Innovation On Display
Manufacturers continually answer the need for more speed with their latest products and technology showcased at the annual PRI Show. Hundreds of those components are included in the Featured Products Showcase, which were determined by an esteemed panel of 13 judges who are entrenched in motorsports. Here we reveal the recipients of the Featured Product Awards.
There was no better display of the racing industry’s capacity to innovate at the 2023 PRI Show than the Featured Products Showcase. Ranging from engine blocks to race suits, the annual display shines a spotlight on hundreds of submitted products from PRI Show exhibitors from every segment of the industry.
According to Brian Havins, director of editorial and consumer marketing at Power Automedia and a judge for this year’s Featured Product Awards, the Showcase does more than just highlight products. It demonstrates the racing world’s ability to solve problems.
“[The industry] is stronger than ever. I was talking to a company, and as these cars and technology keep evolving, new issues keep coming up,” Havins said. “Now, noise and electrical interference are a huge issue, so people are working on spark plug wires and plugs and fixing these things that we might see in a modern-day hot rod.
“There’s always a problem that starts,” he added, “and these companies figure out what that issue is, how to fix it, and how to make it better.”
However, those problems don’t always have to be new or complex.
Guillermo Moeller, a content creator and one of this year’s 13 judges, looked not only for innovative ideas and game-changing products, but also for simple solutions that tackled problems in a different manner.
He eventually zeroed in on a product he could see himself using in his own shop: the Speedway Motors SoloSwap Ford 5.0 Coyote Mock Up Engine Swap Dummy Block Kit.
“There were a couple of products I really liked, then I just focused in on something practical. I ended up going for something really simple,” Moeller said. “I have a shop, and we do a lot of swaps. I saw the problems it would solve for me, and I liked that a lot.”
Not every judge took the same approach when selecting a top product.
KJ Jones, senior editor of HOT ROD Magazine, singled out the Garmin Catalyst, a cockpit-mounted racing coach and performance optimizer, despite not having much use for the product himself. “I don’t even road race,” he said. “I just thought it was really cool.”
Jones’ goal for the Showcase was to identify a ground-breaking or innovative product. The Catalyst fit the bill.
“It plots your driving along a course and pulls data over several laps. It stitches and weaves together what you’ve done, and as you continue to drive, it will find areas in your driving to offer suggestions on how to, in a sense, achieve the ultimate lap,” he said. “Among all the cool stuff there, that was a really cool thing for me. It will resonate among enthusiasts who are into driving cars like that.”
In his search for a product to highlight, Jones also came to recognize how the Featured Products Showcase benefits both exhibitors and attendees. “[The PRI Show] is your opportunity to get in front of stuff, especially if it’s new,” he said. “You go see it in the Featured Products window, then you go out on the floor and see it and touch it. That’s what I did with the Garmin piece. I went to the booth to check it out, ask questions, and that’s how I learned how it worked.”
Jones, as well as the other 12 Featured Product Awards judges, submitted a selection for best Featured Product. Additionally, the top vote-getters in each of the eight product categories received a 2023 Featured Product Award. Following is a complete list of winners.