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Panel Discussions, Webcast to Highlight SAE Motorsports Conference

Warrendale, PA, Nov. 2, 2004 - A business panel featuring key leaders of the automotive racing world will take center stage at the 2004 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Motorsports Engineering Conference & Exhibition. The conference takes place on Nov. 30 - Dec. 2, 2004 at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn, Mich. Developed around the conference theme, "Change for Relevance," opening remarks will be by conference honorary general chair Herb Fishel, CEO, The Business of Motorsports; and the keynote address will be by Max Mosley, President of the FIA.

This premiere conference will be strategically important for those who want to identify the challenges and opportunities as the motorsports industry changes. Today, racing sanctioning organizations are taking actions to address the issues of cost, safety, speed, entertainment, competitiveness and the cost/value relationship. These topics are central to all sanctioning organizations and are the driving forces for new technical and sporting regulations. These regulations directly impact technology, engineers, automotive manufacturers and high-performance-industry suppliers. Whether the rules are new or revised, they focus on current and emerging issues. The information that will be provided at this conference is relevant because it represents the opportunities for all attendees. In short, it provides the framework for responsible engineering and reinforcement for the value of participation in motorsports.

The scheduled Executive Business Panel on Tuesday, November 30, brings together for the first time the heads of the leading sanctioning bodies: Max Mosley, FIA; Tony George, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League; Mike Helton, NASCAR; Tom Compton, National Hotrod Association (NHRA); and Steve Johnson, Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). Paul Pfanner, president of RACER Magazine, will serve as the panel moderator.

For the first time, the conference will take an in-depth look at the extreme sports of Motocross and Snocross in two sessions scheduled for Wednesday, December 1. Another highlight of Wednesday will be the SAE Motorsports Engineering Conference Banquet, featuring Neil Ressler, former head of Jaguar Racing and Vice President of Ford Motor Company. Rounding out the event is an extensive program of technical sessions covering all aspects of racing from aerodynamics to engines, and an exhibit of many new products and services for race teams, plus racing vehicles of interest to all attendees.

Another highlight of the conference will be "The Relevance of Energy Efficiency for the Future of Motorsports Panel," which will be offered in a Telephone/Webcast format. This panel will focus on the opportunities that exist for the Motorsports industry by embracing energy-efficient technologies.

Discussions will center on technical and business opportunities. This panel will be moderated by Chris Aylett, CEO, Motorsport Industry Association. This panel is free to anyone attending the conference. Those not attending the conference can register for the Telephone/Webcast by visiting

Other scheduled panels include:

  • Engine and Drivetrain Panel - Will look at the approaches taken by key motorsports series to increase engine reliability, control costs, and provide their audiences with exciting racing.
  • Young Engineers Panel - High performance and racing directors will talk about what they look for when they hire new team members. Panelists will also discuss the myths and realities of jobs in racing.
  • Safety Panel - Discussion will focus on the challenges faced to make the sport even safer while still preserving intense competition and fan appeal.
  • Vehicle Panel - This session will explore the challenges of cost containment, keeping current with new technology, and avoiding mistakes and dead ends in establishing and monitoring rules, and designing to meet them.

Speaking at the conference and receiving special awards or recognition are: Ross Brawn, Technical Director, Scuderia Ferrari, SAE Motorsports Engineering Achievement Award; Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Director, AudiSport, SEMA Award; Doug Louth, Corvette Team Manager, Pratt & Miller, SAE Motorsports Engineering Conference Award; and Dr. Marcus Krug, Head of Electrics/Electronics, Sports and Touring Cars, BMW Motorsports, Special Certificate of Merit for the Design of Adaptive Controls for Alex Zanardi's Racing Sedan.

In addition to motorsports engineers, other motorsports professionals and enthusiasts are encouraged to attend. For more information or details on the event or how to register, visit the SAE Web site at