No. 972
November 14, 2018
 

About The Autoextremist

@PeterMDeLorenzo

Author, commentator, influencer. The Consigliere. Minister of the High-Octane Truth. Editor-in-Chief of .

Peter DeLorenzo has been in and around the sport of racing since the age of ten. After a 22-year career in automotive marketing and advertising, where he worked on national campaigns as well as creating many motorsports campaigns for various clients, DeLorenzo established Autoextremist.com on June 1, 1999. Over the years DeLorenzo's commentaries on racing and the business of motorsports have resonated throughout the industry. Because of the burgeoning influence of those commentaries, DeLorenzo has directly consulted automotive clients on the fundamental direction and content of their motorsports programs. DeLorenzo is considered to be one of the most influential voices commenting on the sport today.

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Fumes


Monday
Nov122018

WHERE ARE WE, EXACTLY?

Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. As I get further and further removed from contemporary racing and to be honest, less and less interested, I think it's time to give a hearing to my latest thoughts on the subject of the current state of racing. Ever since the relentless march of technology began to swallow the sport whole in the 70s, racing became a game of restrictions and specifications. Was it inevitable? Yes. Was it avoidable? No. To put this idea in context, we all realize that Indy cars lapping the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 250+ mph doesn't make for a sustainable future. One incident of a racing machine cartwheeling into the stands and the consequences for the sport would be unimaginable and catastrophic. So, where are we, exactly?

Formula 1: Nothing has changed for me when it comes to F1. Though I appreciate the sparkling talents of the drivers and the creativity of the technical people involved, F1 is still too sterile, too antiseptic, too predictable and too boring. The races hinge upon which driver arrives at Turn 1 first, and then they play out from there. The biggest teams populate the first third of the starting grid with the rest of the field comprised of "B" or "junior" teams. The sound of the engines is soporific and the entire circus drones on with a dull cadence that is hard to mask. I cringe at the thought of the people involved in formulating the "next" rules for F1 because I think it's inevitable that they'll screw it up somehow, starting with the idea that the cars will have to mirror the coming advanced technology for passenger cars. And that would be a monumental mistake. We already have Formula E to put us all to sleep, which is why F1 needs to be diametrically opposed to what's happening in FE. F1 cars need to be less encumbered with technology, powered by loud, evocative, high-horsepower engines - as in, "bring back the scream" with something along the lines of 1200HP - and it needs to showcase the drivers wrestling high-powered cars with minimal technology. It may not be consistent with the politically correct winds that are blowing so strongly, but it would certainly bring back the excitement to a type of racing so desperately in need of it.

IndyCar: The new cars are much more pleasing to look at but this series is in desperate need of a third engine manufacturer to make things interesting. I'd also replace as many of the street races with natural-terrain road courses as possible (including Belle Isle, in case you were wondering). Street course races are uninspiring and tedious and I will forever refer to them as "CSS" races, meaning the average race enthusiast Can't See Shit. I'd also allow for different road course specs for the engines, allowing for 200-300 more horsepower. I want to see the drivers wrestling high-powered machines with obvious skill that's beyond us mere mortals. That shouldn't be too much to ask.

IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship: It's going in the right direction but I would drop GTD and combine it with GTLM, equalizing the specs so all of the cars run as close in times as GTLM does now. Then, I would create a new GTX class, which would take the GTLM class and up the power to a nice, round, 1000HP. I would give the top prototype class a corresponding boost in power as well so that the new GTX class wouldn't out run them (although I must admit, nothing would make me happier). And I'd give the schedule a serious look as well. I know "consistency of schedule" from year to year is a very big deal to race promoters and sponsors, but it's clear to me that some slots on the calendar could be seriously improved with better tracks.

NASCAR: What can I possibly say about NASCAR that I haven't already said? Not much, it turns out. The schedule needs to be cut by ten weekends, more road races need to be added to the compressed schedule, and new road course-specific cars need to be built that mimic the new merged IMSA GTD/GTLM class. As a matter of fact, NASCAR's new road racing cars should in fact be GTLM cars. Nothing is going to change, however, although the declining sponsor situation and the new pennies-on-the-dollar TV contracts looming just may force NASCAR to make fundamental changes. But that won't come until 2022, if it happens at all.

MotoGP: I like it just the way it is and to me it remains the most compelling motor racing on earth. And I hope it stays that way.

And that's the High-Octane Truth for this week.

 

(petelyons.com photo)

 Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, September 3, 1967. Stirling Moss drives the Camaro pace car for the start of the Can-Am at Road America as Bruce McLaren (No. 4 McLaren Cars Ltd. McLaren M6A Chevrolet); Denny Hulme (No. 5 McLaren Cars Ltd. McLaren M6A Chevrolet); Dan Gurney (No. 36 All American Racers Inc. Lola T70 Mk.3B Ford); George Follmer (No. 16 Penske Racing Lola T70 Mk.2 Chevrolet); Mark Donohue (No. 6 Penske Racing Lola T70 Mk.3B Chevrolet); Chuck Parsons (No. 26 Carl Haas Automobile Imports McLaren Elva Mark III Chevrolet); John Surtees (No. 7 Team Surtees Limited Lola T70 Mk.3B Chevrolet); Peter Revson (No. 52 Peyton Cramer/Dana Chevrolet Lola T70 Mk.3 Chevrolet) Jim Hall (No. 66 Chaparral Cars Chaparral 2G Chevrolet) and Lothar Motchenbacher (No. 11 Peyton Cramer/Dana Chevrolet Lola T70 Mk.3 Chevrolet) line up for the start. Hulme won that day, followed by Donohue, Surtees and Hall.