No. 1002
June 26, 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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FUMES #450

June 18, 2008

Excellence is Expected.

By Peter M. De Lorenzo

Karl Ludvigsen's outstanding book - Porsche: Excellence Was Expected, The Comprehensive History of the Company, its Cars and its Racing Heritage - originally published in 1977 (Bentley Publishers) and then re-issued in 2004, was a fitting tribute to a company that once was the envy of the automotive world for their laser-like focus on their founder's vision, their unwavering commitment to excellence - on the race track and off - and their relentless pursuit of building superb sports cars that inspired a cult-like following around the world. That company no longer exists, because Porsche has become absorbed in the new "vision" of its leadership, which is more about profitability and directing the future fortunes of VW than it is about propping up a hoary reputation from a bygone era.

Not that it really matters much anymore anyway, because now the German auto company that most closely mirrors the all-around excellence of Porsche in its heyday is Audi, which is celebrating yet another superb win in the greatest sports car race in the world, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The 76th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans was a tense fight between two automotive superpowers and their ultra-high-tech V12 turbo-diesels. Audi and Peugeot each entered three first-rank teams and it was a titanic battle right down to the final hour, but Audi's exceptional race strategy and impeccable pit stops were the deciding factor in what was Audi's eighth win in the French endurance classic in the last nine years, an incredible achievement.

The leading No. 2 Audi R10 TDI of Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Dindo Capello sealed the win after Audi Sport Technical Director Ralf Juttner chose to switch Kristensen from Michelin slicks to intermediates with a little more than an hour remaining as rain began to inundate the legendary 8.48-mile road circuit. The second-place No. 7 Peugeot of Nic Minassian, Jacques Villeneuve and Marc Gene remained on slicks, which effectively ended their challenge. The No. 2 Audi went on to win by slightly more than four and a half minutes.

The win also reinforced the fact that Tom Kristensen is the greatest driver in the history of the French endurance classic as he extended his Le Mans win record to eight (it was the second Le Mans win for McNish and the third for Capello).

"It was one of the toughest races we have had here," said Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport. "But we proved that we are a really strong team and have the technology. That's what we are here for."

Yes, they do have the technology, but more important they have the will to win on the world's grandest sports car racing stage and against the world's toughest competition.

At Audi, excellence is not only expected, it is clearly the driving personality of the company.

Which, in this age of mind-numbing, pass/fail mediocrity, is refreshing - and reassuring - to see.

(Andrew Hall)
Allan McNish, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Director of Audi Motorsport), Dindo Capello and Tom Kristensen salute the Le Mans crowd after their victory.

Publisher's Note: In our continuing series celebrating the "Golden Era" of American racing history, here is another image from the Ford Racing Archives. - PMD

(Ford Racing Archives)

Brands Hatch, England, 1963. Dan Gurney (No. 1) leads the field in his Ford at the start of a Touring Car race at the famous circuit.