Last week I asked what do the initials AC stand for, in the
auto world. (And not Alternating Current.) The correct answer was the initials
AC stand for the tiny “Auto-Carrier” tricycles which operated between 1905-1914.
Founded by an engineer called John Weller and a pork chop butcher John Portwine
who put up the money. So there.
And to this week. We have been looking at Porsche, so, when did the Porsche 901
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email
Do you want to be a better driver?
In a novel move, an insurance broker has announced a program to
help you retain your no-claim bonus! Working on the principal that if you
have increased driving skills, you should be able to avoid more accidents,
and in particular, cut down the chances of a single vehicle accident, but
this needs driver training.
AA Insurance Brokers have hired the facilities of the Bira International
Circuit just outside Pattaya, plus two experienced racing drivers to give
lectures and practical instructions on how to better control your car. This
will be on Wednesday March 12.
After instruction, the race drivers will take you round the circuit and
teach you the finer points of braking and picking the correct lines through
any corner. You will then swap seats and the instructor will assist you from
the passenger’s chair. When he has judged that your competency level has
improved, you will then be allowed to continue circulating around the Bira
circuit on your own, to polish your new-found skills.
The objective in this course is not to teach people to be racing drivers –
you will not become the next Michael Schumacher after a few laps of the Bira
circuit, but for you to become ‘better’ drivers, being able to handle a car
properly and safely.
One of the drivers will be from the Pizza Company racing team and will bring
one of their modified sedan cars and a few students will be given passenger
laps in a real racing car, and experience the excitement of two wheel
cornering and last minute braking.
AA Insurance Broker’s Peter Smith, who has had one of these passenger rides
previously, says, “Very few get out of the car without that pale look that
says it all. There isn’t a roller coaster ride in the world that even comes
close to being in a real racing car.”
Refreshments will be provided, including of course pizzas, courtesy of the
Pizza Company. No beer … at least for the drivers, until after the event.
There has been a huge response by clients and businesses around the area,
all keen to be part of what AA Insurance Brokers plan to be a regular event.
I believe some sponsorship places are still available and all profits will
be donated to a local charity.
To secure your place, act fast … but you either have to be a sponsor or a
client of AA Insurance Brokers to get a place. You can contact AA Insurance
Brokers by email on [email protected] But do it soon. And yes, you’ll need
The ultimate Porsche?
Forget the Porsche Turbo and the Porsche Carrera, try the GT3
RSR. The potent Porsche GT3 RSR has received aerodynamic upgrades for 2008
and you will belong to a very exclusive club with one of these - only 35 are
being released globally.
driver’s view of the RSR
As if the last GT3 was lacking something, the factory says that the 2008 Porsche
GT3 RSR is “considerably improved”. You could (just about) drive it on the road,
but the RSR is really for the race track.
It is based on the Porsche 911 (which if you remember came out about August 1964
so that certainly is an enduring design), and which last year scored wins at the
24 hour races of Le Mans and Spa as well as overall victory at the Nurburgring
The most distinguishing feature of the new GT3 RSR is the front end which
received major improvements to the aerodynamics. These include the little
‘flicks’ on each side of the air intake.
The majority of innovations, however, are hidden under the lightweight body,
which is made from hot-galvanized steel. The rear end including the rear wing
was taken from the predecessor.
The 3.8 liter boxer engine of the GT3 RSR remains unchanged apart from slight
improvements to details. It delivers 465 hp (342 kW) at 8,000 revs per minute
and delivers a maximum torque of 430 Nm at 7,250 revs. The rev limiter of the
efficient six-cylinder kicks in at 9,400 rpm. It has four valves per cylinder,
and dry-sumped (naturally).
Much of the know-how in the GT3 RSR’s totally new gearbox has come from the RS
Spyder sports prototype. The sequential six-speed unit, developed by Porsche
engineers, is considerably lighter than its predecessor. Internal friction was
substantially reduced. It uses a triple plate carbon-fiber clutch and has a
limited slip differential.
The suspension also hearkens back to the original 911 series with McPherson
struts up front with an adjustable roll bar.
The brake system has a balance bar control, with one-piece six-piston aluminium
fixed callipers; inner-vented, 380 mm in diameter; racing brake pads at the
front and one-piece four-piston aluminium fixed callipers; inner-vented, 355 mm
in diameter; racing brake pads at the rear.
All up, the 911 RSR weighs 1,200 kg and I want one!
Aside from the GT3 Cup and the GT3 Cup S, the GT3 RSR is the third race car
based on the Porsche 911 offered by Porsche Motorsport. And if you want to get
your hands on one, be prepared to shell out the asking price of 349,800 Euro
plus VAT, plus duty into this country which is calculated by multiplying the
price ex-works by your birthday and doubling it.
The world is going green (or mad)
Another automaker that is putting on its ‘green’ clothes is
Honda, who ran their F1 team last year under the banner of My Earth Dream,
and while it was evidently one of the fuel misers (relatively) in the F1 pit
lane, it was also one of the slowest.
Honda does have some very interesting technology, however, which was debuted
in their clean and green V6 in Australia at the end of last year. This new
fuel-saving technology is seen in the new, Thailand manufactured, Honda
The V6 version of the new Accord features variable cylinder management,
which allows the car to run on six, four or three cylinders depending on the
The new 3.5 liter V6 runs on six cylinders during acceleration or under high
loads, then switches to four or three cylinders for cruising on the highway
or low-speed driving in traffic. This system delivers better fuel
consumption and lower emissions, as quite simply, not all six cylinders are
gulping fuel 100 percent of the time. A very interesting way around the fuel
Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) is Honda’s term for their variable
displacement technology. It uses a solenoid to unlock the cam followers on
one bank from their respective rockers, so the cam follower floats freely
while the valve springs keep the valves closed. The engine’s drive by wire
throttle allows the engine management computer to smooth out the engine’s
power delivery, making the system imperceptible. Vehicles equipped with VCM
are equipped with an “ECO” indicator on the dashboard which corresponds to
the VCM system’s operation.
Honda Accord V6