Automania by Dr. Iain Corness

Another even faster Porsche

Porsche’s latest road-going 911 is the fastest the factory has produced and is called the 911 Turbo S.

With an even more powerful version of the new twin turbo it develops 390 kW and 700 Nm of torque, the 3.8 liter twin-turbo flat six covers zero to 100 km/h in just 3.3 seconds. This is quicker than the current 911 GT2, which used a high-performance version of the previous 911 Turbo’s 3.6 liter engine.

Of course, with the PDK-only Turbo S completing the 0-100 km/h sprint in just 3.3 seconds, putting it among the world’s quickest road cars ever, one wonders just how quick the next-generation GT2 3.8 will be - not to mention fast, with the 327 km/h GT2 still besting the new Turbo S with 315 km/h.

The new 911 Turbo S also sprints to 200 km/h in a claimed 10.8 seconds, yet uses no more fuel than the 911 Turbo, with an official combined average of 11.4 L/100 km.

Designed to satisfy those in need of the ultimate 911 Turbo, the S carries over the Turbo’s all-wheel drive layout with Porsche Traction Management and, exclusively, its optional seven-speed PDK twin-clutch automated manual transmission, as well as adding many of its expensive options as standard equipment.

They include the Porsche torque vectoring system (PTV), which includes a mechanical limited-slip rear differential, the Sport Chrono package comprising launch control and dynamic engine mounts to increase high-speed rigidity, Porsche ceramic composite brakes (PCCB), 19-inch central-locking RS Spyder-style alloy wheels, dynamic bending lights, adaptive ports seats with increased adjustability and two-tone leather seats in exclusive Black/Crema or Black/Titanium Blue hues.

Of course, Porsche’s biggest launch for 2010 will not be mid-year’s 911 Turbo S but the second-generation Cayenne line-up, including the German sportscar-maker’s first hybrid model, which will share the limelight at the Geneva motor show on March 2 with the S-badged 911 Turbo.

911 Turbo S

Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I mentioned that in one family there was a very successful racing driver and his sister was also a very successful rally driver. Who were they? An easy one - they were Stirling Moss and his sister Pat Moss (Carlsson). Ivar Hoyem was first in (again).

So to this week. Pope Pius XI’s Nurburg Popemobile was a present from Daimler-Benz AG. What was interesting about the wheels?

For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected]

Good luck! 

’m off to race F1 this year for Renault!

Following the verbal OK for the necessary 13 million pound Sterling loan given by the St. Petersburg branch of the Esarn Rice Growers Bank, I have been provisionally offered the race seat at Renault F1, previously occupied by the Russian Vitaly Petrov.

Poor Vitaly, who had to buy his seat with a 13 mill loan engineered by his father, has had to admit that the money from Dad’s bank has, so far, not been received. What is more, Vitaly’s father says that if Renault don’t get the first installment by March 1, his son’s F1 career will be over. (I am having my race suit dry-cleaned in preparation for March 2.)

While I feel sorry, in some ways, for Vitaly Petrov, I do not feel the same about Renault. Formula 1 is (supposedly) about the world’s best drivers in the world’s best cars, but has not been that way for decades. If Renault are willing to take ‘pay drivers’, it does not say much for the resolve of the team towards giving the best results possible this season. Judas Iscariot sold out for 30 pieces of silver… with inflation over the past 2010 years, it seems that figure is now 13 million STG.

Graham Knight Part 2

Graham Knight from HighSide Tours continues with his second article with tips on how to survive in the traffic in Thailand.

Slow riding. Most riding in towns and villages in Thailand is done at relatively slow speeds (10-30 km/h). And probably most accidents happen at relatively slow speeds as well, so this is an important part of your daily riding.


Pulling away. One of the funniest sights I see (but also the most tragic) is the guy who rents a bike on Beach Road, hops on and when pulling away either stalls it immediately, pulls off in a series of uncontrolled bunny hops or with screaming engine and slipping clutch. You do not want to be this guy.

Sit on the bike in the correct position (from last month’s article). Look up and ahead to where you are planning to go. Do not look at the rev counter or the instrument panel. Find something in the distance to focus your attention on. Let the clutch out until you find the bite point. Then relax, apply more throttle and release the clutch gradually. Look up and ahead all the time.

Get those feet up quickly. Dragging your feet as you pull away or go round a corner is not helping you. By not having your feet on the pegs you have made the bike more unstable as your weight is now acting through the bike seat raising the centre of gravity. By putting your weight through the pegs you will lower the centre of gravity and make the bike more stable.

Brake dragging. Have you heard about centrifugal/gyroscopic forces? The physics that makes you run wide in corners? Well at slow speed these forces are your friend because they are also generated in your engine.

If your engine is revving, the movement of the cylinders up and down or even side to side (BMW) generate gyroscopic forces that resist being moved out of the plane they are already moving in. This means that you can ride at extremely low speeds and still keep the bike upright by keeping the engine revs high as the gyroscopic forces resist the bike tipping over. By high I mean around 2-5,000 rpm, not redlining it.

Try this. Sit on the bike in the correct position. Arms are relaxed. Now pull away slowly and once you are moving use the brake to slow the bike down, rear brake is probably the best to start with but either will do. Counteract the rear brake by gently increasing the throttle. With a bit of practice you should be able to balance the amount of rear brake and throttle so that you can stay upright at less than normal walking pace.

It will help you to relax and operate the controls smoothly if you practice looking ahead of you instead of staring down at the controls or the road immediately in front of the bike.

Slowing down. We will deal with braking in more detail in another article but for slow riding practice using the front brake only.

As for pulling away: look up. Do not stare at the road directly in front of you as you apply the brake. Now smoothly squeeze the lever, do not snatch at it. As you feel the bike weight transfer to the front you can apply more force to the lever if necessary. Keep you arms bent and relaxed throughout the process, use your knees or legs to absorb the braking forces, not your arms.

Choppers with extended front forks will have only limited weight transfer to the front, another reason why these bikes handle so badly.

Try to apply the most braking early and then lessen the braking force as you are slowing down. Squeezing the lever hardest just as you come to a stop is most likely to result in a locked wheel and an embarrassing topple into the parked cars and bikes. Not cool!

OK that’s the basic pulling away, slow riding and stopping. Next month observation skills.

(Graham Knight can be contacted at graham.knight

A German rival for the Mini

With BMW’s Mini series being very popular, it stands to reason that another European manufacturer would produce a small car to compete against it. Audi (owned by VW) has risen to the challenge, releasing the new Audi A1 hatchback at the Geneva show in March.

Audi “Mini”

According to Audi, they have “shrink-wrapped” everything it stands for to create the new A1, a more compact and city-friendly three-door premium hatchback that delivers all the celebrated quality, design flair and engineering acumen synonymous with Audi.

The new A1 has the latest, ultra-efficient TDI and TFSI engines. The new 1.2 TFSI petrol engine linked to a five-speed manual transmission covers the zero to 100 km/h in 12.1 seconds and a 166 km/h top speed. The more powerful 1.4 TFSI power unit has the standard six-speed manual gearbox or the optional seven-speed S-tronic twin-clutch transmission. Equipped with S-tronic it takes the A1 to 100 km/h in 9.1 seconds. The 1.6-liter diesel is the third engine option, and via a five-speed manual gearbox covers zero to 100 km/h in 10.8 seconds.