No. 1001
June 19, 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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Impressions from Daytona.

By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. Well, the buildup to the 2018 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship opener was extraordinary. A newly-invigorated Prototype class produced the strongest and deepest field in the history of the Daytona 24 Hour race, and the usual factory-backed, cutthroat battle for the GTLM class was a given. And a star-studded group of drivers was assembled to compete in America's longest endurance race too. Qualifying only added fuel to the anticipation, with the prototype and GTLM classes each covered by just one second going into the race. But what looked to be a battle for the ages turned into a bit of a snoozefest.

Joao Barbosa, Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi (No. 5 Action Express Mustang Sampling Cadillac-branded DPi-V.R) won, recording 808 laps around the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course, covering a total of 2,876.48 miles, which broke a 36-year-old record. In all, the top-15 finishers in the race broke the distance record in a race that had just four full-course caution periods for a total of 20 laps. The No. 5 took the lead for the final time during the race’s 16th hour and went on to win over its Action Express Racing team car, the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac-branded DPi-V.R – co-driven by Felipe Nasr, Eric Curran, Mike Conway and Stuart Middleton – by a margin of 1 minute, 10.544 seconds (see more coverage in "Horizon" -WG).

The dominance in GTLM was even more pronounced, as Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon (No. 67 Ganassi Racing Ford GT/Michelin) finished 11.166-seconds ahead of teammates Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais (No. 66 Ganassi Racing Ford GT/Michelin) for a 1-2 finish for Chip Ganassi and Ford. How dominant? The Ganassi Racing Ford GTs led all but nine of the 783 GTLM class laps at the Daytona International Speedway. The total distance covered in 783 laps was 2,787.48 miles, 2,755.44 of which they led. Including previous wins at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans and 2017 Rolex 24 At Daytona, the victory marked the third 24-hour race class win for the Ford GT in its first five international 24-hour races. The win was also the 200th race victory for Chip Ganassi Racing including IndyCar, NASCAR, IMSA, WEC and Global Rallycross events.

Maybe snoozefest is the wrong way to describe this year's Daytona 24 Hour. Yes, the anticipation was palpable, but anyone who has been involved in top-level endurance racing knows that the all-encompassing grind takes every bit of concentration, focus and strength that those involved can muster, so kudos to all the competitors, especially the winners. There wasn't a last-lap shootout, but sometimes that's the way it goes. Yes, it's clear that IMSA has some BoP issues to deal with (the Corvettes were unable to run with the Fords, and the BMWs were simply out of it), but such is the state of contemporary racing. You show up, you run, you show your cards in the race, and then adjustments are made. Not ideal by any means, but there it is.

A number of you have written in asking me why I continue to refer to the "Cadillac" prototype entries as "Cadillac-branded." That's because those entries are the result of a political decision within General Motors. First of all, make no mistake, those are GM Racing Prototypes and should be referred to as such. The decision was made internally not to call them "Corvette" Prototypes as in previous seasons because the thought was that Corvette needed its showcase to be in GTLM. But then, Johan de Nysschen, Cadillac's chief brand honcho, decided it would be great for his brand to have them branded as Cadillacs. de Nysschen is an ex-Audi guy and since he's trying to remake Cadillac in Audi's image, in his mind it was the perfect direction to take. 

Except that those machines have absolutely zero to do with the Cadillac brand, and the idea that these Cadillac-branded machines will somehow elevate the Cadillac brand is delusional. The fact of the matter is that Cadillac is a China-centric brand now, and every decision Cadillac operatives make is based on what will sell in the vast Chinese market. That aside, there is simply no connection between the Cadillac-branded racing prototypes and what the Cadillac brand is about. Yes, the "V" machines are spectacular, but remember they are mere Sideshow Bobs in the Cadillac brand portfolio. So, in case you're wondering, yes, I will continue to refer to these machines as "Cadillac-branded" prototypes.

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

Daytona International Speedway, 1969. Mark Donohue leans over the beautiful No. 6 Penske Racing Sunoco Lola T70 Mk.3B Chevrolet during practice prior to the start of the Daytona 24 Hour. He and co-driver Chuck Parsons won, while Ed Leslie/Lothar Motschenbacher
 (No. 8 American International Racing Lola T70 Mk.3B Chevrolet) finished second.