How to sell 48 race cars during a recession

By Freddie Heaney
Photographs by Moore Good Ink

TMI AutoTech, exoskeleton-style cars, 2.4-liter high-performance British road car, Ariel atom Alton VA: WHEN A RACE CAR MANUFACTURER EXCELS IN THE WORST RECESSION SINCE 1929, IT NAGS AT YOU UNTIL YOU FIND OUT WHY AND HOW IT OCCURRED.

In 2008 at the bottom of the recession TMI AutoTech, based at Virginia International Raceway, acquired the North American rights to manufacture and distribute the remarkable Ariel Atom. A curious and minimal, exoskeleton-style 2.4-liter high-performance British road car, it had captured the attention of Europeans in droves. With styling that subscribes closely to the Ariel Atom 3, TMI AutoTech introduced the Spec Race Atom. Suddenly orders rolled in and US enthusiasts took to the track, starting at VIR.

Chassis, Atom exoskeleton, Race car frameWhen asked the question: How did you sell 48 race cars during a recession, TMI AutoTech’s, Mark Swain says, “Being based at a race track helps. Enthusiasts enjoy the thrill of racing cars and doing track days. But at $47,500 the car represents great value for money. Businessmen told their partners, partners told their sons, and soon we had a full grid.”

2013 race season begins June 1st

Areil Atom trailerNow in its third year, the 2013 Spec Race Atom season begins June 1st. With twenty-one cars taking to the starting grid, it will be their biggest race entry to date. Weighing 1315lbs and generating 230hp all Spec Race Atoms are identical in performance.

At Virginia International Raceway, TMI established a unique business model. In addition to creating a well-organized racing series that takes place at a fine club track, they bring the race cars to the circuit, provide trackside assistance, store the race cars at the track and prepare them for the next event.

Two thousand, four-hundred miles away at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch, Spec Race Atoms debuted at their first winter series in February this year. As discovered earlier in the East, the announcement of a Winter Series at the fine Spring Mountain facilities at Pahrump, Nevada attracted new west coast buyers seeking the same concept that worked so well at VIR. For the Winter Series, TMI transported some cars to the Nevada resort in two 53ft haulers and flew out 6 technicians to provide all necessary services. Wiring an atom, race car wires

A business model for the advantage of all racers

Undoubtedly part of TMI AutoTech’s success lies in the fact that it is owned by three bright, seasoned entrepreneurs. But creative minds alone could not sustain their program without the resources to get ambitious projects underway and the resilience to keep them going.

Within the next few weeks they’ll be announcing the opening of TMI Racing Products in the North Paddock at VIR. This is a motor sport supply shop near the paddock that not only allows all racers access to spares and accessories but also makes conference rooms available to manufacturers and others for technical seminars.

TMI AutoTech staff, Welding front uprightIt’s also worth noting that TMI’s factory is a two-minute drive from the store. There, in the service department, they have staff on call every day that VIR is operating.* These technicians perform whatever’s required: welding, alignment, servicing. In short TMI AutoTech has created a business model that appeals to racers and to race car buyers. They also have a genius for creating relationships which holds the key to the company’s long term prosperity.

Ariel atom frame, front chassis* VIR, owned by two ladies, encouragingly, is a busy race track. Operating around 390 days each year it has three configurations: North circuit, South circuit and Full circuit.

For further information contact:
TMI AutoTech
1025 Raceplex Road #A,
Alton, VA 24520
Telephone (434) 822-9130
www.arielatom.com

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