No. 1009
August 14, 2019

About The Autoextremist


Author, commentator, influencer. "The Consigliere." 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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Editor's Note: Due to popular demand, we're leaving Peter's column up for another week. He'll return with a new "Fumes" next week. -WG


By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Editor's Note: Since the racing season is upon us and it's 3:00 a.m. somewhere, I conducted this interview with The Autoextremist concerning his current thoughts about racing. Enjoy. -WG


WG: So, what are you most interested in seeing this year?
PMD: I will watch a little bit of everything. My preference is road racing so the IMSA races and Indy cars on the road courses take precedence. And the two NASCAR road races are still worth watching. One qualifier: except for Monaco, I don't care for street courses, because you Can't See Shit when you're there. Saying that, I will probably take in most of the INDYCAR season, especially the Indianapolis 500.

WG: No F1 except Monaco?
PMD: I'll watch a few races here and there, especially Spa. But generally, F1 holds little interest for me. The cars are devoid of grace, the engines lack visceral appeal, and too many of the races are over by the first corner. I appreciate the effort and talent of all involved but I'm afraid of where F1 is going, especially with how the new rules package is - or isn't - coming together. I am not optimistic that the powers that be will make the right calls.

WG: And?
PMD: My absolute favorite form of motorsport to watch remains MotoGP. The sheer artistry and talent of those riders is simply incredible to behold.

WG: Is there any hope for NASCAR? 
PMD: I think I've said enough about NASCAR already this year. With the new "Gen 7" NASCAR still three seasons away, however, I'm afraid that NASCAR's dire straits will only get worse. I understand that there's an all-hands-on-deck push going on with everyone directly involved with NASCAR to make this "Gen 7" idea a real transformational thing - with more short tracks, more road races, a shortened schedule, etc. - but they're running out of time. And meanwhile it's the same ol' same ol' for Three. More. Years. Ugh.

WG: What is the biggest challenge facing racing right now? Will it survive?
PMD: I would say relevance but that really isn't accurate. With the massive push into electrification by the world's automakers - and the equally massive efforts surrounding climate change - racing will come under more scrutiny by the hour. The FIA's response was to create Formula E, but I'm sorry, because the visceral appeal is nonexistent for me. I think that in order for racing to survive, relevance to our production vehicles will not be the answer. I've said this before and I'll say it again, going to see races will become an event where you can see - and hear - machines that we can't see and hear anymore on the streets. I am talking way down the road here, but still, racing will be put right to the edge.

WG: What about the Hydrogen Electric Racing Federation idea?
PMD: I still believe in the efficacy of it. Talk to any of the manufacturers involved in future vehicle development and they all agree on one thing - electric vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells will eventually replace BEVs. HERF would have accelerated development of these vehicles by a decade in my estimation, but at the time we proposed it (January 2007) the Great Recession was less than a year away, and the manufacturers that showed the most interest (GM and Toyota) simply couldn't put the project on their front burners. It's too bad, but I remain a True Believer in the concept.

WG: What is the one thing you'd like to say to the readers about the 2019 racing season?
PMD: I know a lot of our readers are avid racing enthusiasts, so I really don't have to say this, but for those who haven't gone to a race for a while, you should make the effort to do so. Whatever form of racing you enjoy, it is always better in person. TV gives us fantastic access, but you don't get the visceral feeling in your gut.

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


(Dave Friedman photo)
12 Hours of Sebring, March 26, 1966. The pole-winning No. 2 Shelby American Ford Mk II of Dan Gurney/Jerry Grant at speed. The big 427 cu. in. Ford wouldn't turn over for the Le Mans start, so Gurney was forced to start dead last. But he passed 27 cars on the first lap and by lap 44 he set a new lap record that was faster than his pole time, and he swept into the lead, passing Ken Miles in the No. 1 Shelby American Ford Mk II X-1 roadster. Gurney and co-driver Jerry Grant led the rest of the way, while Miles and co-driver Lloyd Ruby ran in second position. In a wild end to the race, Gurney's engine blew on the last lap within sight of the finish line, so he proceeded to push his car over the line. He was immediately disqualified for that rules infraction, however, and Miles/Ruby won the race.