RaceCar Brands That Do It Right - SHAKEDOWN

Uploaded by drive on 25.01.2013


How the best automakers go racing, how they do it right.
Today on "Shakedown." And to tell the story, I'm in Daytona
for the Rolex 24 endurance race right now for the start
of the sports car racing season in America.
And because that digital thing can capture images, and my
soul, I can be in two places at once.
This year, Drive is not with me at Daytona to do a 2013
version of last year's video, which I've parked
in the links below.
Because that video, with interviews including Allan
McNish, and Jackie Stewart, and Drive's signature dramatic
photography, hey, it only got 22,000 views.
So congratulations, you non-viewers.
So for Daytona 2013, no Drive camera person is with me.
But my ears are to the ground, my eyes are looking around to
get the news, so next week after The 24
we should have more.
For this show, I was just going to do a straight up
preview of the Rolex 24.
But a scan of the starting grid and other racing news out
there tells me this show is best served as a look inside
how certain car brands go racing, how you go racing if
you want to do it right.
And I'm going to use the four C's, commitment, capability,
capacity, and character as the bench marks of success.
Some brands have all the pieces.
Some brands don't but still do the best they can.
And some brands, for whatever their reasons, lack the sense
of what's needed to race, and in my opinion, when they go
racing half ass, show they lack a fundamental
understanding about why you race.
Wondering why I just used the Toyota for brands not
committed to racing?
Stay tuned.
Find out which brands get it, which brands are still so far
off course they need Google Maps to find their way to an
apex, let alone the racing checker flag.

The 2013 Rolex 24 is the 51st Daytona 24, and the last one
before the big consolidation of Grand-Am with the American
Le Mans series in 2014, all of which will change the look,
feel, and approach to the race.
Or will it?
Because when I looked at the 2013 starting grid, the signs
of what's going on are already there, factory racing and that
type of commitment, the first C. We saw a bit of it already
emerge last year.
And for some, it's too easy to dismiss Grand-Am as private
teams and gentlemen racers and ALMS as
factories and the pros.
But neither is 100% true definition of each, and
Daytona 2013 tells us a lot of what's going to happen.
Plus, looking at the recently completed Dakar Rally, and
Monte Carlo WRC, and other racing news, we get a real
insight into the brands committed to racing and how
they do it right.
But let's stick with sports car racing, and start with the
Daytona 24 starting grid.
58 cars entered, 17 are Daytona prototype, five BMW
powered, six Ford, six Chevy Corvette.
Ford won last year, but BMW officially supports their DP
engine program.
Well, they market it as official BMW stuff,
and Chevy does, too.
Chevy won the 2012 Engine Manufacturers Championship.
They expected a Daytona 24 win last year, and they're psycho
to get it this time.
So BMW and Chevy are taking a factory support approach to
winning the Rolex 24, the four C's approach.
Now, Ford is depending on Roush, the engine builder
racing team, to build stout motors.
But they're not as full-in as Chevy is yet, because there is
an EcoBoost twin-turbo Ford V6 waiting to launch in 2014 when
the series combines and Daytona prototypes run in the
same class with the faster LMP2 race cars.
But it is GT where the factory racing gloves are really
coming off, and a Grand-Am class that used to be private
team tube-framed cars with clapped on American muscle
body work, has morphed into an international sports car
battleground with heavy-duty manufacturer action.
35 GT cars, 18 Porsche, seven Ferrari, four Audi, two BMW.
Oh, and the other four cars, the old
school Grand-Am GT stuff.
Private teams running an old Viper, an old Mazda, a
Corvette, and a Camaro.
But here's what caught my attention and should yours.
Like ALMS, where the brands are big time supporting their
GT teams or flat out fielding factory race teams, guess
what's going on in GT in 2013 at Daytona.
Every brand has shipped over factory drivers to get their
cars to the front and thrown more support, tech and
otherwise, at them.
Ferrari has done so and got the other brands' attention.
This number 61 Ferrari seems to be the lead car in their
team with a heavy-duty team of factory drivers, Fisichella,
Vilander, Papis, and Jeff Segal.
But typical Ferrari, who looks at their sports cars after
they look at their F1 support, they're not 100% behind this
GT program.
It's Audi that's raised the game with their level of
support, the dollars, tech, and more to get its cars on
the grid and to the front.
Rumor is those cars are loaned to the teams.
No one has bought anything.
Hey, you know Hertz has a cool program where you can rent
cars from their Prestige Collection, so may I reserve a
race car, Hertz?
Back to Audi, who knows how to race right.
They've got the commitment, capability, capacity, and
You can check all four boxes here for Audi.
This is more like the support we saw at the Spa 24.
So for Daytona, this is the start of a factory-supported
effort, just like the Spa winning car from Audi, and as
you'll see when our Spa 24 video finally breaks cover in
the next few weeks.
Back at Daytona, the R8 Audis, number 24, number 13--
oh my god--
and number 52, they look strong and
potential race winners.
Not that Porsche is sitting around awestruck.
Watch for the race-win defending Magnus car, and the
Brumos 911 among all of the other 18 Porsches that are
going to be attacking Daytona.
Segue to the Dakar Rally, where many proved their
commitment to racing with a win, and three of the top four
spots in the car category.
Stephane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret led
the MINI ALL4 team.
8,574 kilometers of tough terrain, wild weather,
flooding, and Peterhansel's 11th Dakar win.
Why Dakar works for the MINI brand, why
MINI needs to be bigger.
Four-wheel drive and running around off road and in the
desert still confuses me, but hey, the BMW-backed brand is
committed to success.
They have the four C's nailed.
And at the Monte Carlo WRC, while Sebastien Loeb won his
seventh, even though he's retired.
He's running only four WRC events in 2013.
It was Sebastien Ogier who brought the VW Polo R home
second, even while VW sheepishly terms their
first-generation WRC car conservative in design.
And it already seems apparently, when VW goes
racing there's no F-ing around.
The four C's, again, are in place at Volkswagen
And I understand there will be a VW announcement at Daytona
about US VW racing, so stay tuned.
Which gets us to ALMS and the American racing in Sebring,
the 12-hour event, which will be March 16.
And the race is no longer a world endurance event.
It's just an ALMS standalone, but it is still a great
shakedown for the Le Mans 24.
And this is the last time Sebring runs as an ALMS event
before that merger with Grand-Am in 2014, which if you
follow the news of the 2014 racing classes, it means no
LMP1 category in 2014.
So Audi announced its commitment to race two Audi
R18 E-tron Quattros in the 2013 Sebring 12.
The factory team is coming over with one 2012 E-tron spec
and one new 2013 spec to do A-B comparison evaluations.
Then they're staying on to test for another 12 hours, and
we've been invited to stay, too.
So stay tuned for that.
Here's last year's R18, and here's the new 2013 version,
with new aero, a rumored new bigger turbo system, and,
knowing Audi, improvement tweaks all around, and their
version of the Toyota rear wing.
Now, not to sound all JF, deifying Audi, but here's why
it's mindlessly easy as a race fan to respect Audi.
Follow me here, please.
Number one, so Toyota shows up in 2012, wins races, and
challenges Audi for WEC dominance.
Number two, Porsche announces they are coming back to LMP1
racing with all their heritage, expertise,
technology, and whatever.
Audi says, I got it.
Number three, Grand-AM and ALMS finally get their US
sports car racing house in order to create a defined
single platform.
Oh, and WEC parks a race in the US in Austin at Circuit of
the Americas, so both are good news, because the US is an
important market to Audi.
So what does Audi do with all this data?
Well, since they live and love the four C's, Audi increases
their commitment to the challenges and opportunities.
Two R18 cars racing in Sebring, because the race and
testing are the right things to do to win
the WEC and Le Mans.
And for Grand-Am, Audi steps up its commitment to R8 to get
real race teams on track, and not just for 2013, but to be
ready for the new 2014 ALMS Grand-Am combined series.
And to complete their utter commitment to be the sports
car racing god, no matter what Porsche says, thinks, or does,
rumor is they're also investing in building a GTE
version of the R8 LMS Ultra to go head to head in the premier
GT racing class, because in the series merger, the LMS GTE
class will be on top of the GT category.
The Grand-Am GTs will be slower and
Pro-Am drivers only.
Audi to GTE--
uh, Corvette, we may need a race car that does more than
just look European.
And listen to this.
By comparison to how Audi races, which by now, if you
haven't got my message, is Audi is the poster child for a
brand that races right.
Commitment, capability, capacity, and character.
Let's use Toyota as the offset example.
They, after showing us the marvelous TS030 that led the
Le Mans 24, won multiple races in the World Endurance
Championship, excited Toyota fans and non-Toyota loyalists,
reinforced Toyota's hybrid-tech leadership--
blah, blah, freaking blah--
all in the first year, and by any
definition, a great success.
What does Toyota do in year two at the program?
They cut it back to one car, only one car in the WEC in
2013, and probably not coming to Sebring to test, or race,
or anything.
And it's Toyota, so I still assume it's not about money.
That's right, it's Toyota and racing, where, based on their
past history, I question their true commitment to the four
C's and winning, even with a CEO that has
his own driver suit.
Some brands get it, some don't.
Audi gets it, Porsche gets it, VW gets it, and Chevy, I must
say, who won in every category they raced in 2012, maybe I
need to cut them some slack and admit that they get it.
In contrast, Lotus does not.
The Lotus Evora ALMS car will not be back this year.
And Alex Job, who ran the car, finally admitted he got no
support from Lotus.
Hyundai in the US, I'm not sure they get it.
And I'm not sure Ford gets it like they did in the old days.
Aston Martin announced a new partnership program with TRG,
the US racing team.
And the talk is huge about race cars in the ALMS GTE
class, Grand-Am GT class, a spec series for all Aston
Martins, and DP motors, and Jesus Christ, why not have an
Aston Martin blimp for the TV broadcast.
But until I see it's all real, it's all vaporware, hopes and
luck, none of which has anything to do with the four
C's of racing success.
So I'm not sure Aston gets it.
OK, I'm off to another meeting in Daytona.
Tell me what you think about racing brands that get it and
those that don't, and my suggestion that you measure
their success by commitment, capability,
capacity, and character.
And by the way, you can pick boyfriends and girlfriends
with the same criteria.
Hi, wifey wife.