2012 Auto Racing Season Preview
Fox Car Report talks U.S. car racing with ALMS President Scott Atherton and Shakedown's Leo Parente
- Duration 16:44
- Date Jan 26, 2012
Fox Car Report talks U.S. car racing with ALMS President Scott Atherton and Shakedown's Leo Parente
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
Welcome to fox car report -- our -- who are very excited because the US auto racing season kicks off this weekend.
With the 24 hours.
Of -- the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona with me to -- -- -- And all the major racing coming up this year in the United States host of shakedown now on the YouTube drive channel Leo -- thanks for joining us say Leo thanks I'll do the pitch YouTube dot com slash drive.
Or at drive TV for comments -- That Twitter you've got that done very well over everybody's taking notes and that also a little bit later in the show the president and CEO of the America monsters Scott Atherton.
-- joining us to talk about the buzz surrounding electric cars in the sports car racing world.
Lectured to actually make -- buzzing noise that that was probably -- No it wasn't because.
Even the hybrid that was running the diesel already -- deputy locked.
Was washing down the track so I'm not sure what -- -- -- -- more of a home at the buzzer is probably an electrical short with additional I guess it's in I can't -- anyway I'll get to that habit though of course Rolex 24 hours.
Of Daytona this -- and I love this racing here's what.
This is -- -- a recent series but the big about this is it is the first race of the season happens before the other racing season start so it is a big part you get drivers from IndyCar from NASCAR.
Everybody comes in this thing any got the regulars in the series as well but it really is a big party down there and under your head down this week.
What we're heading up I -- I -- trump or add to what you're saying it's an extra big deal besides -- the logical celebrating their fiftieth anniversary of the Daytona race.
Plus fifty years and then a an international experience and for Benetton and this may be an opinion and become more of -- domestic event but now.
They've got new cars new -- working DP.
They've got imports.
Brands such as BMW winning the championship -- DP but in GT they've got international -- Ferrari and Audi.
So in addition to the international drivers and all the domestic stars you've got international cars -- the field BMW.
-- competing with come narrows and and everything should be good.
Meddling in a grand and the focus is on the drivers it's and keeping cost down these -- he's the Daytona prototypes basically spec racers.
With different body work big change this -- different kind of don't be looking for the last couple years.
This year it manufactures are able to put the wrong kind of look to it -- he's going to be the first one to get the new Corvette.
Grand am car this is really the first one that's taking on the identity of maybe a production car there's a shot of it right there this is probably a good -- I think that's a pretty sharp looking car.
It even though it's a body -- and go on one of four chassis is and it seems like -- fans and racing fans love it but what I think they're also really loving his if you look at the greenhouse.
They -- that turtle top to make it look.
Quite frankly more attractive -- it cleans up the heir to the rear wing I'm sure -- think these cars will be fast they'll be good looking.
And that's good race.
You also mentioned the GT cars the -- and all that what about these -- and maybe the casual beard as a realize it.
Of the ones in grand -- -- -- -- frame racers again with body -- that kind of look like the street cars now.
Do you think about this because -- I almost the type that if they're gonna vagaries car make it look like something different I don't wanna see if speak for -- -- attack but he gets from a marketing perspective.
-- still works even though it's not based on the actual cars chest.
Well -- -- be polite a couple of things what grand am did is they chased the international GT three spec they built the long version of it.
But those -- -- and Ferrari.
And I and I forget the term but they're not full tune friend like the Mazda is in the series so there really are based on the -- -- -- the reality is.
Some of the production things they've done to make that race car -- for grand -- It's parts of their production cars -- may be quicker than that car but as a race car.
It's not just to -- silhouette and honestly.
A lot of the comments we get on our show.
Can't seem to love production based racing so no offense to the prototypes -- and -- that the DPs and ran down.
They love their watching their production cars race so we'll see any do you have engines of course from the department effect so that is what sets them apart -- in the DP class but yeah I think when it comes down to it.
A person -- was probably prefer those GT cars to expect.
Daytona prototype cars in that they are making them look a little bit different they got a full field it it makes a good variety.
I'm sure they're tweaking the rules or tweaking -- and knowledge of these new cars and chassis is.
But I'm really looking forward to going out there and seeing this race and as you said it's a wonderful kickoff and a lot of teams and drivers are using it or just that after the regular drivers.
Feel when the you of these outsiders come for this one race is that a problem for the murder -- or does it cause more problems than it's worth for the really serious.
Season you guys -- followed the drive for the holes yeah I don't want to speak on behalf of the the guys that are currently racing but I would think they'd see it as a challenge.
And I think they would also see it as I'm just gonna do my job and and the best will win and I think.
That there's an element of the respect between the gentleman drivers in the real pros if if if that's also what you're alluding to.
Com tracks make that better or worse as a problem grand am with Daytona is pretty open so we shall see what we shall see it'll -- the infield.
And the bus stop.
Sometimes tends to be a little bit of a problem.
Grand Cameron about the same folks over NASCAR.
It was seeing kind of idea -- -- have the same car keep the cost and that sort of thing this the first year.
NASCAR first hear about -- -- so that there have been a big major change.
The cars basically the same this year and no major changes to the chase for the championships points scored the summer and the changes are a mechanical step.
To get toward the new car for 2013.
So this year we've got fuel injection.
And the McLaren ECU.
Engine management system.
I don't how much they're gonna promote that.
But those are the changes.
That are moving into the car.
You're right the -- -- changed -- that a lot of drivers swapping I'm not pretend to understand them all except the Kasey Kahne is now and Hendrick car.
And whatever whatever.
The big news is 2013.
But darn a couple of things added that that people like Roush in the engine builders are working rift with the new fuel injection system.
And that is some of the breaking news we have this week we're getting our first look at the first 2013 Sprint -- card it's the Ford Fusion and other make him.
Concerted effort this camera to really make it look like the street -- there's been to a production car on the right and the new race -- on the left.
Really -- a lot of cues even -- the profile of the car the side of the car where has a slightly flared fender.
And you have that little character line that the production car which happens via plug in hybrid or at least available -- -- -- -- -- -- and that on the high banks of Daytona I'll -- definitely a big change coming next year to NASCAR with the new look cars well.
There is there's been more than a few people that are slam NASCAR for doing that unified look bodied car of the tomorrow and losing all the brand identity.
And and the -- people -- machete people have kind of hinted that -- -- like this because it really looks like the real car again.
You know -- East Coast New York Italian -- cynical but you know what looks great.
It looks great because there isn't as good as your got a car but a driver.
We asked female driver Danica Patrick making -- move from Indy cars to NASCAR effect this year.
We just found out that she's not going to be driving in the -- 500 that was a possibility she's going to be skip it this year the focus on the Nationwide Series.
And a few races up there in the Sprint Cup.
What do you think her impact on the series is going to be isn't going to be as big as people think it is or is she gonna kind of fallen and just be another driver -- -- I don't think Danica has the capacity to allow -- to just fall in -- of the drive that's number one.
Number two I'm sure that every possible resource and fought to make this a success will be applied toward this process of I've Danica.
-- it's gonna start right at Daytona I think it's still up in the air whether she's gonna try to run the Daytona 500 or not.
And I think Tony Stewart her team owner needs to figure out whether he's going to.
Deem her the points to give an automatic end where she's gonna have to qualify your way.
I look I wish -- best of luck and I think she understands the challenge before her and I'm sure that she has the skill and capacity to do it.
There's one thing to say and want to get it done I'd rather watch -- comment whether she will make it.
She -- in the car which is having a major change this year yes all new car we know what happened last year at the last race they've actually been making some tweaks to it over the season to try to avoid some of the sort accidents that we saw there.
At a Las Vegas -- -- season -- last year.
They -- -- cars ready to take on this challenge of launching a new car especially with the shadow of bin Laden's death still sort of over.
How well a lot going on that's a lot to handle in one season for for -- Okay obviously a lot -- lot of dark feelings a lot of prayers continue with -- -- with Dan Wheldon and I I don't wanna get lost in that and I share that.
I'm here because prepare for this this -- isn't a last minute thing.
The changes you're talking about though are are things that they -- and you'd make this car work so you've got manufactures commitment to serious commitment.
You know they do they'll they'll they'll make it happen.
Wounding of those three series all have a common is the focus on equalizing making the driver focused technologies chairman Indy cars trying to get more fuel efficient but everybody's kind of get the same set up see -- -- and grand am as well but the one series that's really pushing the limits as far as technological advances -- all of this concern is the American Le Mans series we've got cars running on ethanol piece of you know whatever that isn't the -- that is.
Diesel and a lot more excitement coming this year joining us now from Atlanta the president and CEO of the American Le -- series.
Scott Atherton thanks for joining us today Scott.
I Gerri nice to be weighted you've also got an anniversary coming up too I believe the sixtieth anniversary of the Sebring twelve hours your season -- race.
You have first for sports car fans.
I don't think this season has -- started quite like this with a congratulations to our friends a grand am in Daytona for their fiftieth and then.
March 17 we open up with the sixtieth running of the Mobil 112 hours of Sebring.
Last year pretty good season and again what we've got all these different kinds of technologies.
Being showcase -- -- the American Le Mans series.
One of the big things -- excited about in the coming year to is this delta wing.
Where -- cardinal win that's gonna.
They make it onto the track at the premiere at belong in what is this your junior is that gonna be in -- -- race before that.
Well the -- I don't think you'll see it actively race before it makes -- comp competition debut at Lamar but our plan and I I believe the plan of the delta wing group.
Is to have that car make its maiden demonstration laps at least in front of the public.
At sea -- so I can't say that it's a 100% guaranteed because the -- is actively under construction there's still a lot of variables.
But as of today that's the plan.
Extreme prototype that car -- but what other changes have come into the series this year in a more conventional vehicles.
Well the there's a continuation of the current technical specifications.
And I think it's an example -- don't fix it if it's not broken.
The -- 85 -- -- -- -- death and all I -- you know all zero -- clean diesel.
Hybrid technology both -- battery electric and also the flywheel.
So we've got multiple examples of alternative fuels and really leading edge technologies being developed.
In our GT category again this the technical rules remain the same.
That racing has been the most competitive the most diverse and some would say it is the best.
Production based GT racing in the world and I wouldn't argue with them and in this area we're gonna go from strength to strength we've got two other manufacturers that are gonna join.
With what's already there so Porsche Ferrari BMW Corvette will be joined by others and it it has all the makings of what.
We expect to be your best season ever -- not -- argue with those people either -- -- GT class but we're looking into the future now.
But the -- mess and you guys are actually teaming up.
With a company to bring electric sports car racing to reality let's hear about this.
The -- -- monsters present about tequila -- has prided itself for many years is being the global leader of Green racing you know that was a bit of of an award that we gave ourselves years ago when we started down this path.
And and I think it's it's grown to to truly be.
An example of substance and if you're gonna have that kind of monitor -- It can often be described as a target on your back so be the pressure is to find the next generation Green racing 2.0 if you will.
And everyone is expecting that to be an electronic.
So what you see coming out of Detroit and from all the major manufacturers now is all plug in electric -- and plug in hybrids.
We're headed that same direction in motor sport and we've been searching for quite some time to find an example that had some real substance behind it.
In our business there's been a lot of press releases but not a lot of substance.
The -- -- group is the first example and their AE GT car that we think truly has a basis to work with.
And like the delta wing this car will make its demonstration debuted this season.
With the intent of racing.
Not inside the American -- series but on the same weekends with us beginning in 2013.
How fast -- these cars compared to the other cars -- series right now.
The GT car that the political -- eighty GT.
In terms of a lap time and straightaway speeds be very competitive to our current GT cars.
The challenge which is the case across the board is in the longevity.
-- endurance racing so it's racing over typically long distance periods twelve hours six hours our shortest races two hours in line.
So the challenge there with battery electric vehicle is to be able to compete for those long distances.
It's that will start with shorter distance races with the idea of racing improving the breed.
And challenging all of the manufacturers and the suppliers that are involved.
To come to the racetrack bring your leading edge cutting edge never seen before technology.
Developed and in the harshest environment imaginable endurance sports car racing.
And then transfer that technology and transfer those breakthroughs on to the passenger car industry.
That's the point all right Scott after -- presidency of the American monsters look forward to Sebring and on March 17 that process.
March 17 is the race and ABC Sunday the day after an eighteen we're looking forward that.
Leo and big predictions for the reasons he's in any of these years -- It's the big story going to be this year to -- going along.
Actually think the big story is going to be watching how the series to -- you know -- Scott Atherton.
Some racing fans have taken that the shot at Scott Atherton -- -- for siding on the Green side and that always confused because racing fans.
They love advanced technology they think of this as sophisticated moving forward and an elements -- put a stake in the ground -- and a Green technology and future -- thinks.
Actually mine and world endurance is kind of followed suit.
I think the big story is going to be where our fans' loyalty gonna fall and it's bigger than just -- -- vs grant them.
-- they don't like traditional racing or they don't gravitate more toward drifting global rally cross and -- grass roots and speak and what of the manufacturers can do.
Other manufactures going to continue to have factory teams but get one or like a Corvette racing and like a BMW in America tomorrow.
Or they gonna build race cars and -- to customer drivers and teams and let them compete.
Frankly like -- And how the Porsche model has always been.
And the -- -- the big story what's gonna happen in 2013.
Because I think we're gonna start -- direction and maybe make some runs on those cars as well tough to make money in prison business.
The manufacturers are doing quite well and saying you know this gives you worker that.
In emerging business -- -- -- different day I was to shake out YouTube slash drive you to dot com slash drive.
Are -- -- I'm not drive should get you'll find it -- that's easy enough thanks again has got to have a different you learn a little on series.
We'll see you next on fox car report in the -- fox car report dot com for the latest Automotive News.
And -- is.