No. 1005
July 17, 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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By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. Okay, I get it. The Future is coming at a furious rate. Electrification, whether it makes sense across the spectrum of our mobility requirements, or not, is going to transform everything we know about transportation. And no, I am not a Luddite; I can appreciate electrified machines for myself in certain applications, like for an urban runabout, for instance. And I am wowed by the wild VW I.D. R Pikes Peak record holder, which is a stunning achievement by any measure. But after that, it gets dicey.

Formula E, for example, does nothing for me. I was optimistic about the formula at first, but the reality of the slot car sounds and the uninvolving nature of those machines leaves me cold. Formula E is missing one crucial component that is an absolutely essential part of racing, and that is passion. The Formula E cars are soulless conveyances completely devoid of passion. Once you get past the novelty of the whole thing, the reality of what it actually is sets in almost immediately, and it's not compelling in the least. And that isn't going to change next year, even when the cars will be able to complete the race distance on a single charge.

Watching VW's Pikes Peak record holder charge up the hill at Goodwood over the weekend was only slightly interesting. Sure, I could appreciate the technology, creativity and money invested in the project, but as soon as it completed its run and a V10-powered Formula 1 car of recent vintage charged up after it, there was no comparison. The Formula 1 machine represented everything that racing should be: visceral, passionate, exciting and compelling.

Ask yourself this, would you find a NASCAR race appealing without those V8 sounds? Would you find an IMSA race appealing without the guttural roar of the GTLM Corvettes, or the scream of the GTLM Porsche 911 RSRs? Would you go to Indy to hear a fully-electrified vehicle go around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, America's Cathedral of Speed? I don't think so. Without the visceral appeal and the passion and the excitement that come with high-performance ICE engines that you can feel in your gut, the compelling raison d'etre for racing will cease to exist altogether. 

I think racing, in general, needs to be very careful as to how much electrification is incorporated in future formulas. People are not going to pay money to see glorified slot cars. Yes, there will always be a core group that will, but the reality is that for most people it is not going to translate into generating appeal for racing. I understand the argument that younger generations, which will be forced to embrace electrification as a matter of standard operating procedure, will find favor with fully-electrified racing to a degree, but I don't think it's a sustainable premise.

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


ADAC 1000-km-Rennen Nürburgring, at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, 1967. Phil Hill in the No. 4 Chaparral 2F Chevrolet during practice. Hill put the high-winged Chaparral coupe on the pole but he and co-driver Mike Spence did not finish the race due to a broken gearbox.

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