No. 984
February 20, 2018

About The UjianNasional

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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By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. Lost in the drumbeat of national news and how the proposed tariffs may impact the automobile industry, and after an outstanding weekend of racing, which saw a terrific 6-Hour IMSA race at The Glen and the best NASCAR race in a long, long time at Chicagoland Speedway (see "Horizon" -WG), I'd like to go back and revisit Porsche's superb effort in setting an absolute lap record at the Nurburgring.

Over the last decade or so manufacturers have lined up to prove their chops on the most daunting natural-terrain road racing circuit in the world. The 
Nürburgring-Nordschleife is a spectacular road course that I wish every enthusiast could savor because suffice to say, if you haven't had the opportunity, it is truly one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that almost defies description. That the global auto manufacturers have used this facility to prove their mettle is understandable, because it is the ultimate test of every vehicle performance parameter imaginable, one that can't be duplicated anywhere else. And though I think it has been played out of late, what happened last Friday (June 29) is worthy of a second look.

When Porsche ended their highly successful Porsche 919 Hybrid racing program, they could have quietly put the cars in museums, occasionally trotting them out for vintage events and other special auto happenings. But instead, someone started asking "What if?" and we've been treated to an amazing show ever since. The "What if?" in this discussion translates into: 'What if we took off the WEC/FIA restrictions, and went to some of the most famous circuits in the world to see how fast we could go?" So the True Believers at Porsche created the 
Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo, which is a development of the Le Mans prototype with which Porsche won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015, 2016 and 2017 as well as the FIA World Endurance Championship three times in a row – manufacturers’ and drivers’ titles respectively.

When you think about it, the idea that a car company would dispense with the "spec racing" component on their factory racers and just go for it 
is the daydream of True Believers all over the world. And the True Believers at Porsche were able to bring those daydreams to life. They took the 919 Evo to the legendary Spa in Belgium and it went faster than Lewis Hamilton's F1 lap record. But the next stop was what they were truly aiming at all along: the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, the most famous road racing circuit in the world.

When 37-year-old Timo Bernhard crossed the finish line of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife last Friday morning at the wheel of the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo he set a new, absolute, all-time track record with a blistering lap of 5 minutes and 19.55 seconds. The two-time Le Mans winner and reigning World Endurance Champion beat the previous lap record on the revered 20.8 kilometer long German race circuit that had stood for 35 years. On May 28 in 1983, Stefan Bellof lapped the world-renowned track with a Porsche 956 C in a legendary time of 6:11.13 minutes. (And in light of Bernhard's effort, the superb performance by Bellof is even more impressive.) 

Consider all of the videos you've watched from the 
Nürburgring-Nordschleife, then watch the video of Bernhard's record run. (Watch the video . -WG) To say it is an incredible performance - by both man and machine - is an understatement for this or any other year.

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

(Porsche images)

(DeLorenzo Collection)
Watkins Glen, New York, July, 1969. Tony DeLorenzo and Dick Lang (No. 14 Owens/Corning Fiberglas Chevrolet Corvette) finished 1st in GT and seventh overall in The Glen 6-Hour race. Read about the exploits of the famed Owens-Corning Fiberglas Racing Team here.


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