Automania

F1 predictions come true

Those readers who follow F1 will remember I predicted that Mark Webber would go to Red Bull at the end of the year. Red Bull have now confirmed that Webber will join David Coulthard in the team next season.

Adrian Newey and David Coulthard

This is somewhat of a ‘d้jเ vu’ situation for Webber, as Red Bull was the team he led when it was known as Jaguar and owned by Ford. Consequently, he knows much about the team organization and it will be a welcome back for the Australian.
Webber had been prepared to stick it out with Williams, but Sir Frank, never known to be someone who throws money around, was not prepared to offer Webber enough to stay.
Webber said, “It’s fantastic to be joining Red Bull Racing. It’s clear that the team is very hungry for long-term success. I hope that with Red Bull Racing I can have my best Formula 1 season to date and believe that we can be very, very strong together. I’m looking forward to some great times with David and the rest of the team.”
With a new car designed by Adrian Newey (who was once the most successful designer at McLaren) this could be a very interesting team to follow. It is well funded, and the pairing of David Coulthard and Mark Webber should be very strong. Team boss Christian Horner hailed Coulthard’s performances saying, “It was an easy decision from both sides to extend the relationship for 2007. He’s still one of the best drivers on the grid and we’re delighted to have him in the team.”
Newey is regarded as the best motorsport designer in the world, and cars with which he has been involved at Williams and McLaren have won six drivers’ titles and seven constructors’ championships since 1992. Coulthard apparently played a key role last year in persuading Newey to join Red Bull from McLaren, where the two worked together from 1997-2004.
Webber’s arrival also raises the prospect of Renault engines next season for Red Bull, as the Australian driver is managed by Renault boss Flavio Briatore. It also makes Heikki Kovalainen favourite to replace the McLaren-bound Fernando Alonso at next season at Renault, who are expected to miss out on Kimi Raikkonen.


Is this the most ridiculous road car ever?

Two ex-McLaren engineers have created the Caparo T1, a thinly disguiser F1 racer for the road reports Auto News.
This ridiculous example of performance car overkill carries two people in two rows and is said to generate so much downforce that, at 240 km/h, it could be driven upside down in a tunnel.

Crazy Caparo

Its makers, the global company Caparo Vehicle Technologies Limited, employed ex-McLaren engineers Ben Scott-Geddes and Graham Halstead - who worked on the McLaren F1, Mercedes SLR and Formula One projects - to “create the ultimate track day experience”.
This they surely have done, what with a power-weight ratio (it weighs 470 kg) twice that of the astounding Bugatti Veyron, which means it will reach 160 km/h in the same time as a Porsche 911 gets to 100 km/h (that is about 3.6 seconds). Or from zero to 160 km/h, and back to a stop, by the time even a quick sedan reaches 100 km/h.
The basic structure of the Caparo is fundamentally F1, with a mid-engine configuration supported at each end by aerodynamic wishbone suspensions. The adjustable front and rear wings work in conjunction with the ground effect diffuser that sucks it so resoundingly onto the road.
The brakes comprise 355 mm steel race discs front and rear with six and four-pot machined calipers used respectively at the front and rear. The result is an ability to generate lateral and braking accelerations in excess of 3 G and a top speed of better than 320 km/h.
The dry-sumped, 2.4-litre aluminium V8 produces 358 kW at 10,500 rpm and drives through a six-speed sequential gearbox.


World’s fastest earth mover

The JCB DieselMax has been created to break the world land speed record for diesel powered automobiles. JCB is aiming to set a new land speed record for diesel vehicles with a super sleek streamliner car to be driven by Wing Commander Andy Green, the fastest man on Earth.

The record attempt will take place on the famous Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah during August 2006. The stunning, nine metre long JCB DieselMax car boasts twin 4-cylinder, 5-litre JCB444-LSR engines with the world’s highest specific power diesel engines used in any automobile application. With each delivering 750 hp and 1500 Nm torque, the engines are over five times the power of the production version and at 150 hp/litre, they exceed even motorsports applications as the world’s highest specific power diesels. At the same time the engines retain excellent fuel efficiency and very low emissions through the use of advanced combustion control and diesel particulate filter technology.
The resulting JCB444-LSR engines exhibit many of the technologies which are likely to form the basis of the next generation of high performance, low-emissions diesel engines in both automotive as well as heavy-duty applications.
Leading the project, codenamed H1, is Dr. Tim Leverton, JCB Group engineering director, who put together a world-class design team with extensive experience of Formula One, Le Mans, advanced diesel technology and transmissions.
Mentor to the project has been Richard Noble, the former land speed record holder, who encouraged the JCB team to aim for 300 mph; the existing record stands at 235.756mph.
Sir Anthony Bamford, chairman of privately owned JCB, is very clear why he wanted to build a JCB record-breaker, “I am passionate about the importance of engineering excellence to Britain and I see using the JCB engine for this record attempt as a fantastic way of showcasing what British engineers can do. The JCB444 has been acknowledged as a remarkable piece of engineering, and this programme to build the world’s fastest diesel-powered automobile is precisely the sort of technical challenge that we should rise to.”
Wing Commander Andy Green, who set the first-ever supersonic world land speed record at 763.035 mph in ThrustSSC on the Black Rock Desert on 15 October 1997, is thrilled to have been given another opportunity to enter the record books. He said, “We will be following in the tradition of British record breakers by running at the sport’s spiritual home, the remarkable Bonneville Salt Flats. I am really looking forward to driving another British entry in the ‘300 mph Club,’ and a diesel-engined, wheel-driven one at that.”
The current diesel-powered land speed record stands at 235.756 mph to Virgil W. Snyder and the Thermo King Streamliner and dates back to 25 August 1973.
In the lead up to the attempt, the JCB has topped 200 mph on an airstrip in the UK. During two weeks of testing at RAF Wittering, Peterborough, the diesel-powered JCB car achieved a top speed of 201 mph and seven runs over 180 mph. However, the runway is only 1.6 miles long compared with the nine miles available in Bonneville so this has limited the car’s speed to 200mph.
“I’m so impressed with what has been achieved - exceeding 200 mph really shows the potential of the car to break the record,” said Wing Commander Andy Green. “Combined the engines have twice the power of a Formula 1 car and it’s remarkably easy to drive. It steers very well, the brakes work smoothly and the chassis is extremely stiff. That gives you the confidence you need when accelerating to very high speeds and then coming to a stop in a limited space.”
“We’ve been working to an exceptionally tight timescale and we’re having to learn new things every day, from engine and transmission performance to parachute deployment,” he continued. “It’s impossible for everything to work perfectly when testing land speed record vehicles as you’re pushing the boundaries but we’re on target.”
Dr Tim Leverton, the project director emphasized, “We have learnt a huge amount about the car and the team has done a fantastic job of overcoming the many challenges we have inevitably faced in such a complex and demanding project. I am really proud that we have exceeded 200 mph at this stage of development, and now we can be more confident about achieving our target of 300 mph at Bonneville. The car is a testament to the very best of British engineering.”
During the trials Green has had 1200 hp available while on the Salt Flats the engines will produce their full 1500 bhp. The actual record attempt should be later this month.


Kia comes out with another new one

Thailand is sitting with fingers crossed, hoping that the Kia Rio can be brought here as the ultimate econocar, which is reputedly going to sell for under 500,000 baht.

Kia ED

Now the company is releasing in Europe the Euro ED hatch which is expected to be joined by a range of station wagons and sporty high-performance three-door hatchback models from September and December 2007, respectively.
Based on the Cee’d concept car, the hatch has been designed with Europe in mind and will make its world debut at the Paris motor show in September.
Kia has designed and engineered the ED to challenge the established class leaders in Europe, namely the VW Golf, Vauxhall Astra and Ford Focus. The ED shares its underbody architecture with Hyundai and is tipped to replace the Cerato in Europe.
At 4200 mm long the ED has a 2650 mm wheelbase, and Kia claims it offers class-leading interior space, plus highly competitive levels of equipment and state-of-the-art active and passive safety features.
In Europe, four engines will be available including 1.4 liter, 1.6 liter and 2.0 liter CVVT petrol engines and an all-new 1.6 liter VGT diesel engine.
Visually the hatch has strong design with kicked-up rear window, pronounced wedge with a high waistline and headlights that feed into the bonnet line. The ED will be built at Kia’s first-ever European manufacturing facility at Zilina in Slovakia.


Autotrivia Quiz
Last week I asked which World Land Speed record driver was a fur broker by profession? A couple of clues: his car was four wheel drive and an oil company was involved. The answer was John Cobb (the Railton Mobil Special) and Peter Eades was first across the line this week! He had actually driven one of Cobb’s record breakers as well (illicitly)! Well done, Peter.
So to this week. In the formulae for racing cars in 1906 and 1908, both stipulated weight regulations. The weights were almost the same (1000 kg and 1100 kg), but what was totally different?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected]
Good luck!