No. 964
September 19, 2018

About The Autoextremist


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 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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April 21, 2010

It all comes right for the ALMS in Long Beach.

By Peter M. De Lorenzo

Long Beach.
As our Brit racing enthusiast friends might say, "It was a proper motor race." And then some. Forget the fact that the Long Beach street circuit suffers from intense "CSS" disease (can't see shit), and forget the fact that parts of the "track" are akin to racing around inside a shopping mall, the fact of the matter is that the American Le Mans Series put on a great show late Saturday afternoon here in Southern California, a show that even put the following day's IndyCar race to shame in terms of sheer intensity and drama.

The ALMS sprint race - which lasted approximately an hour and 40 minutes - was exactly what the series needed. Everything was present and accounted for in order for it to qualify as an excellent race, including intense on-track action throughout the four classes, boneheaded moves, and plenty of wheel-to-wheel action. And even better, the fight in all four classes went right down to the wire, culminating in Simon Pagenaud's masterful drive in his Highcroft Racing Honda Performance Development ARX-01c machine as he stalked Adrian Fernandez - driving the magnificent-sounding Aston Martin V12 - into making a mistake, with Fernandez' bobble on the last lap giving Pagenaud the opening he needed to slip by for the lead and the sensational win. It was dramatic. It was intense. And it was exactly what road racing fans have been clamoring for. Oh and this just in? Pagenaud is pretty good.

And the GT class battle - which now features simply the best road racing in this country since the heyday of the Trans-Am series from '68-'71 - was again fantastic, with Porsche, BMW, Ferrari and Corvette pounding on each other for the entire race in a frenzy of intense action. Jörg Bergmeister and Patrick Long ended up winning GT for Flying Lizard Motorsports, with Long, driving the duo’s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, finishing four seconds ahead of Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen and Johnny O’Connell in their C6R.

There were other stories at Long Beach, with the motor home conversations and maneuvering as intense as the on-track action, but I will save some of that for another time. Needless to say, the ALMS needs as much traction as they can possibly get until they can attract more manufacturers to their "green" racing series. And if they can deliver the kind of show they put on at Long Beach on a consistent basis - and keep pounding home the fact that they are basically the only major league racing series that provides manufacturers a forum to display their technical savvy while delivering high performance with high efficiency - then I am absolutely convinced that they can and will succeed.

Now, if someone would only put up a nice, round $100,000 to the winner for a special, one-off, 15-lap (60-mile) GT class shoot-out the day before the ALMS race at Road America in August as a blatant crowd pleaser, then the ALMS would really be on to something...


Publisher's Note: As part of our continuing series celebrating the "Glory Days" of racing, we're proud to present another noteworthy image from the Ford Racing Archives. - PMD

(Courtesy of the Ford Racing Archives)
Long Beach, California, 1977. Mario Andretti shown here in practice for the United States Grand Prix West, in Long Beach. Mario - driving the magnificent No. 5 Lotus 78-Ford - became the first American to win a Grand Prix on U.S. soil that weekend - Sunday, April 3rd - after waging a race-long battle with Niki Lauda (No. 11 Ferrari) and Jody Scheckter (No. 20 Walter Wolf Racing Wolf-Ford). It was Mario's third career Grand Prix win. He would go on to win a total of 12 during his F1 career as well as the 1978 World Championship, becoming only the second American after Phil Hill to win the F1 driving title.



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