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The Global Racing Marketplace
By John Kilroy on March 11, 2016

One of the most extraordinary things to happen during PRI's exhibit at the Autosport Engineering Show earlier this year in Birmingham, England, was how very normal it was for this American company to be exhibiting there. It didn't feel foreign at all. I note this because I remember a time when it was, more or less, a shocking new thought to promote PRI overseas. Throughout much of the racing industry a dozen years or so ago, not much consideration was given to the racing market outside of national borders, although Australia has always been a strong international market for US racing products, and Canada, of course. There were the complications of currencies, language, customs, shipping, marketing, selling and more. The US market is plenty big, which also reduced the urgency to expand sales beyond national borders. Now, at the Autosport Engineering Show, PRI is a well known entity to other exhibitors and to attending motorsports professionals from throughout Europe. We should note that other US racing parts companies have also become familiar sites at the event. This year, exhibitors included ARP, Aurora, L.A. Sleeve, A.R.E. Dry Sump Systems, Aviaid, K&N Filters, Performance Friction, Royal Purple, Tilton Engineering, Titan Motorsport USA, Total Seal, VAC Motorsports, Ferrea, Supertech and more.

We also regularly hear stories from racing retailers and race engine builders that the internet has surprised them by connecting them with international business, which can be nurtured to become a valuable and steady source of new sales. The stories typically begin, "It started when I got this email from a guy in Sweden...."

On the drive to Birmingham from London, Francisque Savinien, PRI's director of global sales and marketing, and myself visited with two UK racing companies that have established US facilities as they make inroads in the US racing marketplace—Mountune Racing and DC Electronics. The savvier racing companies open a business in the target country in order to drive sales and provide better customer service.

With the move of the PRI Trade Show to Indianapolis, attendance by US motorsports professionals has grown tremendously. International attendance has stayed strong, as 70 countries are represented. Just as important, exhibits by international racing companies allow buyers to truly shop the world for new racing technology in one visit to the PRI Trade Show.

From our vantage point publishing the racing industry's business magazine and producing the racing industry's trade show, we have the perfect seat to watch the evolution of this industry. In my 25 years here, I've seen visionaries gamble and win on new technology, new marketing strategies and new business opportunities. One of the great stories has been the development of a true global marketplace for racing technology. We salute the innovators, and thank them. It wasn't easy. The racing industry—and PRI—is better for it.

About the Author
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John Kilroy is the Publisher of Performance Racing Industry magazine.
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