No. 987
March 13, 2019

About The UjianNasional

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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September 9, 2009

It's time for a new idea.

By Peter M. De Lorenzo

(Posted 9/8, 9:30am) Detroit.
After pleading, cajoling and pounding some visionary thinking into the powers that be in various racing series both here and abroad about making racing relevant again, I'm tired of waiting.

It's time to come up with a new formula.

No, I'm not going to resurrect the Can-Am, but I am going to resurrect the spirit of that famed series for an all-new series that needs to be and should be created.

This series would be based on the simple premise of "run what you brung" only with one crucial difference - fuel economy. Managing fuel would be an integral part of the short rule specification package because if racing is ever going to regain its rightful place as the tip of the technological spear - and the leading developer of advanced technologies for our future production cars - then fuel management must be the focus of the series.

The WON road racing series - which stands for Wide Open Now - would have a very simple rules package consisting of:

A dimensional size limit - or "box" - that the car would have to fit into.

A fuel efficiency minimum that has to be achieved over the entire course of a race weekend of 15 miles per gallon - with adjustments in that requirement to take into account alternative fuel densities, electric power, etc.

And one more key element, a driver must be in actual control of the operation of the racing machine on the track, in other words, no remote control "driver-less" cars would be allowed. (I'm all for the advanced development of our remote-controlled aircraft for the military, but for the race track? Not. So. Much.)

Everything else would be as we like to say, "free."

Movable aerodynamic devices? As long as they fit in the dimensional envelope, fine. Engines, transmissions, braking systems? All open. The materials used? Engineers would have to figure it out. Manufacturers would be encouraged to route a chunk of their R&D programs into this series, because lessons learned in it would benefit all of us - and our production vehicles - down the road.

This new road racing series would run from late summer through the fall - in an homage to the original Can-Am series schedule - and it would consist of 200-mile road races. The opener would be at Elkart Lake's Road America, of course, with other tracks like Watkins Glen, Mosport, Mont-Tremblant/St. Jovite, Road Atlanta and Barber Motorsports Park considered for the schedule. The finale would be at Laguna Seca (Mazda Raceway).

It would be fascinating to watch the explosion of creativity involved if manufacturers around the world embraced this new series. Visionary ideas would be tried, interesting approaches would be attempted, and racing fans would be intrigued - and entertained.

And remarkably enough, the car and driver combination that delivers the most speed with efficiency would win, as it should be.

If I've said it once I've said it 1,000 times for going on four years now: It's time to press the "reset" button for racing.

It's time to exploit new frontiers and push new envelopes in the quest to deliver ultra-high-performance with efficiency.

And it's time to quit talking about it and get this new idea on the road.


See another live episode of "Autoline After Hours" hosted by Autoline Detroit's John McElroy, with Peter De Lorenzo and friends this Thursday evening, September 10, at 7:00PM EDT at .

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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)
Riverside, California, 1966. Mario Andretti (No. 1 Lola T70-Ford) at speed in his specially-prepared Lola - with an "experimental" 427 cid Ford engine equipped with a semi-automatic transmission - in the L.A. Times Grand Prix, at the famed Riverside International Raceway.