Rob Kinnan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
August 3, 2016
Photos By: SEMA

Hundreds of motorsports manufacturers, racers, celebrities, and supporters gathered at the SEMA Garage’s annual Open House on July 28, where they got a firsthand look at SEMA’s state-of-the-art facility, in Diamond Bar, California, about 45 minutes east of downtown Los Angeles. The Industry Innovation Center gives auto parts manufacturers a convenient way to test their cars and products to ensure they meet state and federal regulations. In fact, this year’s Open House featured the Garage’s emissions compliance center.

“The SEMA Garage represents the best of our industry’s innovative prowess, showcasing the cutting-edge tools and equipment that can revolutionize the way our industry develops products,” said Mike Spagnola, SEMA’s Vice President of OEM & Product Development Programs. “It also represents our industry’s commitment to meeting critical compliance measures, and underscores our important, long-standing relationship with state and federal regulators.”

This year’s event took place as the industry continues to operate under a cloud of uncertainty regarding how it is regulated. In July 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule that would prohibit the conversion of emissions-certified vehicles into race cars and make it illegal to sell any emissions-related parts for those cars.

Think about that for a minute, and let it sink in.

With pressure from Congress, the EPA indicated that it intended to withdraw the specific regulation, but the agency maintains that it has the authority to regulate street vehicles modified exclusively for the track and the businesses that make those products—despite Congressional intent.

A bipartisan bill now pending in the U.S. Congress would make it clear now and in the future that modification of street vehicles for competition is legal and beyond the reach of EPA regulations. The RPM Act addresses any doubts regarding regulation of race cars and gives the public and race car industry much-needed certainty regarding how the Clean Air Act is applied.

The Open House provided racing enthusiasts and SEMA members with a number of opportunities to engage with their lawmakers, customers, families, and friends about the RPM Act and the need to protect the future of motorsports.

If you ever wondered where a company’s membership dues for SEMA went, a bunch of it went to create the SEMA Garage to help the industry work with regulations from Washington. Covering 15,000 square feet and filled with nearly $2 million of equipment, the SEMA Garage includes all the tools specialty product developers could hope for and then some, including two vehicle lifts, a portable coordinate measuring machine (CMM) for 3D scanning, a 3D printer for fast prototyping, digital race car scales for the most precise vehicle weight measurements, a dynamometer for power output measurements and more. If you don’t know what SEMA is, it’s the Specialty Equipment Market Association and can be found at SEMA.org.