How weird is this. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned that they are considering a regulatory framework that disallow enthusiasts from converting their production vehicles for motorsport use. Now think about this for a moment. First of all, there are the enthusiasts like me who build an old POS hatchback into a rallycross car, but there are also the huge assortment of local dirt track cars that started life as family cars. Now consider all of the various production-based Touring and GT series such as SCCA’s Pirelli World Challenge and Trans Am, IMSA’s TUDOR Sports Car Championship and Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge, and of course every single rally car in Rally America and the Global Rallycross Championship. If the modification of production cars into racing machines is made illegal by this regulation, it could be the demise of grassroots motorsport and GT racing in the US.
Thankfully, some powerful folk are keeping an eye on this. Below is the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) press release indicating their stance on the pending EPA action. What are your thoughts on this? Is this something that’s much ado about nothing, or should we be writing our representatives right now?
Official SEMA Press Release
EPA SEEKS TO PROHIBIT CONVERSION OF VEHICLES INTO RACECARS
— SEMA to Oppose Action as Threat to Modified Racecars and Parts Suppliers —
Washington, DC (February 8, 2016) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a regulation to prohibit conversion of vehicles originally designed for on-road use into racecars. The regulation would also make the sale of certain products for use on such vehicles illegal. The proposed regulation was contained within a non-related proposed regulation entitled “Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles—Phase 2.”
The regulation would impact all vehicle types, including the sports cars, sedans and hatch-backs commonly converted strictly for use at the track. While the Clean Air Act prohibits certain modifications to motor vehicles, it is clear that vehicles built or modified for racing, and not used on the streets, are not the “motor vehicles” that Congress intended to regulate.
“This proposed regulation represents overreaching by the agency, runs contrary to the law and defies decades of racing activity where EPA has acknowledged and allowed conversion of vehicles,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “Congress did not intend the original Clean Air Act to extend to vehicles modified for racing and has re-enforced that intent on more than one occasion.”
SEMA submitted comments in opposition to the regulation and met with the EPA to confirm the agency’s intentions. The EPA indicated that the regulation would prohibit conversion of vehicles into racecars and make the sale of certain emissions-related parts for use on converted vehicles illegal. Working with other affected organizations, including those representing legions of professional and hobbyist racers and fans, SEMA will continue to oppose the regulation through the administrative process and will seek congressional support and judicial intervention as necessary.
The EPA has indicated it expects to publish final regulations by July 2016.
SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association founded in 1963, represents the $36 billion specialty automotive industry of 6,633 member-companies. It is the authoritative source for research, data, trends and market growth information for the specialty auto parts industry. The industry provides appearance, performance, comfort, convenience and technology products for passenger and recreational vehicles. For more information, contact SEMA at 1575 S. Valley Vista Dr., Diamond Bar, CA 91765, tel: 909-610-2030, or visit www.sema.org.