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
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
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
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
Schumi shows them the way without
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.
“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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.