Show Review 2018

Köln Messe once again played host to Professional MotorSport World Expo, and over the course of the three-day event (November 7-9, 2018), more than 4,000 attendees came through the doors. The 13th edition of the show saw more than 230 exhibitors present their latest developments, including a number of exciting and innovative new technologies.

Highlights from the floor at PMW Expo 2018 included Motordrive’s unveiling of its new four- and six-point mounted FIA8862-2009 competition seats. The UK-manufactured seats have a carbon seat shell weight of 7.9kg, and are back- and floor-mounted to ensure optimal safety and feedback from the car.

Cosworth also introduced its newest ECU at PMW Expo 2018. “What we did with the Antares 8 is, develop upon the logging system from our highest-level CLU together with the 8-cylinder GDI / PFI capability of the MQ12Di and put it into one box,” said Joe Dix, senior key account manager at Cosworth. “We are in talks to offer the Antares system out for a full series introduction, but really the Antares can cater for a full range of applications.”

Elsewhere, Bosch Motorsport unveiled its latest vehicle control unit. Equipped with integrated 100kHz logging and real-time Ethernet functionality to exchange data between devices, the VCU will feature in Season 5 of the Formula E championship.

Ricardo, meanwhile, detailed plans to upgrade its performance transmission test facilities at its Midlands Technical Centre in Leamington Spa. The test rigs, which will be completed in 2019, will see first use with a number of top tier Formula E customers who have selected Ricardo transmissions for Season 5.

ZF took the opportunity to discuss its new TCR suspension system. Already homologated for use in the TCR SEAT León, Audi RS3 and VW Golf, the high-strength aluminium suspension is designed to be lightweight and bend-proof. “Our latest suspension product, the ZF Race TCR Suspension, has been so popular that it has actually sold out,” said Olivier Lardon, a member of the ZF chassis technology team.

Racetech provided an update on its latest range of entry-level seats. “We’re looking at getting the FIA approval, so we expect February will be the first time the new seats are introduced,” said David Phillips, Racetech’s national sales manager. “By the time that we’ve completed testing it will be the end of January, and then it’s just a matter of getting the results through to the FIA.”

Also of note was South African brake company Powerbrake’s expansion of its X-Line brake kit. The addition of a 380 x 34mm disc means the company now offers discs ranging from 325mm in diameter up to 380mm.

Over the three days, the free-to-attend workshop program – with a total of 30 speakers – provided expert advice on a number of subjects including data analysis, aerodynamic optimisation, vehicle setup and suspension design.

With presentations in both German and English, the standout workshops on Day 1 were former Nürburgring VLN race lap record holder Nico Verdonck’s guide to earning the fastest lap possible at the German track, and Belicon Motorsport CEO Ralph Puetz’s tips on greater aerodynamic optimisation.

Day 2 of the workshop program saw Martin Flick, head of motorsport at Thyssenkrupp Bilstein, and Christian Moldenhauer, development engineer for the company, discussing damper technology, while specifically taking a detailed look at patch load variations. Meanwhile on the English-speaking stage, Jonas Jarlmark Näfver – the automotive R&D manager for Öhlins Racing – looked at how to connect shake rig analysis with results on track.

The final day of the show again played host to a round of intriguing workshops, with KW Automotive’s director of motorsport, Thomas Rechenberg, discussing performance optimisation for customer race cars, while Hervé Dechipre, aerodynamicist and CFD engineer for Volkswagen Motorsport, detailed the development of the ID R Pikes Peak and all of the challenges involved.

Professional MotorSport World Expo Awards

The 2018 PMW Awards saw Jonathan Palmer, chief executive of the MSV Group, scoop the prize for Outstanding Contribution to Motorsport, as a result of his work with Donington Park, Brands Hatch, Cadwell Park, Oulton Park and Snetterton race circuits.

MSV Group-owned Donington Park took the award for the Motorsport Facility of the Year. The UK circuit has been the subject of a multi-million pound investment to provide a hard surface and power and water to Paddock 3 for the first time. The circuit has also seen the recent development of larger, more modern toilet facilities with increased capacity and improved baby changing facilities and disabled access.

With PMW Expo especially known for the range of technology on show, the Motorsport Technology of the Year Award was of great interest, with Integral Powertrain walking away with the title for its inverter and motor as fitted in the record-breaking Volkswagen ID R Pikes Peak challenger.

Winner of the 2018 International Race Car of the Year was BMW Motorsport’s M4 GT4. Developed with a focus on maximum mileage, cost-efficiency and ease of maintenance, the result is a reliable GT4 car that incorporates all of BMW Motorsport’s expertise.

The BTCC West Surrey Racing Team BMW were awarded the European Race Series Team of the Year. On a historic final day of the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch, Colin Turkington and Team BMW clinched a triple crown.

Perhaps the award that means the most to its winner is the UK Young Rally Driver of the Year. And the 2018 award was given to Rob Cotton. The young driver first started racing quad-bikes before taking the step up to rally driving, challenging in the Formula 1000 Rally club with a Toyota iQ that he rebuilt from the ground up.

Visitor and exhibitor feedback

Throughout the three days of the show, both exhibitors and visitors were impressed with the wide array of companies that were in attendance, and with the level of expertise on display.

“Professional MotorSport World Expo Awards and the Expo itself have grown tremendously over its 13 years – it is the international show that really matters to the trade,” said Jonathan Palmer, chief executive of the MSV Group. “Congratulations to Tony Robinson and his team.”

For Juergen Klipfel, team chief at Klipfel Racing, Professional MotorSport World Expo continues to represent the best collection of technology in the motorsport industry. “I come here every year. For me personally, I think that this is the most important show for motorsport in the world. It’s so good to know what new technology is out there for teams to use.”

And PMW Expo remains the place to make contacts and strike deals, as Christoph Homik, VT Engineer at Herr, explained: “I came here looking for lightweighting products and it’s a great show to meet suppliers because there is always something new. You never know what you’ll find.”

Exhibitors were equally full of praise. For Joe Dix of Cosworth, this year’s show highlighted the range of deals vendors can make at PMW Expo. “There is a good mix of both entry-level bespoke technology brands, and then there are the likes of Cosworth, Bosch, ZF and Ricardo. As a result of that, people that come to the stand can either be building one cost-sensitive car or they’re responsible for buying 500 car kits. It’s a good mix.”

For regular visitor Dennis Haggblom of Haggblom Motorsport, the show was an ideal place to speak with existing suppliers: “I have my own company, and I have come to PMW Expo for the last two years. It is a great chance to meet potential new suppliers with so many companies in one place.”

For Viktor Ferder, performance engineer at Team BMW Schnitzer Motorsport, PMW Expo is the ideal opportunity to create relationships and boost existing relationships. “I come to the Expo because it allows you to meet suppliers, but it isn’t just that, it also gives me the chance to speak face-to-face with suppliers that we are currently working with.”

Professional MotorSport World Expo will return to the Köln Messe in Germany in 2019. The dates for your diary are 11-13 November, 2019.

Photo Gallery

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Exhibitor Videos



Grainger & Worrall


ZF Race Engineering




Pipo Moteurs



Integral Powertrain

Barcelona Motorsport Equipment


Intercomp Europe

Protec Fuel Systems

St Cross Electronics

VP Racing Fuels

Future Show: Professional MotorSport World Expo 2020, 11-13 November 2020, Cologne, Germany (provisional)