Last week I mentioned that four wheel drive is commonplace
these days, but this was not always the case. I asked what was the make of the
first four wheel drive to run in a hill climb. Clue, the car was crashed on its
second outing, driven by a man with the same name as the car. The car was the
4.9 liter Bugatti driven by Louis Chiron at the Swiss Klausen hill climb on the
7th of August 1932. One month later it was taken to
Shelsley Walsh in the UK, where Jean Bugatti crashed it in practice.
So to this week. Brooklands racing circuit once saw a Charron
stop for no apparent reason, thought the driver, until it was noticed that the
fuel tank had fallen off! Quite the opposite was a famous NASCAR episode where
the scrutineers had removed the fuel tank of one car to check its capacity, and
the car was driven off without it. I want to know who prepared this car?
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Will Nattavude win the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia?
The 2005 Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia title will be
decided on Macau’s legendary Guia street circuit on November 20, in what
promises to be one of the most thrilling races ever.
Just 17 points separate the top four drivers, and
(mathematically) with 20 points up for grabs, the title could go to any one of
them. Adding to the close nature of this series, championship leader and
reigning British GT Champion Jonathan Cocker has no previous experience of the
demanding and unforgiving Macau Guia street circuit. In fact, it will be the
first time he has ever raced on a street circuit.
Local Thai champion, Thailand’s Charoensukhawatana
Nattavude trails Cocker by five points having led the championship from round
two right up until the race in Shanghai last month. Nattavude has a wealth of
experience at Macau having competed there for many years in touring cars and,
more recently in the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia. In fact, Nattavude has
been a winner at Macau on two wheels and four, having been the Macau Grand Prix
Super Bike Champion 1989, 1991 and 1993 (Kawasaki ZXR 750-750R). He has also
been the Thailand Grand Touring Car (TGTC) Champion in 1993, 1994, 1999, 2000,
2001, 2003 and third in 2002; Asian Touring Car Champion 2001 and was third in
the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in 2003.
The other two contenders include Darryl O’Young, a 25 year
old Hong Kong driver, and defending champion Matthew Marsh, both of whom have
also much experience of the Guia Circuit which can be relied upon to produce
plenty of unexpected additional drama. This is one circuit where one mistake
wins you a wall, not a championship cup!
I have a very high regard for Nattavude, and consider him to be the most
polished current race driver from Thailand. Not only very skilled, but a nice
chap as well.
Is the A1GP series working?
From the point of view of the organizers, it seems that this
level playing field competition is working well. The spectators at each round
are very satisfied with the racing, and the drivers are obviously all enjoying
themselves as well. However, for the rest of the world, relying on local TV
channels is currently very frustrating, with one round being broadcast here on
the Monday night, instead of the Sunday.
Carbon-Ceramic brakes. The ultimate?
What have Porsche, Audi, Mercedes, Ferrari and a Formula 1
car all got in common? Well, apart from the fact that they are all high
performance automobiles, these manufacturers are now also offering the ultimate
in braking technology hardware for the top echelon of their products. The common
factor is Carbon-Ceramic brakes.
of this composite Carbon-Ceramic material was developed in the aircraft
industry. Aviation researchers noted the potential for reduced wear and for a
higher and more stable friction coefficient. Use of this material also reduced
brake weight. In aircraft operations, these carbon materials result in a more
rapid operational turn-around, as they lose their heat much more quickly than
conventional metal discs, and the plane can then be refuelled safely much
earlier than with metallic brakes.
With Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari and Porsche all offering
Carbon-Ceramic brakes as an option, it is worth looking at why these are just so
For example, Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) use a
cross-drilled, carbon fiber reinforced ceramic disc with special composite pads.
The new PCCB brake disc weighs 50 percent less than its cast-iron counterpart
despite considerably larger dimensions. Another key benefit of PCCB is the
carbon brake’s exceptional life. While the actual rate of wear on all brake
components, particularly pads and discs, is entirely dependent on individual
driving style and vehicle usage, comparison testing reveals a much longer life
expectancy with PCCB than with conventional braking systems, where Porsche claim
250,000 km or more under normal driving conditions.
So in summary, Carbon-Ceramic brake discs offer substantial
improvements in several fundamental areas. The ceramic brake disc achieves not
only very high, but also consistent frictional coefficients, maintaining them
independent of temperature and weather conditions.
Carbon-Ceramic brake discs also offer a tremendous weight
advantage over traditional grey-cast iron components. This reduces the weight of
the suspension and means a reduction in unsprung mass resulting in a further
improvement in shock absorber response and road-holding behavior.
2006 F1 Season (provisional)
Mar 12: Bahrain Grand Prix (Bahrain)
Mar 19: Malaysian Grand Prix (Sepang)
Apr 02: Australian Grand Prix (Melbourne)
Apr 23: San Marino Grand Prix (Imola)
May 07: European Grand Prix (Nurburgring, Germany)
May 14: Spanish Grand Prix (Barcelona)
May 28: Monaco Grand Prix (Monte Carlo)
Jun 11: British Grand Prix (Silverstone)
Jun 25: Canadian Grand Prix (Montreal)
Jul 02: United States Grand Prix (Indianapolis)
Jul 16: French Grand Prix (Mangy-Cours)
Jul 30: German Grand Prix (Hockenheim)
Aug 06: Hungarian Grand Prix (Hungaroring)
Aug 27: Turkish Grand Prix (Istanbul)
Sep 10: Italian Grand Prix (Monza)
Sep 17: Belgian Grand Prix (Spa-Francorchamps)
Oct 01: Japanese Grand Prix (Suzuka)
Oct 08: Chinese Grand Prix (Shanghai)
Oct 22: Brazilian Grand Prix (Interlagos)