Little did our SCi Five Questions’ guest know he’s had a bullseye on his back since I first started thinking about this deal. And why not? He’s charismatic, motivated and knows how to run a race program. Doug Fehan is not only well liked within the racing community, he’s won the American Le Mans Series “From The Fans” award so many times, they might as well call it the Doug Fehan Award.
Entries in ALMS (29)
Photos by John Thawley
You meet Melanie Snow and you know you’re meeting one of the “good guys.” She’s charming, attractive, has an infectious smile and, given half a chance, she’ll kick your ass on any one of the finest sport car tracks in the country. Charming, attractive, infectious smile aside, Melanie knows how to win.
Last week, while toasting the tremendous success of Corvette Racing (see: Toasting A Decade of Excellence For Corvette Racing ), I also pointed out that it hadn’t come easy, as internal political squabbles within GM marketing had plagued the program from the beginning, threatening to derail it many times during its existence. This was especially true last week when GM marketing and racing operatives traveled to Charlotte to deliver the bad news about the realities of its financial cutbacks to its NASCAR teams. It’s no secret that certain individuals within GM marketing are openly biased toward the company’s NASCAR programs and were willing to throw Corvette Racing under the bus in no uncertain terms if it meant “protecting” its sacred NASCAR involvement.
Karl Ludvigsen, the highly decorated author and historian and the man who has covered the automobile industry and motorsports for over 50 years, once wrote the definitive book on the history of Porsche entitled “Excellence Was Expected.” An impressive work that Karl has updated three times, it set the standard for every serious automotive book to come after it, and it remains one of my personal favorites. The title alone spoke volumes about Porsche the man and Porsche the company, and it summed up the essence of that automotive icon in three perfectly honed words.
Think about those words and what they mean for a moment. Excellence - the term that’s thrown around so casually in this modern era but is seemingly harder to achieve with each passing year - describes the raison d’etre of the Porsche that once was, a product of the single-minded vision of one brilliantly gifted engineer. Free of the cold corporate attitude and pure politics that define the company that exists today, Porsche back then defined the very essence of excellence. While Expected suggests that anything less was unacceptable and simply a waste of time, energy and effort. When I use riffs based on the title of Karl’s book, it’s only with the utmost respect to him and the subject I’m writing about.
On Monday, Audi unveiled its newest weapon, the R15 TDI. The public launch of the second-generation diesel-powered prototype actually came a week earlier than expected, as the German automaker had originally planned to take the wraps off the car just prior to its race debut at Sebring. But instead, the R15 TDI debuted on a deserted test track in Ingolstadt, with Lucas Luhr handling the driving duties aboard the fully liveried No. 1 machine.