Starting from the revolutionary Retinex by Land and McCann, several further perceptually inspired color correction models have been developed with different aims, e.g. reproduction of color sensation, robust features recognition, enhancement of color images. Such models have a differential, spatially-variant and non-linear nature and they can coarsely be distinguished between white-patch (WP) and gray-world (GW) algorithms. In this paper we show that the combination of a pure WP algorithm (RSR: random spray Retinex) and an essentially GW one (ACE) leads to a more robust and better performing model (RACE). The choice of RSR and ACE follows from the recent identification of a unified spatially-variant approach for both algorithms. Mathematically, the originally distinct non-linear and differential mechanisms of RSR and ACE have been fused using the spray technique and local average operations. The investigation of RACE allowed us to put in evidence a common drawback of differential models: corruption of uniform image areas. To overcome this intrinsic defect, we devised a local and global contrast-based and image-driven regulation mechanism that has a general applicability to perceptually inspired color correction algorithms. Tests, comparisons and discussions are presented.