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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September 15, 2010

IndyCar's death warrant.

By Peter M. De Lorenzo

(Posted 8/14, 12:30PM) Detroit.
No, this isn't a re-hash of several of my columns over this past summer, or even a re-introduction of my "The Future of Racing" speech that I gave to industry insiders and motorsport movers and shakers going on four years ago. This is me saying I've had enough and I'm not going to take it anymore.

I've listened to all of the rationalizations and the post-decision hand-wringing that went on after Randy Bernard's IndyCar ICONIC committee decided to make a non-decision about the future of IndyCar - and make no mistake that's exactly what it was - and after carefully reviewing all of the possible scenarios on the table, the only thing I can say at this point about the decision is that it was nothing short of disastrous.

These guys blew it. Making a decision based on fundamentally keeping the status quo intact and reducing costs is nothing more than blatant, head-in-the-sand thinking. Oh, and believe me, I can just hear the IndyCar honchos and owners now, as in, "Who cares what that jack-off has to say? It isn't his money that's involved. I don't see him scrambling around looking for sponsorships. It isn't his ass on the line every month." And they would be right - misguided and focusing on disparaging the messenger - but right, because I don't have any skin in the game.

But I do have many decades (too many to mention, in fact) of experience being in and around this sport. And I've seen countless (seemingly) intelligent people over those years make some of the most bone-headed decisions imaginable. Decisions that ultimately cost them - and the sport of racing - dearly. This global world we live in has neither the time nor the patience for short-term thinkers. You have to be bold, you have to be engaged, you have to anticipate, and you have to step outside of your comfort zone once in a while to see the possibilities spread out in front of you. This applies to the global business environment we're existing in today as well as in motorsports.

And guess what? At the end of the day they're so interconnected and interwoven that no one can possibly tell the difference anymore.

It is becoming dramatically and painfully apparent that IndyCar chose to stand in place while the rest of the motorsports world is rushing headlong toward the future, and it's a flat-out disgrace. In a world where Porsche is running a Hybrid-assist 911 RSR at the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in a few weeks, global manufacturers are vocally and demonstrably signing-up in support of a Global Racing Engine based on four-cylinder engines, where the overriding notion going forward is high-performance with high-efficiency, IndyCar leaves it all on the table paralyzed by their total lack of vision for the future.

I've said it repeatedly in this column going on eleven plus years now: Racing and motorsport in general need new ideas, new thinking and a vision for the future that will ensure their existence well down the road in this new century. Right now we're living in a world filled with hordes of young people - young people who are going to be running things in the not-too-distant future - and guess what? The majority of these young people couldn't care less about racing and the notion of high-performance motoring. Instead, these people get more turned on about the latest electronic gizmos.

What's wrong with this picture?

I'll tell you what's wrong. When the True Believer racing enthusiasts out there die-off, this sport is going to die right along with them, or it will at the very least devolve into a nostalgia exercise operating in a niche dimension that the greater populace couldn't be bothered with. And I will guarantee you that corporate America will not be bothered with it either.

Motorsport stalwarts like Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske understand what's happening and what's at stake here. That's why they backed Ben Bowlby's Delta Wing concept. The Delta Wing is nothing less than The Future of the sport of major league open-wheel racing. And predictably all the Old Guard traditionalists guiding the sport dismissed it as being too far out there and too radical and too, well, just too uncomfortable. And it was so much unmitigated bullshit too.

By the time the Delta Wing concept had hit the track in 2012 it would have been a glimmering look into the future, and it would have energized a whole new legion of young fans hungry for something to sink their teeth into and call their own. Now? We've got another five years of glorified spec racing to look forward to, and the grim downward spiral of fan interest and corporate backing will continue in the same dismal direction right along with it.

At this juncture I see only two possible scenarios that make any sense:

1. IndyCar back-pedals and allows the Delta Wing concept to be legal for 2012 - at least for the Indianapolis 500 - with the Global Racing Engine.

- or -

2. Chip Ganassi, Roger Penske et al start a new open-wheel racing series that features the Delta Wing cars powered by 4-cylinder engines supplied by manufacturers from around the world.

Because if we sit back and allow IndyCar to continue along the path they've embarked on then I predict IndyCar will simply no longer exist by 2015 due to a lack of fan interest, a lack of support from corporate America, and a lack of support from global automobile manufacturers.

It's that simple.

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



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)
Zandvoort, The Netherlands, June 4, 1967. Graham Hill in his new Lotus 49-Ford at the Dutch Grand Prix. This was the first race for the Lotus 49, a new machine designed by Colin Chapman and Maurice Philippe for the 1967 Formula 1 season. The Lotus 49 was noteworthy because not only was it blistering fast right off of the trailer, it was the first F1 car to achieve success with the engine as a stress-bearing structural member of the chassis. Jim Clark (Hill's Lotus teammate) won that day in the Lotus 49's debut. Jack Brabham was second and Denny Hulme third in their Brabham-Repco V8-powered machines. It was also the first GP victory for the now legendary Ford Cosworth DFV V8.

Publisher's Note: Like these Ford racing photos? Check out Be forewarned, however, because you won't be able to go there and not order something. - PMD


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