Last week I mentioned that the first man to fly the English Channel was
Frenchman Louis Bleriot. And I asked why should we remember him when we drive at
night? The answer was Louis Bleriot made the best acetylene gas headlamps, in
the days before we had dynamos to power electric ones.
So to this week. Who was the first non-Italian driver to win the ‘proper’ 1000
km Mille Miglia?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email
What did we learn from the Hungarian GP?
Well the first thing we learned was that the old adage “Never count
your chickens until they are proved free of bird flu” is very correct, with the
H5N1 virus striking McLaren’s white hope Lewis Hamilton (and expected winner)
with a puncture while running second with no real chance of passing Massa, and
real race leader Ferrari’s Felipe Massa expiring with an engine blow-up three
laps from home.
The race lead was then inherited by Heikki Kovalainen who lucked his way to his
first GP win. However, a win is a win is a win, and the Finn almost broke the
national monotone after the race with his enthusiasm.
The other Finn, the exuberant Kimi Raikkonen, was even more lucky to inherit
third place, after again losing the plot and falling asleep at half distance.
Kimi explained this by saying, “It was tough for me because, when you spend a
long time behind a slower car it becomes frustrating and boring. When I was
finally able to push, the car was behaving very well, but by then it was too
late.” You’re not wrong Kimi, you’re not wrong. And those words are from the
highest paid driver in F1. What Mr. Raikkonen does not seem to appreciate is
that he is paid his multi-million dollar salary in return for demonstrating his
ability to pass slower cars. Despite having another year to run on his contract,
I still expect to see Alonso at Ferrari next year. Even the sulky Spaniard in
the inferior Renault is driving better than Raikkonen at present.
A well deserved second was Timo Glock. After a year of crash testing Toyotas
(the last one only two weeks ago), the young German covered himself with glory,
and with Trulli also in the points has shown that perhaps, just perhaps, Toyota
has really arrived at the sharp end of the field.
Renault had a much better weekend, with both drivers in the points too. After
heading Raikkonen for most of the race, Alonso somehow lost it all during the
second pit stop. How this happened, we are at a complete loss to know, and the
abysmal television coverage certainly was not going to show us. One can only
presume that Alonso had an ‘off’ and that allowed Raikkonen the leg up. Piquet
just kept his nose clean and was rewarded with a sixth. Renault will keep him
for 2009, provided the brown paper bag (or lunch box) stuffed with money
precedent is maintained.
BMW, after being ascendant in the early part of this year has fallen off the
pedestal they made for themselves. Perhaps someone has pulled the chain? Kubica
did manage to get one point for his inherited eighth place, albeit 48 seconds
behind the winner. His team mate Heidfeld has slipped firmly back into midfield
positions, and with no safety car to help him up the order finished nowhere,
which is exactly where he will be next year. BMW is not interested in
The Roaring Tossers had a bad weekend. Vettel who is going Red Bull in place of
Coulthard had an engine failure, whilst the bespectacled Frenchman Bourdais
livened up proceedings with a fire in the pits. Shame, he needs more fire in the
belly, finishing last and three laps down.
The Red Bull (senior) team of seniors did not do well either, with Webber ninth
and Coulthard eleventh. Maybe it had something to do with the fun park that the
government erects behind the pits each year. These older chaps can’t take late
nights any more.
The rest of the field are not even worth writing about. The My Earth Nightmare
team were running, I believe, and as a plus, did not hit anyone. Team Vindaloo
needs more curry and the Sir Frank Williams team appear to have built new
wheelchairs and not racing cars.
The next GP is around the houses in Valencia August 24.
Do you want a ‘real’ pony car?
Were you one of the motoring enthusiasts that yearned after the
real pony cars of the 60’s and 70’s, but couldn’t afford one then? Are you
now of the age where you should be able to afford one, but genuine cars have
now gone sky-high or almost unable to find? There is an answer. It is in
Canada and Sean Hyland Motorsport will build it for you.
The company, located in Canada’s Ontario province, offers a range of goods and
services, including a reproduction Shelby Cobra, badged as the CSX4000. This
vehicle is, according to Sean Hyland Motorsport, a most accurate reproduction of
the famous Shelby Cobra Roadster and you can order it with either a small-block
V8 or a large-block engine.
Or how about a 1965 Mustang fastback built using the latest technology,
incorporated CAD designed aluminum A arm front suspension, three link rear
suspension, and a 600 hp throttle body injected 6 liter modular engine, complete
with 5 stage dry sump.
You can also get repros on GM or Mopar platforms, using CAD designed suspension
system, four wheel disc brakes, and new 6.1 Hemi engines with power up to 800
hp. These cars are completely re-engineered and rebuilt to better than new
standards with custom leather interiors, modern air conditioning, and the
manufacturers say it provides the cool vintage look with modern car manners.
If you want to see more, go to http://www.seanhyland motorsport.com
More local motorsport
If you want to pencil in some auto racing dates, the combined
Asian Festival of Speed and Supercar meeting will be at Bira August 16/17,
and the GPI Motorcycle racing is the following weekend August 23/24.
The AFOS meeting will see local touring car ace, Jack Lemvard (who currently
leads the Asian Touring Car Series) and open wheeler driver Robert ‘Chawakij’
Lemvard, who is 23 years old, has been promised a drive in the World Touring Car
Series by his sponsor Ocean 1 Racing, should he win the Asian Championship this
This has been a busy year for Lemvard, participating in a total of five touring
car races around Asia and he looks set to compete in at least one round of the
World Touring Car Championship.
Boughey, who is known in Thailand as Chawakij, a name given to him by Her
Majesty Princess Sirindhorn, had his first and only outing in Round 3 of the
Formula Asia 2.0 during the season opener at the Sepang International Circuit.
The 25 year old driver did well and is looking forward to competing at his home
circuit, Bira. He will be participating in the Formula Asia 2.0 Series in
Thailand with March 3 Racing, teaming up with five international racers,
Championship leader Felix Rosenqvist of Sweden, Benjamin Rouget from France, Zhu
Dai Wei and Zhang Zhen Dong from China and the only female driver in the Series,
Samin Gomez of Venezuela.