Automania by Dr. Iain Corness

Bangkok International Motor Show closes April 8

Over the next few weeks I will give you the run-down on the Bangkok International Motor Show, plus what is happening in the motorcycle arena, courtesy of Alan Coates, my motorcycling source of information.

However, if you wish to see what is in the show yourself, it will be open until April 8, but I am sorry, they do not sell finger-marked samples at throw away prices on the final Sunday!

Last year 1.6 million people went through the turnstiles for our Bangkok Motor Show. This year there will be more. There is parking in the BITEC grounds (Km 1 Bangna-Trat road) as well as parking areas on LaSalle Street for another 4,000 vehicles. If you are coming by public transport, then go to On Nut Skytrain terminal and catch one of the 10 shuttle buses going to BITEC.

Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I asked where did the name Aston Martin come from? It came from the hill climb at Aston Clinton in the UK and Lionel Martin, one of the founders of the company.
So to this week. Who was known as the Tigress of Turin? Clue: she at one stage drove the car which had previously won the 1977 Australian Grand Prix.
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected]
Good luck!

Malaysian Eff Wun GP next weekend

Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren

With the F1 season having kicked off in Melbourne, we now have had the opportunity to see and compare the various teams and the performances of the new cars (and drivers).

Ferrari is again the cream of the crop. Obviously fastest in qualifying trim, and even more obviously the fastest in race trim, with Raikkonen over 1 second a lap faster than the McLarens of Alonso and Lewis Hamilton who had 4 hundredths of a second difference between them. This is why Hamilton’s race debut was so impressive. He matched the current world champion in equal machinery. Hamilton is the star of the future.

0.3 of a second behind the McLarens were the BMWs, with Kubica marginally quicker than Heidfeld. Obviously an equal pairing.

Right in there with the BeeEmms was Rosberg in the Williams, but he was almost 2 seconds quicker than his team mate Wurz. Sir Frank Williams will be looking for an improvement, or things for Wurz will get worse.

Down in the Renault camp, Heikki Kovalainen was almost a second slower than Fisichella, and he has been told in no uncertain terms that he has to improve. Briatore describing the young Finn’s performance as “rubbish”. Fisichella was much slower than Alonso last year, so it’s not as if Kovalainen is being compared to the World Champion either. Heikki must improve or he’ll be hitchhiking out of the Renault motor home.

The “works” teams of Toyota and Honda will have been contemplating their futures in the past two weeks. With both teams having been beaten soundly by ‘customer engine’ outfits (Toyota engines in the Williams and Honda engines in the Super Aguris) it will be ritual hara-kiri if it happens again. Heads bowing in apology will not be enough. Heads will roll, literally.

The rest did not do much, other than the Red Bull team which managed to crash (Coulthard) and spin on the way into pit lane (Webber). There is definitely a common bond between these two drivers, as Coulthard managed to crash into the pit fence in Australia a few years ago when he was driving for Williams.

Let us see what improvements have been made next weekend in Sepang.

Local Motorsport Calendar

Many of you ask for the local motor sport calendar, and to be honest, it has always been very difficult to get this information. Many reasons, some tied up in language barriers, and others through a delightful penchant of the promoters for changing the dates at seemingly a moment’s notice! However, for what it is worth, here is the calendar, which came to me courtesy of Thomas Raldorf from the Pizza Company Racing Team.
Go-kart: Thai National Championship Race series
Round 1: Saraburi February 25 (already run, results can be found on
Round 2: Korat April 1
Round 3: Bira May 20
Round 4: Bira July 8
Round 5: Saraburi August 26
Round 6: Saraburi September 30
Round 7: Bira November 18
Go-kart: Superkart Thailand Race series
(Club race series)
Round 1: Bira March 11 (already run)
Round 2: Bira April 29
Round 3: Bira June 3
Round 4: Bira August 5
Round 5: Bira October 28
Round 6: Saraburi December 9
Supercar Thailand Race Series
Rounds 1 and 2: Bira April 28 and 29
Round 3: Squadron 206 Watthananakhon Srakaew July 8
Round 4: Bira September 16
Rounds 5 and 6: (Street Race, on provisional course) Bang Saen Beach, Chonburi November 10 and 11
Toyota Vios and Yaris One Make Race Series
Round 1: Chiang Mai (Provisional Track at “Sanam 700 Phi”) May 5/6
Round 2: Ubonratchathani (Street race) June 23/24
Round 3: Phuket (Street Race) August 18/19
Round 4: Udonthani (Street Race) October 20/21
Round 5: Bang Saen Beach (Street Race) November 10/11
Honda Racing Festival
(note these are all on Saturdays)
Round 1: Bira April 21
Round 2: Bira June 16
Round 3: Bira August 11
Round 4: Bira October 13
Round 5: December 15