INDIANAPOLIS — The Performance Racing Industry Trade Show’s return to Indianapolis kicked off with the opening of the largest Race Industry Week in show history, highlighted by the Advanced Engineering Technology Conference (AETC), the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow national championship, and Claude Rouelle’s Advanced Vehicle Dynamics and Data Acquisition seminar at the Indiana Convention Center Monday and Tuesday.
This year’s Race Industry Week will feature 11 major events among 45 seminars, conferences and networking opportunities taking place in conjunction with the PRI Trade Show, which will run Dec. 12- 14.
The three-day AETC drew a variety of attendees including engine builders, design engineers, business owners and parts manufacturers.
“The return to Indy has been positive,” said conference organizer Brian Reese, of the Comp Performance Group. “Our attendance is up from last year. That points in a good direction for us. Bringing the show back to Indy is the heart of the breadbasket of racing. Geographically, it allows more racers and engine-builders easier access to the show. As far as our program, we continue to feature the latest trends in advanced engine performance. There’s something here for all of our attendees – from the small builder to the most accomplished teams.”
That theme was evident Tuesday as a group from Northwest Technical College made the trip down from Bemidji, Minn., to acquire as much information as possible.
“I’ve brought seven students down with me this year,” said Paul Nelson, the school’s program director. “AETC is the cream of the crop for us. This is where we learn things we never even imagined we could learn. I’ve been coming to the AETC for 18 years, and if I can learn a few new things each year to pass on to my students, it makes them that much more prepared for when they enter the work force.”
Even established engineers, such as Harley-Davidson’s Greg Rodriguez, find a great deal to take away from the conference.
“The benefit of getting a vast amount of knowledge in a few days is great,” said Rodriguez. “Most of the presentations aren’t about motorcycles specifically, but there are things we can apply to do performance work.”
Rouelle’s Vehicle Dynamics seminar offered an in-depth look at vehicle behavior, including measurement tools, aerodynamics, tires, weight transfer, and tuning to an audience that extended from amateurs to professionals in a variety of areas industry-wide. The seminar also featured a free flow of discussion amongst attendees.
While the AETC and Vehicle Dynamics events featured a wide variety of attendees, the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow is all about the future of motorsports – bringing together 23 teams from high schools and technical schools from coast to coast that have qualified in regional competitions centered on tearing down and rebuilding engines.
“This is a terrific opportunity for our kids,” said Saul Garcia, of Loara High School in Anaheim, California. “It’s a very exciting competition for the kids to be able to travel here to Indianapolis where they get to compete. The scholarship program they have put together here is huge.”
The 26th Annual PRI Trade Show features the latest products and technology from over 1200 manufacturers of racing and high-performance automotive components, as well as precision machining equipment. The show is expected to attract more than 40,000 racing professionals from across the U.S. and 72 countries.
For more information, go to www.pri2013.com.