The 2012 PRI Trade Show is well on the way to being one of the most successful in the Show’s 25-year history, as big crowds and enthusiastic buyers and exhibitors were on display at the Orange County Convention in Orlando, Florida, on Thursday.
The event is widely viewed as the three biggest business days in auto racing.
The day began with a packed opening day breakfast as SPEED’s Dave Despain opened the show with a live version of the popular Wind Tunnel program.
John Force, the 15-time NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car Champion and driver of the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford, headlined the show along with SPEED television personality Robin Miller.
“We had a very good opening today,” said John Kilroy, PRI Trade Show producer. “John Force and Dave Despain kicked off the day with a great live edition of Wind Tunnel. We had lots of buyers in the aisles. Everyone is talking and doing business. We couldn’t have asked for a better opening day.”
Attendees arrived early and were prepared to buy as companies looked to grow their businesses and introduce new product.
“Things are going great,” said Ron Celendano of CV, which produces valve train components for everything from local short tracks to Formula 1. “We’ve had a lot of people come through and we’re very excited. We’re showcasing a lot of new products to people and a lot of new programs.”
“We’ve had a good crowd today especially for being opening day,” relayed Andrew Casselberry of Ford Racing, which had a variety of cars on display. “It started off a little slow, but then for three or four hours we were really busy. We’re happy and tomorrow should be even busier. We’re able to display some of our crate engines here, where other shows we really haven’t had the opportunity to do that. We’re really excited to get our hardcore parts out.”
Attendees were just as pleased as the exhibitors.
“We came to buy,” said Hank Moore, of Advanced Auto Fabrications, who traveled almost 3,000 miles from Spokane, Wash. “We’ll spend the whole time here, look at everything and try to get our hands around what’s here, what’s coming and what we need to work with. This is our first time here at the PRI Show and we found product here that we didn’t know existed. We spent time on Machinery Row and time with some engine management companies. We also met with suppliers that we had never actually met, so it’s nice to be able to get face-to-face interaction.”
In addition to the action on the show floor, Aston Martin Racing and The Racer’s Group used the PRI Trade Show to announce the formation of a multi-faceted factory-supported effort in North America in 2013, encompassing the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, the American Le Mans Series and the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
The 25th Annual PRI Trade Show features the latest product lines of over 1000 manufacturers of racing and high-performance automotive components, as well as precision machining equipment. It will be attended by approximately 38,000 racing business people from all over the United States, and more than 70 countries. For more information, go to www.performanceracing.com/tradeshow.