Automania by Dr. Iain Corness

Get your pencils out - the 2009 GP calendar

The FIA has just released the calendar for F1 in 2009. A packed schedule too, with 19 Grands Prix, including another new one in Abu Dhabi. This will be a multi-million dollar circuit built on Yas Island, using the spare change from the petro-dollars accumulated while the price of oil shoots towards $200 per barrel. So enjoy this new circuit, gentle readers, you paid for it at the pumps!
Here is the 2009 GP calendar
29 March - Australia
5 April - Malaysia
19 April - Bahrain
10 May - Spain
24 May - Monaco
7 June - Canada
21 June - Great Britain
28 June - France
12 July - Germany
26 July - Hungary
9 August - Turkey
23 August - Europe (Valencia)
6 September - Italy
13 September- Belgium
27 September - Singapore
11 October - Japan
18 October - China
1 November - Brazil
15 November - Abu Dhabi
No real surprises. No US GP despite the Canadian being on (they’re getting more safety cars for the event), the boring French GP still in, plus Silverstone still there, despite Bernie Ecclestone’s huffing and puffing.

Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I asked what was the first car to go into production with a unitary fiberglass structure? And no, it was not the 1953 Chev Corvette, that had a fiberglass body. It was the Lotus Elite of 1958.
So to this week. Since we have the EasyKart feature in the column this week, who was it who called them “Go Karts”?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected]
Good luck!


New Kart track in South Pattaya
The EasyKart people are definitely the big movers in the local Karting scene, and with the opening of their new venue close to Bali Hai Pier which is fully floodlit, means that you can race karts until 1 a.m. That’s right, one in the morning!


There are two tracks, one more of a beginner’s track with smaller engined karts and for ages 8 and up, and the larger 750 meter tracks, complete with tunnel and bridge cross-over. On this large track, both the larger and smaller engined karts can be run, but you need to be around 15 years of age for this one. Incidentally, the karts have adjustable seats fore and aft and you can even extend the pedals backwards, making it possible for Thais and lanky farangs to fit.
What makes this venue even better is the upstairs viewing floor which has tables, drinks, and snack food where the rest of the family can sit in comfort while you do your thing around the bitumen.
The track is very well built and with an eye to safety, with the industrial belting and tyre stacks being used around the outside, just the same as the F1 tracks overseas. All the good gear is also available, with new helmets (and you even get a head cover) and suits for all sizes.
The karts have on-board electronic transponders, so you get a print out of your lap times when you have finished your session. This is a great idea, so you can compare just where (and how) your mates managed to beat you.
The EasyKart people are very obliging and welcoming, and you are treated as if you are an old friend. You do the registration at the upstairs entrance level to the complex and when you are ready pop downstairs to the karts and the track entrances.
I took the opportunity for a bit of a fang, and the track is very twisty and demanding when you get to the stage of wanting to set competitive times, but if all you want is a bit of fun, it is a breeze. Very smooth bitumen, good width and responsive karts.
The track is advertised as being at Bali Hai Pier, but actually it is more correctly at the Bali Hai Pier end of Third Road, just where the overpass drops down. Plenty of parking in the EasyKart complex, or along Third Road. The telephone number for the venue is 038 711 403 and the tracks open at 10 a.m. and go through to 1 a.m.
This new facility is good for all the local enthusiasts, as well as being a new tourist attraction for Pattaya City. The EasyKart people are to be congratulated on providing great state of the art circuits in such an easily reached area. They even preserved the two big trees. An environmentally aware motor sport facility. Well done!

Bali Hai Pier kart track