Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act

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Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act

The “Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act” clarifies that it is legal under federal law to modify the emissions system of a motor vehicle that is converted for race-use-only. If passed, the legislation will protect Americans’ right to modify street vehicles into dedicated racecars and industry’s right to sell the parts that enable racers to compete.


The U.S. Congress exempted race vehicles from regulation under the Clean Air Act in 1970. However, in 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asserted that it is illegal to convert a motor vehicle into a racecar if the vehicle’s emissions system no longer remains in its certified configuration. The agency alleges that the Clean Air Act exemption only applies to purpose-built race vehicles (NASCAR, Formula One, sprint cars, etc.). EPA is also claiming authority over any emissions-related parts produced, sold, and installed on motor vehicles converted for racing.

Since the Clean Air Act’s enactment, SEMA is unaware of a single instance in which the EPA previously took the position that the law applies to motor vehicles converted for race-use-only purposes. Before the EPA announced its new interpretation in 2015, industry had a clear understanding that these vehicles are excluded from the Clean Air Act. 


The Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act:

  • Confirms that it has always been Congress’ intent that racecars are not included in the Clean Air Act’s definition of regulated “motor vehicles.” 
  • Makes clear that it has always been legal to modify a street vehicle into a racecar used exclusively at the track.
  • Confirms that modifying these vehicles for exclusive track use would not be considered tampering and subject to substantial fines.


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