Say “Hi!” to Hyundai
After many years of its absence in Thailand,
Hyundai is coming back to the kingdom. Not only is it back as a
sales entity, but it intends to assemble the Hyundai Sonata model at
the Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant in Samut Prakan, where
Mercedes Benz also assemble certain models. The Sonata will be
pitched against the market segment with the Toyota Camry, Honda
Accord and Nissan Teana.
As well as the Sonata, Hyundai will be selling the Santa Fe SUV and
their two door Coupe, also called the Tiburon or Tuscani. I am not
sure which name will be given to it in Thailand.
Hyundai have been getting good ratings overseas, so it will be
interesting to see if they can get a toe in the door currently being
held shut by the Japanese.
And for the most fantastic Hyundai make-over take a look at this,
sent up to me by our roving correspondent John Weinthal, who called
it the “Bendai” or “Hyuntley”. Take your pic. The license plate says
California. Brilliant job by whoever did it.
Last week I mentioned that a famous French record breaking
car had to stop its endurance run to allow the French Grand Prix to be held,
then it continued on after the GP was over. What was the car, and when did this
happen? The correct answer was La Petite Rosalie, a Citroen that was vying for
the endurance records between two and 133 days! It was in 1933 on the Montlhery
circuit, and it had to be parked on a dais while the French Grand Prix was run,
after which it resumed the record attempts. The outcome was 288,000 km at an
average speed of 93 kph. That’s not bad going for 1933.
So to this week, and let’s stay with record breaking. Ice cooling was used for
three world land speed record attempts. What were the three cars? Clue: 1928,
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email
[email protected] Good luck!
Young local racers on way up
The first local driver is Jack Lemvard, now with sponsorship from
Ocean 1 Tower Racing to assist him make the next step up the very expensive
motor racing ladder. Jack has been racing go-karts (guided by ex-Danish
champion Thomas Raldorf) and then last year went into the Toyota Vios one
make races, winning that very competitive series quite convincingly (and
incidentally beating his former mentor Thomas Raldorf).
Iain wishing he were 22 again with Jack (left) and James (right).
With the Ocean 1 Racing behind him, which has already supplied him with a test
drive in the Formula BMW Asia open-wheelers in Indonesia, the world is certainly
his oyster at present. He has the talent, all he needs now is more experience
and ‘lucky breaks’.
The second young driver is teenager James Grunwell. Now in his second year in
Formula BMW, James Grunwell, representing Thailand, has taken the lead in the
Asian series. Following a win in Sentul (Indonesia) Grunwell (18/THA/CIMB Team
Qi-Meritus) took victory in Round 11 of Formula BMW Asia, and following the
exclusion of his team mate Jazeman Jaafar, Grunwell has now taken over at the
top of the Driver Classification with the slim margin of two points. Jazeman
second and Zahir Ali lies 3rd on the leaderboard, 20 points behind, with BMW
Junior Ross Jamison (17/CIMB Team Qi-Meritus) of Hong Kong 4th overall and top
of the Rookie Cup standings, although an impressive performance by fellow Junior
Kyle Mitchell (16/RSA/Eurasia Motorsport), which saw him take both wins in the
category today, mean his lead is reduced to 13 points.
Rounds 13-16 will be held at the brand new race track in Chengdu China, on
September 15 and 16. Thailand has its fingers crossed for you, James.
Fantastic plastic for wheels?
Lightweight wheels are a must-have for automotive enthusiasts as they
significantly decrease unsprung weight and improve handling characteristics.
What is more, they make your car look better.
Though fiber-composite materials are used in motorsport, and promise better
long-term performance than their metal counterparts, they have been unable
to make their way into the mainstream due to a lack of suitable testing
methods. Just because they hung together in a 600 kg race car, does not mean
that they are necessarily going to hang together on a 2,500 kg pick-up, for
Standardized testing methods do exist for conventional rims made of steel or
aluminium, but there is doubt as to whether the testing methods for metal
wheels can be applied to composite materials. However, German researchers
have created a new method which can reliably simulate how an individual
composite wheel will cope with the stresses of driving on public roads,
including hitting the curb and potholes, and the meeting of quality
standards, without destroying the wheel. Non-destructive testing, in the
A composite wheel consists of two main components - a matrix and reinforcing
fibers. Through their interaction the two components achieve better
properties in the composite material than they do separately.
Working in conjunction with colleagues from four other Fraunhofer
institutes, research engineers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural
Durability and System Reliability LBF in Darmstadt are developing a
simulation method which reliably predicts the quality of the rims. “First we
produce a computed tomography (CT) image of the wheel,” explains Dr. Andreas
BŁter, Head of Department at the LBF. “The image enables us to ascertain the
length, alignment, curvature and density of the fibers. These parameters are
crucial for the strength and load capacity of the material.”
On the basis of these results the research scientists simulate the
microstructure of the material, a virtual unitary cell in which they can for
the first time depict arbitrary material configuration.
Applying the results from the unitary cell, they use a numerical component
model to simulate how the wheel will handle bends in the road or hitting the
curb and how it would behave in a crash. “We calculate the stress and
elongation occurring in the material under various loadings,” says BŁter.
“We know from experiments what stresses the material can withstand without
being damaged and what elongations will damage it. This enables us to make a
reliable assessment of plastic wheels.”
This is an interesting development of the medical CT scans, now applied to
wheels. The only problem I see is that it would be very expensive to carry
out the testing, and how do you ensure that all wheels from the same batch
have the same standard in construction.
Rattles and squeaks
There is probably nothing more annoying than a squeak or rattle
in your car. You spend hours bashing the dashboard trying to locate exactly
where the noise is coming from. In desperation you take the car and its
rattle to the service center, and guess what? The rattle disappears and you
feel like a right proper goat.
However, the smart chaps have come up with the answer. The Rattlebuster, a
UKP10 CD that plays vibration-inducing tones through your car stereo.
Mimicking several different road travel frequencies, the Rattlebuster lets
you track down loose bits and pieces once and for all, with your car
Many factors can cause an annoying interior rattle or vibration. Loose
interior trim, grommets, screws, trim-clips, tie-clips, poorly-fitted
after-market accessories: satellite navigation systems, hands-free phone
kits, iPod audio adapter kits, tracker devices and so on, are all common
RattleBuster is an audio CD comprised of five digital “Power-Tones” (each
four minutes in length) developed in a professional studio. Each tone mimics
a different type of road vibration and is played in a stationary vehicle
with the engine off. The driver is then free to move around the vehicle
enabling them to listen for and pin-point the rattle, vibration or dashboard
By altering the exact amount of vibration generated, using the bass, volume
and fade controls on the CD player, the vibration can be induced and
located, allowing the motorist to take either steps to fix the problem
themselves or be able to easily reproduce the rattle to the supplying car
dealer in order to fix.