Automania by Dr. Iain Corness

Bangsaen success for Pizza Company

Raldorf pressing hard

The Pizza Company Racing Team was present at the round the houses event in Bangsaen a couple of weeks ago. As a new venue, it did well, and spectators and drivers were happy with the meeting.
In the Toyota Yaris class, Thomas Raldorf, who is sponsored by the Pizza Company, proved to be the man to beat. On both the Thursday and Friday Practice sessions, he was the fastest man on the track, but in qualifying found himself blocked by slower cars and ended up third on the grid for the feature race.
Thomas got a good start, and challenged for second place in the first corner, but was not able to get by, and remembering my dictum that “You don’t win the race at the first corner, you can only lose the race at the first corner”, he bided his time and seized the opportunity on the fourth lap to slip into second when the car in front was pressured into braking too late and kissed the wall.
By this stage the leader has a comfortable lead of 100 meters, but Raldorf hauled him in at 20 meters per lap, setting the fastest lap of the race almost half a second quicker than the pole time from the day before. As Raldorf got within striking distance, the leader was taken off by a lapped vehicle, thereby handing the lead to the Pizza Company driver, which he held all the way to the finish.
This win also moved him up from 4th to 2nd in the overall standings for the year.
In the Super Radial class, up and coming driver Jack Lemvard (sponsored by Ocean Tower 1) looked to be the man to beat, who in a 1.6 liter Honda Civic, outpaced everybody in his class, and was and on the Thursday practice sessions was a full two seconds faster than both the 2.0 liter and 1.6 liter cars.
However, in qualifying, the flywheel shattered and he ended up 26th on the grid. In race one on the Saturday, Jack got of to a great start, and was up into 17th place after one lap, but then the gear selector broke, and he had to retire.
In race two on Sunday, Jack was again starting 26th and once again, got a great start, and was up into 20th place after first corner, and then he took one car in each corner the rest of the first lap.
By the end of first lap he was in 16th place, and still moving up. By the end of lap 2 he was now up into 2nd in his class, and 12th overall, but then his gearbox, broke again, ending another dream run.
Jack Lemvard has been busy since getting the Ocean Tower 1 contract and will be representing Thailand, along with our other young charger James Grunwell, at the world Formula BMW finals in Europe this month.

Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I asked who was the first manufacturer to fit a six cylinder engine to their passenger cars? Clue - it was 1902. It was Spyker!
So to this week. Synchromesh gearboxes are universal these days, but it was not always the case. Which was the first car to be offered with a synchromesh gearbox, and when? Clue, it was not Britain.
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected]
Good luck!


Schumi shows them the way without driver aids
Ferrari tester Luca Badoer claims F1 is more enjoyable when driver aids such as traction control are prohibited and marveled at Michael Schumacher’s pace in testing, and Ferrari’s test driver believes that this will make racing more of a challenge.

Michael Schumacher

“The F1 cars had become too easy: if a new guy came in and did some good lap times, a star was born,” Badoer told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Now, by contrast, they are harder, so more enjoyable: you need sensitivity and capability in managing the throttle. Of course, by the end of winter we’ll lap on the same times as this year, but we’ll see the difference between who is truly good and the rest.”
Schumacher topped the time sheets on his return to the cockpit of the this year’s championship winning Ferrari, but the 26 year old Italian was not surprised at the seven-time World Champion’s performance. “I’m not surprised, I know him, he is a superhero,” he added. “Everybody knows he is the fastest driver in the world, so I don’t see what upsets that can cause. Raikkonen is quick too, but Schumi in his career has demonstrated to be something else.”
Whilst Schumacher is reported as being very happy with his race pace, he is (currently) ruling out any return to the F1 World Championship fray.

Electrifying Subaru
Bucking the industry trend towards hydrogen fuel cells, Subaru has released a vastly improved plug-in battery powered electric commuter car. The 65 kilowatt, five seater G4e’s new high energy-density lithium-ion batteries give it a 200 km range from a charge (more than double the previous R1e’s range) and using a quick-charger it can be topped up to 80 percent in only 15 minutes.

Sunary G4e

40 units of Subaru’s older EV R1e battery-electric vehicle are already out and being evaluated, Subaru surprised the market by announcing the arrival of the updated five door version with more than twice the range thanks to the recent advances in lithium-ion battery technology.
The G4e (which apparently stands for “Good 4 Earth”) has a 65kw maintenance-free electric motor. The aerodynamically efficient exterior helps to get the most from the battery pack, which is located under the floor of the vehicle to keep a low, stable center of gravity.
Range and charging times are the only real problems with plug-in battery-electric vehicles, and Subaru has taken a strong step forward in this area. Using a new high-capacity vanadium battery material, they are able to load two to three times more lithium ions onto the positive battery terminal, resulting in an energy density about double what was possible on the previous model.
A normal full charge requires nothing more than a power point and takes around eight hours to reach full capacity, which will deliver around 200 km of normal driving. Subaru envisages that quick-chargers could be located in car parks outside supermarkets and other public facilities. Either way, energy per mile is a lot cheaper than gasoline - as low as a tenth of the price if using off-peak overnight rates.
As battery technology seems to be advancing rapidly, these electric concepts already look more than viable for the majority of commuters, and could possibly be seen in the showroom of a major manufacturer in the not too distant future.
I have written before about electric cars, and how I believe that they are the vehicles for the future. Only electric vehicles have the ability not to pollute the planet or produce greenhouse gasses, and do not need an expensive public fuel delivery system to get the fuel to the vehicle. We already have power grids to our homes. Reticulation is free.
Electric motors have been around for well over 100 years, and the technology in converting electricity into rotational movement is well known, and becoming increasingly more efficient. All that we need now are lightweight, rechargeable batteries to power the on-board electric motors, and we have the power source that does not pollute, and can be recharged in our own homes, using the electricity grid. Just like our mobile phones. It seems that that day is getting closer.

A ‘crash’ course in panel and paint
(or: When in doubt, use a bigger hammer!)

My introduction to the noble art of panel and paint came shortly after my first motor car, an Austin A 40 of 1949 vintage, the first of the ‘roundy’ shaped Austins of the post-war period. If you have one, sell it. I have it on good authority it will never be granted “classic” status, no matter how long you might keep it.
However, the not-so-classic A 40 will be remembered for the thickness of the metal used in its production, if nothing else. One rainy afternoon I managed to slide gracefully into the rear of a stopped tramcar (trolley car if you came from the left hand side of the Atlantic Ocean). This was caused by excessive enthusiasm and a lack of suitable experience. I refuse to admit I was going too fast! The damage to the tramcar was zero, but the A 40 had a severe dent on the passenger side rear mudguard.
Removing the mudguard was not difficult, being held on by several (far too many) bolts, and it was then I appreciated just how thick those guards were. My one rear mudguard would make two complete Honda Jazzes and enough left over for a Toyota Yaris!
Of course I had a complete set of panel-beaters hammers. Of course I didn’t. I had one flat head hammer which I had quietly stolen from my Dad’s tool box. A panel-beaters dolly? The only ‘dolly’ I knew of at that stage in my life belonged to my little sister.
However, with unbridled enthusiasm I turned the mudguard upside down and attacked said mudguard from the inside with the hammer. There was a little remembered law of physics which would be brought painfully to the forefront of consciousness. Something that went “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. The hammer struck the dent and sprung back forcefully, enough to hit my nose and spill blood. I was obviously doing this all wrong. There had to be a better way.
Still without a dolly to absorb the action, I thought about what could be used instead, and ended up up-ending the mudguard in my baby sister’s sand pit. There was still a large reaction, but the hammer-head was controllable and my nose at a safe distance. The dent also slowly came out, though the outside of the guard showed liberal hammer marks. This was when I learned about body filler, known in the trade as “bog”. This claggy material hides a multitude of sins, or in my case, a multitude of hammer marks. All that was needed now was a blowcoat of paint and it would be like new again.
Unfortunately, my father’s tool kit did not go as far as a compressor and spray gun. So it was a small tin of black enamel and a paint brush. The final job had more runs than Brian Lara scored in a lifetime of first grade cricket, but at least it was black. My pride of achievement was not even dampened by one friend who asked if I had drunk the paint and pee’d it on! One’s first achievement in any field of endeavour is always memorable.