Paul Tracy was always worth the price of admission to an American open-wheel race in his heyday. Sadly, the last few years of his career was mainly spent in part-time rides where he needed to outperform the machinery at his disposal, and he never reached the dizzying heights he achieved earlier on.
Still, Tracy was always a good sound bite at any point in his career. And in his first column for the U.K.’s MotorSport Magazine, Tracy’s famous no-holds-barred style shines through once more.
Two parts of American racing stuck out to “PT” in the column: officiating inconsistencies, and the relative lack of horsepower currently appearing for IndyCar.
The last lap of the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the GT Daytona class generated controversy for a call assessed to the Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari team for avoidable contact, later rescinded.
Of it, Tracy said the lack of a clear definition of what constitutes “blocking” led to the call.
“In the end, you just don’t know because there’s not a clear understanding, at least in my eyes, and I know in many other drivers’ minds where the line is drawn,” Tracy wrote.
He added some European drivers struggle to adapt because of that alleged lack of clarity.
“Sometimes guys race hard and there aren’t any penalties and you begin to think it’s fair game,” he explained. “Then somebody is given a penalty for doing the same thing everyone else has been doing. There’s no consistency. I complained through most of my career about inconsistent officiating. I barked up that tree a long time, wasting my energy and breath over many years and never got the resolution that I was searching for.”
Tracy also said the reason some drivers need to over-drive and constantly keep the power down is because there isn’t the same amount of power as there was in the 1990s into early 2000s.
“The CART cars from 15 years ago had 900hp and we were going down Lakeshore Boulevard in Toronto at more than 190mph,” he wrote. “But now the cars are so under-powered that the drivers don’t want to lift off the gas.”
It’s a tough balance for IndyCar and the American sports car championship that raced at Daytona. Officiating consistency is an easier measure to rectify than a power increase, as the power increase takes time to develop a lump that produces greater bhp.
Still, hard not to agree in part with what “The Thrill from West Hill” is saying. Because more power is always a good thing.