What Do You Really Know About SFI....
By George Klass (4-06-10)
What Is the SFI Foundation, Inc.?
The SFI Foundation, Inc. (SFI) is a non-profit organization
established to issue and administer standards for specialty/performance
automotive and racing equipment.
What do the letters "SFI" Stand for?
SFI was originally a foundation run by
SEMA, the automotive aftermarket trade organization. The letters "SFI"
stood for "SEMA Foundation, Inc." Although SFI is now completely
independent from SEMA, the Foundation has retained the name SFI
Foundation, Inc. but the "S" no longer means SEMA.
Who Uses SFI Standards?
Manufacturers of equipment are the primary users of SFI standards.
Some standards are adopted as part of the rules of race sanctioning
organizations. Ultimately, the consumer benefits from the program as it
establishes recognized levels of performance or quality for a product.
How is the SFI Standards Program Funded?
SFI, as a non-profit
corporation, has three primary sources of income. The first is
participation fees from manufacturers who certify their products to SFI
Quality Assurance Specifications. There
are one-time fees, and are very small. The second is grants from
motorsports sanctioning bodies that incorporate SFI Quality Assurance
Specifications within their rules and regulations. These grants are
based on the size of the sanctioning body and its schedule of events,
and the various SFI programs and services provided. The third is SFI's
primary source of income, which comes from the sale of its Conformance
Labels to manufacturers. Were SFI to be deprived of this source of
income, it works a severe financial hardship on SFI, and it would be
unable to carry out its mission to the motorsports industry and racing
community. The cost to the manufacturer is based on quantity, and the
expenses involved in a particular spec's development and administration.
There is also a fourth
source of income, which is the SFI Test Laboratory in
Escondido, California. This provides
approximately 15% of SFI's income.
How is a Standard Initiated?
The SFI Technical Committee initiates
the specification process, typically at the request of the affected
industry or race sanctioning body.
How is participation obtained?
SFI encourages industry-wide
participation in the drafting of specifications. However, once a
standard is enacted, participation by the manufacturer is strictly
What about Enforcement?
Typically, there are policing
provisions through contractual or licensing agreements whereby SFI may
inspect the records and/or equipment of a manufacturer in order to
ascertain that the product involved meets SFI Specs. Once a manufacturer
has voluntarily committed to participating in the program, it must
comply with the specifications in all respects.
How are the specs used in Racing?
When adopted as part of the rules of a race
sanctioning body, enforcement is entirely up to that organization. The
manufacturer then provides the racer with product that is in compliance
with the specs enforced by the sanctioning body.
1963, a group of racing products manufacturers formed an association
known as the Speed Equipment Manufacturers Association, or SEMA.
Original organizers deemed the central purpose of the association to be
the development of products specifications for use by the suppliers of
equipment used in racing. The products performance specs would be among
the chief functions of SEMA.
In those early days, SEMA's
pioneers struggled with the development and implementation of various
product specifications. Many "unknowns" faced the innovative
entrepreneurs in areas of design criteria, testing and promulgation of
specifications. But their dedication to the industry and racing won out
and it wasn't long before the specifications were accepted and formed a
part of sanctioning body rule books.
Eventually, if certain products on
a vehicle didn't "meet SEMA specs," the owner could be denied
participating in a motorsports event. A specs program for the
performance products industry was born and has continued for many years
as a result of the determination of the founders of SEMA.
The Specs Program Becomes More Specialized
a decade after its inception, SEMA turned its attention and resources to
the increasingly important matters of legislation and governmental
regulation, marketing projects, the SEMA Show and various other
activities common to a professional trade association serving the
interests of an ever-changing, progressive industry. The specs program
became the responsibility of the SEMA Service Bureau, an organization
whose operations were exclusively in the field of product specifications
and testing programs.
In time, the need for yet a more
sophisticated specifications program became apparent. A new
organization, the SEMA Foundation, Inc., or SFI, was formed to replace
the Service Bureau, chartered to organize and manage an expanded
industry specs program. That name has been shortened to SFI Foundation,
SFI spins-off from SEMA
a proud beginning, SFI now operates as a foundation independent from
SEMA, yet dependent on all segments of the industry it serves, both for
funding and participation. SFI maintains its own managerial staff and
oversees technical committees. The Foundation is funded by companies
which voluntarily participate in the specs program, along with financial
support from member sanctioning bodies. As a result of this support, SFI
has developed programs for almost eighty different products used by
manufacturers, motorsports groups, and consumers worldwide.
SFI has been an independent
foundation apart from its parent association, SEMA, now called the
Specialty Equipment Marketing Association, for many years and no longer
stands for SEMA Foundation, Inc. SFI currently provides an expansive
specs program because years ago a handful of manufacturers decided to
"do something" to improve the quality of their industry's products.
The SFI Foundation, Inc. offers two
levels of participation for sanctioning bodies: membership and
affiliation. The first level is the Affliate Program which allows a
sanctioning body to use and include SFI specifications in its rules. A
sanctioning body must have a formal agreement with SFI at this basic
level in order to cite the SFI copyrighted standards in its rules.
There is also an advanced level of
participation in SFI known as the Member Sanctioning Body Program. In
addition to using existing SFI specs, other services available to a
member organization include the development of new application-specific
standards, technical personnel training and certification, and on-track
incident response training.
Here is a partial list of SFI Member
and Affiliate organizations, from around the world, starting with the
drag racing sanctioning bodies and organizations:
American Drag Racing League (ADRL)
American Hot Rod Association (AHRA)
All Harley Drag Racing Association (AHDRA)
Australian National Drag Racing
Association (ANDRA, Australia)
Battle of the Imports (BOTI)
Drag Racing Verniging eXplosion
Federation Internationale de
I’Automobile – Drag Racing (FIA – Drag Racing, France)
Finnish Hot Rod Association (FHRA,
International Hot Rod Association (IHRA)
National Hot Rod Association (NHRA)
National Jet Racing Association (NJRA)
National Muscle Car Association (NMCA)
National Mustang Racers Association (NMRA)
New Zealand Drag Racing Association (NZDRA,
Outlaw Street Madness (OSM)
Pacific Street Car Association (PSCA)
Santa Pod Racers Club (SPRC, England)
Swedish Automobile Sport Federation
Dragracing Committee (Sweden)
Svensk Drag Racing (SDR, Sweden)
U.S. Hot Rod Association (USHRA)
Vintage Racing Associates (Goodguys/VRA)
A partial list of other SFI Members
and Affiliates in other forms of motorsports include:
American Power Boat Association (APBA)
American Late Model Series (ALMS)
ASA Late Model Series (ASALMS)
Alaska Sports Car club (ASCC)
Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA)
Canadian Association of Rallysport
Confederation of Australian Motor
Sport (CAMS, Australia)
Diesel Sport Productions, Thunder in
East Coast Timing Association (ECTA)
Formula Drift Holdings, LLC (Formula
International Council of Sports Car
Clubs (ICSCC, U.S. & Canada)
International Kart Federation (IKF)
International Motor Contest
Indy Racing League (IRL)
Illinois Tractor Pulling Association (ITPA)
Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series (LODBRS)
Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League (LOPPL)
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS)
Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (LOORRS)
Mid-America Racing Series (MARS)
Monster Truck Racing Association (MTRA)
Motorsport New Zealand (MSNZ, New
National Association of Stock Car
National Association of Diesel
National Association of Speedway
Racing (NASR, Australia)
National Dirt Racers Association (NDRA,
National Jet Boat Association (NJBA)
National Mud Racing Organization (NMRO)
National Off Road Racing Series (NORRS)
National Tractor Pullers Association (NTPA)
Norwegian Automobile Sport Federation
Outlaw Truck and Tractor Pulling
Oval Racing Council International (ORCI,
Quarter Midgets of America (QMA)
SAE Collegiate Design Series (SAE CDS)
Sports Car Club of America (SCCA)
Southern California Timing Association
Southern Drag Boat Association (SDBA)
Speedway New Zealand (SNZ)
Swedish Automobile Sport Federation (SASF/SBF,
United States Auto Club (USAC)
U.S. Pullers Association (USPA)
Vintage Motorsports Council (VMC)
World Karting Association (WKA)
World of Outlaws Late Model Series (WoO
World of Outlaws Sprint Series (WoO
As I mentioned, this is only a
partial list. And you thought that SFI was only involved in drag
racing? Not true. SFI is involved in all forms of motorsports, and
with only one objective. To insure that racing organizations have an
avenue that they can go to in order to test and certify race related
components, to create minimum safety standards (the Specs program), and
to help keep racers alive, world wide.
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