Recipe for Racing
By Annie Sam
Being a fast road racer requires five main ingredients; 2 cups drivers skill, 1 cup killer suspension, ½ cup of grip, a dash of reliability, and of course, 2 tablespoons of horsepower. Now that you’ve learned the basics of racing, and driving through following the progress of Project Racer, let’s turn our attention to the next ingredient – horsepower. Though a detailed buildup of a Performance Touring race car could be found detailed in various other project vehicles on this site, what automotive project – project racer included – is complete without the mention of upgrading a racecar? After all, as project racer, I couldn’t race without building a racecar, now could I?
The first items on the list were the basic bolt-on’s; Header, exhaust, and a cold air intake. We opted for Hotshot to supply us with these bolt on parts because they had not only been tried and proven, they had time and time again performed beyond our expectations.
On that note, I would like to detour from the race car upgrade for a moment to talk about Hotshot Performance and the disease known as cheap, mass produced knock offs of performance parts that forced Hotshot to close its doors. If you didn't know, Hotshot was a company that made high quality headers for compact cars that were pretty good but not exactly mainstream, cars like Saturn, the Dodge Neon, Ford Focus, Sentra SE-R, Toyota Corolla, you know the type that didn't get all the love from the aftermarket.
Some people might say that it is tough competition, and that Hotshot closing its doors is a fact of life in the game of capitalism. But people don’t realize that some of these cheaper products that undercut the seemingly more expensive ones are only able to do so by stealing. How is it considered stealing, and what are they stealing? Designs are stolen by copying original products. Along with initial capital, hours upon hours were spent on research and development in products that were designed and seen to fruition. So, before companies like Hotshot were able to recoup their costs in development of the product, knock off companies like OBX swooped in and took all the profits by steaing the design and then selling their cheaper, lower quality products for a fraction of their competitors’ price.
Sure it seems enticing that you would be able to get the knock off’s for a fraction of the cost of their competitors, but you know what they say; you get what you pay for. Besides the fact that they’re low quality products made with cheap metal and bad welding, you can be sure that they were produced with lowering overhead costs in mind – not raising performance standards for your vehicle. And that’s the difference that set Hotshot apart from the mass producers from overseas – quality versus quantity. Cheap made-in-China parts undermine companies that are the heart of the ingenuity of performance development. If knock-off companies run out legitimate companies like AEM, and Hotshot , who would be left to develop new products?
Want a header or cold air intake for your B16 Sentra nowadays? Well tough shit because none of the knock off companies are able to design one and Hotshot is gone. None of the bigger companies are gonna bother making much for the car either.
With that being said; the lack of understanding of how these shady companies hurt the aftermarket performance industry and what poor quality parts these cheapie companies produce, real contributors to the industry such as Hotshot, are too often forced to close their doors. I hope that more people can see these fraudulent companies for what they are, and not support them.