It amazes me; they still think the driver counts,
even inside these great steel boats. Between smooth
first-timers and crumpled, reconstructed veterans,
you’d think the car would finally be the hero
of the show. Behind every twisted design,
every spray-painted target or joke, lies

the rat-like racer’s mind, full of stories and lies
about angles of attack, exaggerated body counts,
horsepower. Tracing a strange circular design
backwards in the mud, hoping for a smooth
passage between two hulks, each driver is a hero
in the making, bright-eyed rookies and veterans

alike. They see themselves as strange old veterans
of Grand Prix: Stirling Moss (in one of those lies
laid like a laurel on the head of an ancient hero)
once took a beer from a fan’s hand; two lap counts
later he returned the empty glass, so smooth
you’d never know he passed at 135, winning. Design

has always centered on such bozos. But my design
has been to eliminate these hallowed veterans,
to make the machines so quick, so smooth,
so simple, that the true secret of winning lies
underneath the pale steel skin. The driver counts
for very little, in my cars. The machine is the only hero.

He climbs from the steaming wreck, tonight’s hero,
sole survivor, creator of that perfect design
for a car used as a hammer. Sure, winning counts
a lot here, where even the hardest of veterans
sees little victory. And perhaps they know that talent lies
with welding torch and wrenches, not just being smooth

behind the wheel. I run a mental finger down the smooth
fender line of the Cobra. The eternal American hero;
it won so many easy races, yet its only secret lies
in its simplicity. That’s the beauty of design.
No, this business doesn’t produce too many veterans
on this side of the wheel. But when the aging Moss counts

his checkered flags, counts his trophies, the smooth
steel Cobra catalogs the veterans it’s defeated. Fool hero,
tell all the lies you want. You’re just a part of the design.