Local kart champions move up and train on pizzas
team before painting in team colors
The new Pizza Company Racing Team is hoping to make its mark
on Thailand’s race circuits this year, in the Toyota Vios One Make series.
The team consists of three drivers, Paul Kenny (Australia),
Martin Stuvik (Norway) and Thomas Raldorf (Denmark) and six mechanics.
The drivers in the team have a strong karting background.
Paul Kenny has no previous racing experience in cars, only in Karting where he
won the Thai national championship in 1995. Martin Stuvik drove a little kart as
a young boy back in Norway, but in 2001 he purchased his first go-kart here in
Thailand and won the Thai national championship, in 2004 and in 2005 he won
every race he entered. Thomas Raldorf has been racing karts for 26 years, but
this will be his first year in sedan car racing, and he is hoping to take it to
the same level as his father did in 1982, when he won the Danish national
championship. Thomas won the Danish national championship in karting back in
1984, and has since won the Thai national championship in 1998, 2002, 2004 and
2005. Unfortunately Thomas broke his foot in a domestic accident and hopes to
have the cast off two days before the first race on the 29th of April.
The sponsors of the team include The Pizza Company, Sizzler,
Swensen’s, DSL (Deborah Services Ltd.), Jotun (Thailand) and Dacon Inspection
Services Ltd. And like most teams are still looking for more!
All three cars will be painted red and will have a broad
white strip going up over the hood, roof, and boot.
The first two races will be held at Bira International race
circuit on the 29th and 30th of April and 10-11 June this year. The next two
races will be street races in Khon Kaen, and Chiang Mai, and the last race will
be at the new Thailand International Motor sports Complex (TIMC) in Chonburi,
which should be ready for use in Oct-Nov. If the track is not ready, the last
race will then be held at Bira instead.
Bira race circuit calendar
Many of you have asked for the calendar for the Bira circuit.
This is from their website at www.grandprixgroup.com/bira/
The first name for each denotes the promoting group.
Royal Automobile Association of Thailand (RAAT)
Touring Car, Pickup, Motorcycle, Concept Car, Club Race 5.
Rd.1, 8-9 Apr
Rd.2, 3-4 Jun
Rd.3, 5-6 Aug
Rd.4, 7-8 Oct
Rd.5, 2-3 Dec 5
2. Asian Festival of Speed (A.F.O.S.)
Touring Car, Porsche Carrera Cup, Formula BMW
3. Thailand Super Car
Touring Car, Pickup, Motorcycle, Club Race, Go-Kart
Rd.1, 29-30 Apr
Rd.2, 10-11 Jun
Rd.3, 29-30 Jul
Rd.4, 9-10 Sep
Rd.5, 4-5 Nov 5
4. Kart Championship Thailand
Rd.1, 5 Feb
Rd.2, 14 May
Rd.3, 20 Aug
Rd.4, 22 Oct 4
That’s the best I can do, so don’t shoot me if they
change the dates!
Last week I mentioned the Segway, and I asked who invented
it? This would not have been difficult for the Googlers. It was Dean Kamen, an
So to this week. Following on for the technical piece on electric cars - how
many makes of electric cars were there between 1896 and 1939?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email
12,000 batteries and a large chunk of copper brings a world record
It is said that copper wire was invented by
two Scotsmen fighting over a penny they found in the street (the
old British penny, being also known as a “copper”). Of
course that is just a joke, but the use of copper in today’s
automobiles is no joking matter, with most cars now using around
30 kg of copper in their construction. In fact, the Copper
Development Association claimed in 2003 that the average vehicle
needed more than 1.5 km of copper wiring for its harnesses,
starters, generators and small electric motors, amounting to a
copper content of 14.85 kg for smaller and 27.66 kg for luxury
cars. “Fast glass” and remote locking is paid for in the
price of the increased use of copper.
The copper wires and harnesses found in
vehicles are safe and preferred by car manufacturers over other
conducting metals, for their tear resistance and mechanical
strength. In addition, copper’s corrosion resistance
guarantees signal and power transmission whenever indicators or
headlamps are switched on and when power brakes and ABS
(antilock brakes) are applied. Copper applications are used in
comfort features including power steering, electric locks and
windows and seat adjustments. In fact, in this age of
“X-by-wire”, most times that wire is copper.
The electrical side of motor vehicles is
increasing in its importance. The future mass market vehicles
will have 42V electrical systems, and will probably be hybrid
and electric vehicles, and use power train technologies that
allow for better fuel economy and fewer emissions, and these are
some prospective new technologies in which copper will play a
General Motors have indicated that they
expect the copper usage to increase by between 1 and 2 kg per
unit, as a result of new communications and navigation systems.
SatNav also comes at a price in copper, it seems. With hybrids,
the copper use is expected to jump by 30-60 percent.
Angela Vessey, director of the Copper
Development Association in the UK said, “Copper is meeting the
demands of the 21st century, its advantages in performance are
vital for the development of new automotive technologies. Not
only will copper be involved in environmentally friendly
propulsion systems of the future, but already today copper is
increasingly recycled from end-of-life vehicles, limiting
negative waste into the environment. Copper has one of the
highest recycling rates among engineering metals in the world
and nearly 45 percent of all copper used in the European Union
today is from recycled resources.” Interesting that your new
hybrid could actually be made from bits of an East German
Trabant! Heaven forbid! It must fail!
Electricity as a power source is actually
gaining a stronger foothold in the mainstream, and not just
through hybrids. This is returning to a position that it was in
100 years ago, but many factors arose to lower the spark of
However, let us look at a little history. The
leading manufacturer of electric vehicles in the world at the
end of the 19th century was the Baker Motor Vehicle Company,
started by Walter C. Baker in 1898. Indeed, the company still
stands as the largest producer of electric vehicles in history,
despite ceasing business in 1916.
Bakers displayed the first shaft-driven auto
at the first US automobile show in Madison Square Garden and
Baker sold his first electric car to electrical guru Thomas A.
Edison himself. Edison firmly believed that electric cars would
eventually win out over their petrol-engine competition, and if
he had stuck around long enough, he might have been able to see
his prediction proved correct!
Yes, at the turn of the century, 105 years
ago, electricity was king. The world land speed record was 66
mph, set in 1899 by an eccentric gentleman by the name of
Camille Jenatzy, driving a large bullet-shaped device called
“La Jamais Contente”.
Being the world’s major electric car
manufacturer, Baker had to go one better, and he designed and
built the “Baker Torpedo”, a vehicle that was radically
different, so much so that it would be another 20 years before
anything even resembling this design would be seen. This vehicle
even incorporated aerodynamic design. Remember that in pure
engineering terms, “form follows function”.
Powered by 11 Edison lead acid batteries and
driven by a 14 hp Elwell-Parker electric motor, the car had a
potential top speed of nearly 130 mph, but the potential was
never to be realized. Contemporary news reported that the day
Baker became the first man to travel at 100 mph, a wheel came
off the vehicle and killed two spectators. Though Baker had run
the measured mile in 36 seconds, the paperwork for the attempt
was never filed, and he never attempted another record.
From the point of view of ‘everyday’
motoring, electric propulsion came to a sputtering end around
1915. Its dimming light was due to many factors, including the
invention of the electric “self-starter” by Charles
Kettering in 1912, making it easy to start petrol engined cars
– before then it was a matter of standing in the rain and
cranking the handle at the front of the car.
Another factor was the improvement in the
American road system, so the public was driving further, and
electric cars had a limited range. By that stage, the petrol
engined vehicles were also appreciably faster than the shorter
range electric cars, so people could get to their destinations
in a shorter time too.
The price of gasoline went down as well when
oil was discovered in Texas, so people could also afford to
drive further. The final nail in the electric cars’ coffins
was the ‘smarter’ use of technology by people such as Henry
Ford, who by using mass production techniques could produce a
petrol engined Ford for one third of the price of Baker’s hand
produced electric cars.
However, as pointed out earlier, electricity
is staging a comeback, and not just in the number of copper
wires that are needed to keep today’s cars functioning.
Electric vehicles are attacking world land speed records again,
and in 2004 the Ohio State University’s electric vehicle, the
“Buckeye Bullet”, with 12,000 batteries, broke the electric
vehicle land speed records, raising the bar to more than 300
miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt flats.
Like Arnie, electric cars are back!