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A different world

31 October 2017

Writing this from Las Vegas where I am attending the SEMA Show, admittedly more on behalf of Track Car Performance than Race Tech, I cannot help but wonder whether we are seeing a complete divergence when it comes to motorsport between Europe and North America.

The SEMA Show, which is all about the after-market, is a massive celebration of the car and engine, EVs and hybrids hardly get a look in.

The question is whether this is a one-off event that bears little to no relation to the rest of the country, or is in fact more a reflection of the enthusiasm for all things motoring. I also cannot help feel that if we were to hold the forthcoming World Motorsport Symposium in the US, the theme wouldn’t be Back to Basics – Can Mature Technologies Make a Comeback? because mature technologies ie the internal combustion engine is simply not under threat here. I cannot hear the mayor of a major city, even in California, coming out against the car as we are experiencing in the UK and Europe.

I know that Tesla is American but I actually believe it is a busted flush. The breakthrough promises have never materialised and the production numbers are simply unrealistic at this stage. Naturally, all the American carmakers are developing electric and hybrid vehicles, but that’s because they have to.

It doesn’t mean that there is a market in North America holding its breath for them. I think the conditions in the US are completely different, apart from cities like New York and San Francisco, so the demands are different, which brings me back to SEMA. This exhibition is an unadulterated celebration of the car in all its very many forms. The engine is here to stay and that fact should be reflected in motorsport.

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