No. 960
August 22, 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. De Lorenzo

Detroit. I have to hand it to the French racing overlords in the FIA and the ACO. No one, and I mean no one does delusional thinking like they do. (And that's really saying something when you have NASCAR in operation.) Faced with the prospects of a crumbling World Endurance Championship (WEC) due to their own mismanagement, boneheaded thinking and flat-out stupid rule making - topped off by the exit of Porsche from its top prototype class - the French racing brain trust has come up with the idea of a "winter series" with the season coming to a close with the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That this has spun the WEC into an uproar is no big surprise. After all, this is basically the FIA/ACO throwing up their hands and flinging darts at a dartboard, hoping they come up with something that has a shred of cohesion in the process. The short story? The privateers love it and the factories haven't said much, but the grumbling is loud and growing louder behind the scenes from the factories, as in WTF?

But the height of stupidity and the most egregious thing placed on the table by the French is that they are proposing running their own 12 Hour race at Sebring, starting at midnight, after the real 12 Hours of Sebring finishes 120 minutes earlier. Now, there is so much wrong and crazy about this that I don't know where to begin. First of all, I am absolutely shocked that Jim France and Scott Atherton are saying - at least for now - that they're embracing it, but more on that later. And secondly, I am not surprised that certain members of the motorsports media have automatically decided that this is a fantastic idea. But as I often have to remind them, everything to do with racing is not a good idea, and this is one of those times.

Let's talk about logistics, for starters. Where will the team transporters be parked? Because if you've ever been to the Sebring paddock, there is barely room to accommodate the IMSA teams right now. Secondly, do you realize how bad the condition of the circuit is after the running of the 12 Hours of Sebring? I'll save you the speculation, because it is thoroughly trashed. So a two-hour turnaround is just too ludicrous to contemplate. And finally, what do they plan on doing about the corner workers, who are so totally spent after the 12 Hour grind at Sebring? Do they plan on flying in their own corner workers? But those are just the logistical issues, which makes the idea a nonstarter right out of the gate.

No, the real issue is that yet again the French racing overlords are refusing to legitimize the oldest and most prestigious endurance race on the U.S. racing calendar. To have the temerity to even suggest that they will come over and run their own race at Sebring immediately after the 12 Hours of Sebring is such a blatant insult that Jim France and Scott Atherton should be ashamed of themselves for not immediately dismissing the idea as utter nonsense. Instead, this is what they should be saying: "We have two fantastic endurance races on the U.S. calendar, the Daytona 24 Hour and the 12 Hours of Sebring. In the long history of sports car racing these two events occupied key stops on the international racing calendar. So we see no reason why the new, abbreviated 'winter' series for the WEC shouldn't include our two events as part of their new calendar going forward."

And then they need to tell the French that running a WEC endurance event at Sebring immediately after the running of the official 12 Hours of Sebring is simply out of the question. And while they're at it, they should also tell the French that "Unless and until you adjust your rules to accommodate our DPi machines, we are no longer interested in having a cooperative relationship going forward."

This just in: Jim France and Scott Atherton have a French problem. I don't understand it at all, but it appears that they are deathly afraid of telling the French racing overlords to go pound sand, because it's obvious to everyone that the idea of an abbreviated WEC racing calendar, which includes running their own race at Sebring, is a complete farce.

I'm waiting for a shining beacon of common sense to shine down on Daytona Beach so that France and Atherton can see the light in this situation.

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


Editor's Note: Many of you have seen Peter's references over the years to the Hydrogen Electric Racing Federation (HERF), which he launched in 2007. For those of you who weren't following AE at the time, you can read two of HERF's press releases  and . And for even more details (including a link to Peter's announcement speech), check out the HERF entry on Wikipedia . -WG


(The DeLorenzo Racing Archives)
March 21, 1970. The 1970 12 Hours of Sebring was a defining moment for the Owens/Corning Fiberglas Corvette Racing Team. Tony DeLorenzo and Dick Lang finished 1st in GT +5.0L and 10th overall. It was the team's third consecutive win in a major FIA endurance race, establishing the team as a force to be reckoned with in international racing. 
You can read more about the team's exploits here.

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