San Diego native Norm DeWitt spent the summers riding the trails of Lake Tahoe on a Suzuki 80 scrambler, terrorizing the locals on their Honda step-thru 90s. In 1967 he attended the Donner Summit Hill Climb soon after the movie Grand Prix premiered. Those experiences combined into a fascination with racing of all types. It was a magical time of technical variety and innovation… an era of high wing Chaparrals, Turbine Cars, H-16 BRMs, Gurney Eagles, and 5 cylinder 125cc GP motorcycles.
Per Motorcyclist Magazine - “An Architect and underpaid author/photographer by trade, Norm DeWitt saw the Lotus turbine cars race at Riverside, and has been a hopeless racing addict ever since.” Interest in off-road bikes did not translate into racing success, but on 4 wheels it was different. Winning his first race (SCCA Solo 2) led to numerous wins in autocross and road racing. Driving, fabricating and developing his own car, many SCCA National wins and track records were achieved in D production and GT-3, including 5th place in the final D Production race (‘83 Runoffs - Road Atlanta), while sponsored by Dick Barbour. By the 1990’s, DeWitt was racing sailboats with success.
The Engineering background combined with hands-on experience fabricating and developing racing machinery, resulted in an ability to understand what the designer, team engineer, or driver was describing. Combined with a knack for storytelling, DeWitt’s articles have spanned the spectrum of performance machinery. It might be working with Oracle on a technical analysis of their America’s Cup racer, or with Chuck Yeager, Bob Hoover, and Robert Cardenas on the X-plane program that broke the sound barrier. Or with Chip Hanauer on Unlimited Hydroplane development, or A J Foyt and Parnelli Jones on the Indianapolis roadster development. It could be tales of motorcycle racing with Jeremy Burgess, Valentino Rossi, Kenny Roberts, Jorge Lorenzo, or Wayne Rainey.
This diverse background makes for an appreciation for shared technologies that often go without notice. ‘Making it FASTER’ is such an effort, combining insights from the designers, engineers, team managers, and racers into a spectrum of racing development across the past 60 years, 1st person accounts by those directly involved. ‘Making it FASTER’ is an homage to DeWitt’s childhood hero, Sir Jackie Stewart, whose 1971 book was ‘FASTER’, and who also helped with ‘Making it FASTER’.
Norm DeWitt’s work has appeared in Cycle World, Auto Enthusiast, National Speed Sport News, Motorcycle Racer, Classic Racer, Corvette Enthusiast, Aviation Classics, Cycle News, Motorcyclist, Racer X, Road Racer X, Vintage Guitar, Classic Dirt Bike, Roundel (BMW), The Classic Motorcycle, Grassroots Motorsports, So. Pac News and a wide range of international publications.
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