Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Recap and 2013 Projections

2012 wound down very quickly, and what a year it has been!  We introduced a couple of dozen new products, set a Lotus track record at Buttonwillow, opened a race shop at Spring Mountain, sold more Atoms than ever before and sold through our first years allocation of BAC Monos.  The economy has continued to challenge us but we’ve kept our heads down and maintained our focus on high quality products and service.  2013 is forecast to be a stronger year for us as we continue to expand our offerings.  Light-weight sportscars remain our focus and here is what we have in store for 2013.

Lotus.  We are loyal and devoted to this brand as we feel their cars strike the best overall balance for a sportscar.  They are an absolute blast to drive on the road or track.  I feel the Elise/Exige variants are destined to be iconic cars that will be coveted for years to come – especially if the increasing resale values are any indication!  Lotus nailed the fundamentals with this platform.  We will continue to hone and polish these superb machines with new offerings. 

We continue to delve deeper into parts that keep these cars running – stock OE replacement as well as upgrades.  Finding suitable replacement parts for the consumables on this platform continues to be a priority for us.  Additionally we will continue to refine our own parts as needed – our proven gPAN2 was nicely enhanced in 2012 and is now the gPAN3.  As we find ways to continuously improve our parts, we will implement the changes that make the most sense.  
We had a successful year running our Art Car (’04/'05 Elise) piloted by Glen Irani in Lotus Cup.  Glen is an amazing driver and set the Lotus track record at Buttonwillow with a 1min53s lap in our car.  See video below.  Parts like our raceUPRIGHTS, drySUMPraceRACK allowed us to compete with 211s and sometimes beat them.  The Lotus Cup series had a change in management late in the season that caused some confusion, but is now well prepared for 2013.  The Spec Elise class is growing and promises to be the most competitive class with well over a dozen cars queuing up for 2013.  We will be back on board as an active sponsor of this series.

The biggest black cloud that faces the Lotus community is the number of blown engines and transmissions.  We continue to work hard to develop solutions that can make the car more reliable with track use.  We want customers to have fun with these cars and recognize that limits exist and when breached, will result in broken cars and frustration.  Simplify and add lightness could not be a more fitting slogan...I continue to believe that the simplest cars remain the most reliable.

Fabrication and testing of our new subframe will begin in 2013.  We think this will give our clients some interesting powertrain options moving forward.  We have several other items that we are testing including spherical bearings and reinforced shifter housings.  Our success with new transmission solutions in 2012 fell short.  We've not given up and have a few ideas that we will continue to work on.

Ariel.  We sold a brace of new Atoms this year and a couple of used ones as well.  It was a our best year yet.  The Spec:Race Atom (SRA) is a cool race version that runs fast and reliably.  TMI have run a very successful second season at ViR with the SRAs.   We have two race weekends scheduled in Feb & March and have 8-10 SRAs getting shipped from VA to our race at Spring Mountain.  We hope to have over 20 Atoms (SRA, Atom2 & Atom3) at each weekend.  Honda Racing are also expected to participate these weekends and bring along their staff and some race cars for us to drool over. 

TMI are introducing a new 2013 Atom3 that will have several enhancements over the 2012 cars.  A supercharged version is also coming that promises significant torque increase over the supercharged K20 powered cars.  I had a sneak peek of the dyno charts - this kit will be awesome!  

BAC.  We sold through our 2012 allocation of the exciting Mono.  We know that once the NorthAmerican sportscar community sees this car, they will go nuts.  The car is shockingly fast, utterly gorgeous and enviably rare.  This car is easily one of my all time favorite cars - just under the F1.   I predict our 2013 allocation will go quickly once we unveil this British beauty.

We have been building our first car and blogging about it.  Sector111 are writing the assembly manual as we fully assemble this car – we import it as a complete knock-down kit (CKD).   It has taken us longer to build this first car than we had expected, but we expect subsequent cars will go much quicker.  We have spent significant resource to scale this up and expect this effort to make us an even better lightweight sports car specialist.

Other Cars.  Alfa are returning with the 4C in late 2013 or 2014.  We've been anxiously awaiting this car since it was announced that they were building it with the US market in mind.  I honestly feel this car will be a proper Exige replacement as the specs make it a close competitor.  We will likely begin part development for the Jag F-type and add it to our Kappasphere division.  It looks like a sweet machine!

Commitment.   We will continue to support the Clubs, Forums and Race Series.  From the start, we have been committed to these organizations as they truly support our interests in these crazy lil cars.  Sector111 are fully committed to light sportscars and especially Lotus.  Recent diversification of our attention/resource has turned out to be a smart decision as Lotus has really been on a roller coaster ride.  We think that other light cars are coming and we will apply all our knowledge to improving or refining them.  I hope that Lotus finds its way again as I am a believer in their brand.  Ultimately we are dedicated to supporting you and will do our level best.

Free shipping has just recently been implemented on our website.  We know shipping costs are a concern and have been looking at ways to make it a non issue when you are deciding on parts.  Fedex/UPS/etc all raise their rates like clockwork each year - our shipping tables are directly connected to theirs.  We don't ship enough volume to get the lowest rates but are doing our best to keep the costs as low as possible.  For those of you who are placing sizable orders, we are offering you this additional savings.

I'm glad to report a few of you Pixies fans caught our joke...

I'm always humbled by the visits we receive from clients around the world.  Recently, we had clients stop into our Temecula office from Australia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Japan, England and more.  The Internet has really made connecting like-minded folk a relative breeze.  It is a pleasure to meet you and please don't hesitate to call or email me if you would like to stop in.

Thank you!  Again I would like to thank all of our customers.  Your continued support has allowed us to keep developing solutions, even in a troubled economy.  Without you, Sector111 could not continue.  I believe these niche vehicles are the coolest things on the planet and with your help, we will remained focused on them.

Happy New Year and a healthy and prosperous 2013 for us all!


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