It just goes to show that no matter the material presented, two sets of eyes will see it completely differently. Hope you enjoyed this tour of the PRI show as much as we did!