No. 770,
October 29, 2014

About The Autoextremist

What do you do when when you've been immersed in all things automotive since before you took your first steps? When you're the scion of an automotive family in an automotive town in its very own automotive universe? When you've forgotten more about cars and motorsports and everything and everyone involved in the business than most people will ever know? When cars aren't just in your blood, but also in your bones and your brain and the very air you breathe? If you're Peter M. De Lorenzo, you ramp it up a bit further. National commentator, industry consultant and author (as well as former superstar ad man), De Lorenzo's daily (and nightly) focus for the past 15 years has been Autoextremist.com, a weekly Internet magazine devoted to news, commentary and analysis of the auto industry and the business of motorsports. Translation: De Lorenzo likes to tell the truth about what's really going on behind the scenes in the car business. And sometimes, things get ugly. Real ugly. But he is as passionate with his praise as he is with his critiques, and Autoextremist has become a weekly "must read" for leading professionals in all industries. De Lorenzo is considered to be one of the most influential voices commenting on the business today. It's the very definition of a high-octane life. And it's what fuels De Lorenzo to keep the pedal down - hard. He won't stop because he can't stop. A bit tired, perhaps? No way. De Lorenzo is one of the most untired people we know.

De Lorenzo's latest book is Witch Hunt (Octane Press  witchhuntbook.com). It is available on Amazon in both hardcover and Kindle formats, as well as on iBookstore. De Lorenzo is also the author of The United States of Toyota.

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Tuesday
Jun182013

Adrian Newey had the right idea.

By Peter M. De Lorenzo

Detroit. Back when the Gran Turismo racing game people asked (and this is old news, I realize), "What would the fastest racing car on Earth, free of any and all regulations, look like?" - the car envisioned was a single-seat canopied prototype wing car with covered front wheels powered by a 1500HP direct-injected Twin-Turbo V6. The projected performance was a theoretical top speed of 248.6 mph (400 kmh) and a lateral acceleration of 6G.

And then Red Bull Racing design guru, chief technical officer and master aerodynamicist Adrian Newey was brought on board to make the machine faster and better, and the resulting Red Bull X2010 Prototype came to virtual fruition. Utilizing the "fan car" concept first pioneered by Jim Hall and Chevrolet engineers in the infamous Chaparral 2J (the auxiliary fan sucking the car down on to the payment to produce unheard of cornering speeds), Newey also made changes to the design of the front and rear wings and rear diffuser, the entire package dramatically altering the X2010's aerodynamic capability.

The result? The Red Bull X2010 Prototype (with design assistance by Polyphony Digital). Virtual top speed? 279.8 mph. Maximum lateral acceleration? 8.75G.

The driver who performed the shakedown development session for the virtual racing machine was none other than three-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel. In his first run on the virtual Suzuka F1 circuit in Japan, Vettel broke the course record by a staggering 20 seconds. And in a virtual test session on the 3.199-mile Nurburgring Grand Prix course (not the Nordschleife), Vettel did a lap of one minute four seconds, 25 seconds clear of Michael Schumacher's track record.

What's the point of all of this? It's the idea that racing should push the envelope to go faster and yes, even more efficiently than ever before. The Land of Restrictions that racing has become is counterintuitive to what racing should be all about. You need to push technological exploration in order to develop the everyday technology that we will have access to in our vehicles of the future.

I've heard all of the naysayers and most comments suggest that tracks aren't designed for the capabilities of those extreme machines and that the insurance industry wouldn't allow spectators to get near a race with those kinds of speeds. And so on.

I believe it could be figured out. New safety technologies would have to be developed - especially in the area of catch-fencing design - or maybe there could be an entirely new kind of circuit built somewhere that could accommodate the speeds and the crowds.

Adrian Newey had the right idea, and in roundabout fashion he basically envisioned the Can-Am car of the 21st Century.

He also reaffirmed the notion that sometimes in life you have to just go for it.


(Thank you to AUTOartmodels.com for these figures and other information concerning the X2010)

(© Red Bull UK) (© Red Bull UK)

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

(Photo by Dave Friedman courtesy of the Ford Racing Archives and Wieck Media)
June 11, 1967. Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt (No. 1 Ford Mk IV) confounded the critics who suggested the duo didn't have the discipline to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans by dominating the race and winning by four laps - while humiliating Ferrari in the process. It was one of the most memorable moments - and glorious achievements - in American racing history. Watch a video here. And read Gordon Kirby's interview with Dan Gurney in Motorsport magazine here.

 

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

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