September '19

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SEPTEMBER 2019 THE SHOP 51 dai yoshihara joe macasero from the pros to the weekend warriors, we cover it all. Clu tches bearings flywheels available through are putting into new cars these days. With a few exceptions, when talking performance, every car is fast these days compared to 20 or even 10 years ago. Aftermarket perfor- mance parts manufacturers have to spend much more R&D time making a part that performs better than the OE part with minimal drawbacks." KEEPING PACE Leitl is right. Trends do come and go. So, we asked what outside trend is currently having the greatest impact on the sport compact market. "I see two trends that are starting to have some effect," Hurwitz responds. "One is the slow but steady growth of electric vehi- cles. Consumers like electric cars, and as they get more affordable, I think that trend will continue. Electric cars have terrific off-the-line torque, so they can appeal to enthusiasts." The other trend is the widespread adop- tion of mobile technology and, with that, the rise of various ride-share services. "Many young people are postponing get- ting a car and a driver's license," he notes. "A lot of people can live without cars that could not have in the past. We haven't seen a direct impact on our business so far, but that's definitely something we are aware of." The still-growing social media phenom- enon is Floyd's subject. "Social media, now, almost completely drives what consumers purchase, and in turn, our marketing efforts," he explains. "It's the Wild West with little structure, indexing or business hours. It never stops, and it comes from all directions." His advice? "Embrace it, and you can control the nar- rative by delivering an incredible customer experience which results in an army of 24/7 customer support." Leitl's manufacturing viewpoint again focuses on vehicle performance. "Many of the models coming off the assembly line are already pretty darn good," he says. "In many cases it's really challenging to develop a part that actu- ally has a performance gain. With that said, most of the vehicle models I'm refer- ring to are turbocharged. A byproduct of turbocharging is often a pretty quiet or uninspiring exhaust note. In these cases, something as simple as an axle-back exhaust really finishes the car off and produces a smile every time you fire it up." Oden has seen a large demand from cus- tomers wanting to use ethanol-based fuels. "While not a new concept, the adaptation of sport compacts that were not originally compatible with ethanol-based fuels is a relatively cost-effective modification," he notes. "We see a lot of Nissan GTRs and legacy Nissan Skylines and have used the Garrett G-Series turbocharger technology with tremendous results. We are also seeing several customers swap a less- modification-friendly drivetrain for one that has proven time and again to respond well to modification. The Toyota 2JZ-GTE, the Nissan RB25/26, the Nissan VR38DETT, etc. The data supports using these power plants and it's not surprising to see cus- "The aver- age age of our customers is increas- ing, and so are their budgets," says Russell Floyd, founder/president of Z1 Motorsports in Carrollton, Georgia. (Photo courtesy Z1 Motorsports) Delivering an incredible customer experi- ence is a big part of servicing the sport compact crowd. (Photo courtesy Z1 Motorsports) Make a com- mitment to be the best in your niche. (Photos courtesy Z1 Mo- torsports)

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