Automania by Dr. Iain Corness

56th Macau Grand Prix this weekend


The famous round the streets race in Macau will be held from November 19 to 22. This is the 56th running of this amazing race for F3 race cars, with a full card of supporting categories including the World Touring Car series.

Pizza Company Vios Bang Saen, driver Dr. Iain

The main event for F3 cars has brought 31 entries from the British F3 series, the German, All-Japan, the Euroseries, the Italian series, plus the GP2 and Formula V6 Asia. With the unforgiving nature of the track, not all 31 will make it to the finals!
With direct flights these days between Thailand and Macau, if you haven’t been there for the GP, it is well worth it. There are also many ways to get to Macau from Hong Kong, including hydrofoil, ferry and even helicopter.
Of course, if finance/time is a problem remember we have our own ‘round the houses’ event at Bang Saen November 27-29.

Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I mentioned that in 1964 saw the release of the first of the muscle cars - the Ford Mustang. However, there actually was another muscle car released two weeks before the Mustang. I asked what was it? It was the Plymouth Barracuda which beat the Mustang into the market by two weeks, and Ivar Hoyem from Norway was first in correct again.
So to this week. To get the name for their Road Runner, and a horn that went “Beep - Beep”, Plymouth had to buy the rights from Warner Brothers. How much did they have to pay? Remember it was 1968.
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected]
Good luck!


Bridgestone calls it quits as well
The sole supplier of F1 rubber has been Bridgestone, after Pirelli pulled out a couple of years ago. However, the Japanese tyre manufacturer has now indicated that it will also leave the sport (spectacle?) at the end of 2010.
It is very easy to understand the thinking behind the decision. When Bridgestone and Pirelli were battling for the championship, there was more than just a little interest in which tyre was coming out on top. However, with just one supplier, Bridgestone supplied both the winners and the also-rans. No contest equals no interest.

Old Bangers defeat inclement weather
The 76th running of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run (LBVCR) a couple of weeks ago had to battle the worst weather experienced in the history of the event.
However, the true grit of the 484 participants who crossed the start line in Hyde Park shone through. The veteran cars and their passengers endured the driving rain and gale force winds, with the extreme conditions causing some mechanical problems amongst the unique collection of late 19th and early 20th Century vehicles. Amazingly, an impressive 375 vehicles shrugged off the challenges thrown at them to cross the finish line before the official 4.30 p.m. close.

London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

The cars that finished included the youngest and oldest drivers on this year’s event. Sir Freddie Sowrey (85) crossed the line in his 1901 Darracq and Rowan Lawson (17) steered the family 1902 M.M.C. to Brighton, complete with ‘L’ plates and father Henry at his side. Sir Ray Tindle, chairman of the event’s title sponsors Tindle Newspapers, also completed his 46th London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, battling through the difficult conditions in his open top 1904 Speedwell alongside his son Owen.
Sir Ray Tindle said, “In my 46 years of taking part in the London to Brighton Run, this is certainly the worst weather we have ever faced. It is therefore a testament to the true grit, both of the participants and of all those involved in supporting them, that the Run went on to a successful finish.”
John Dennis was another of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run’s longest serving participants, and crossed the finish line to record his 50th Run on the 1902 Dennis built by his grandfather.
“This year the weather was certainly against us but this made the participants even more determined to reach Brighton and will probably go down in LBVCR folklore as ‘the great blow of ’09,” said event director Roger Etcell.
The 77th LBVCR will be held on Sunday November 7, 2010.

Toyota pulls the plug
As heavily reported elsewhere, Toyota has withdrawn, with immediate effect, from the world of F1. The team with the biggest budget just never made it to the top, proving that money is not the winning factor - it is genius/talent, call it what you want, that gets you to the top of F1.
Look at names like Adrian Newey who was the genius behind Williams’ successes, the genius behind McLaren’s successes, and his genius has now placed Red Bull at the sharp end of the grid. It is people like him and Colin Chapman, John Barnard, Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn who get teams to the top in F1. Toyota with its corporate committee structure does not allow genius to flourish. Always remember that a giraffe is a horse designed by a committee.
In its official statement of withdrawal, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) said, “‘TMC also wants to express its heartfelt gratitude to all Panasonic Toyota Racing drivers to date and to all Toyota Motorsport GmbH employees who have helped make the team’s achievements possible. TMC intends to do its best to find a solution for those parties who will be affected by any inconvenience this decision may cause.”
Large corporations always amaze me when they say things like “for those parties affected by any inconvenience this decision may cause.” Any inconvenience? They just threw an entire workforce out of a job and they call this an “inconvenience”?
I’m sorry, but I believe in motor racing with cars built by inventive genius, driven by drivers with a burning need to win. The ‘corporate’ F1 world of Bernie and his ilk do not understand what motor racing is, or what motor racing really means.

Is Renault the next to go?
Renault have called for patience as the French manufacturer weighs up the pros and cons of following Toyota out of F1. Following an extraordinary board meeting to discuss its future plans, there has been much speculation that Renault will also walk away, following the lead of Honda, BMW, Toyota and Bridgestone.
And with the recent Singapore race-fixing scandal fresh in the minds as well as the two year suspended ban hanging over their heads, the withdrawal of major sponsor ING and the economic problems in the auto industry, who could blame them?
Renault Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn has revealed that no decision was made at the extraordinary board meeting, although one will be forthcoming before the year is out.
“You will have to be patient,” Ghosn said. “We will make an announcement on our participation in Formula 1 before the end of the year.”
This is a rather strange decision (or lack of one) by the normally forthright Ghosn. With Kubica having signed a contract with Renault, where does he go if the answer is withdrawal at the end of the year? Will Renault continue to supply race engines to other teams? Toyota will not, so I would expect Renault to do the same if they do not continue as one of the teams. That will leave only Mercedes, Ferrari and Cosworth as engine suppliers. Red Bull, which has used Renault engines, will be watching (and waiting) with more than just a little interest.
There are also other new teams which did not get past the first round of talks with the FIA a few months ago, which will want to take Renault’s place, but they will be left with too little time to design and build a suitably competitive car.

This one won’t go again!

Bira circuit improvements
My good mate Alan and I, with my son in tow, went to the Bira circuit the other weekend to watch a club meeting there, which by the way was good fun. At lunchtime we strolled up to the pits to find that there is now a great area called the Bira Cafe, with a small convenience store next to it. The eating area was clean, tables and chairs, cutlery and refrigerated cold drinks, and plenty of very inexpensive hot food. It was a pleasure to eat there, and made the entire day more fun. Well done, Bira.

Club meeting at Bira