Last week I asked how many finishers were there in the World
Cup Rally of 1970? The correct answer was 23, with the usual culprits all
tripping over each other, but it was Ivar Hoyem who was first in and best
dressed. Congratulations Ivar.
So to this week. Let’s stick with BMW. Red quarters on a BMW
radiator badge denotes what car?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct
answer to email [email protected]
What did we learn from the
Selfish, impetuous and reckless are just a few of the words
to describe the “pass” on Mark Webber by his ‘teammate’ Sebastian Vettel. It was
a move that was never going to come off and spoiled the one-two Red Bull Racing
was going to receive. He was only partially in front by leaving his braking so
late whilst off-line for the lefthander. He had to try and move to the right to
be able to swing in left and collected Webber in the process. Young Vettel has
been having a bad attack of the juvenile pouts recently when beaten by Webber in
qualifying or racing. From being ‘wunderkind’ he has had to eat some humble pie,
and it obviously stuck in his craw. This was not Red Bull Racing, but ‘red mist’
racing. Let us hope he has learned something from this sorry episode, but it may
take some years and the maturity that brings. One of the F1 websites wondered
why the Red Bull pit personnel ‘cuddled’ Vettel. That is easy to answer -
cuddling is what you do for all upset children! Interestingly (for Vettel) is
the fact that 90 percent of the bulletin boards place the blame firmly at
McLaren could not believe their luck, but warned their
drivers not to indulge in cut-throat racing, with coded messages like “conserve
fuel and tyres”. This was after a bit of passing and repassing. Button was the
loser, as he could have relegated eventual winner Hamilton, but was reminded
forcibly that the ‘team’ comes first and driver egos come second.
Mercedes GP now up to 4th and 5th,
with the Wily German beating the young German again. It would appear that
Michael Schumacher is remembering his old skills, while Rosberg is still
learning them. The move on Button on the first lap was sheer skill and
delightful to watch. It was only the superior top speed of the McLaren with its
magic f-duct (and don’t ask what the f’s that?) that got Button back in front.
Probably some of the best performances came from Renault-Lada
with Kubica giving a workmanlike performance behind the Mercedes duo, but his
teammate Petrov really did shine and had the measure of Alonso in the Ferrari
until Alonso snagged the rear tyre in the Renault forcing Petrov into the pits.
Until then, Alonso was nowhere, as he had been all weekend. For Ferrari’s number
1 driver to qualify in 12th is not where the prancing
horse wants to be. And Massa down in 7th is also
indicative of the performance of the red car team. Currently it seems more like
a staggering donkey.
Sutil again dragged Team Poppadum into 9th
and Kobayashi brought the Sauber into the top 10, a good effort with a very poor
As for the rest, they were nowhere. Liuzzi in the second
Force India is no force at all, the Williams team continues to disappoint (how
the once mighty have fallen), Sir Richard Branson must be regretting having
anything to do with Formula 1 with both his cars three laps adrift at the end,
and Chandhok at six laps down in the HRT should not even be allowed to start.
The next race is in Canada June 13.
Gone in 60 seconds?
I can personally vouch for the truth of this item, which
happened when I was on a Porsche club rally, and we were coming back from
Adelaide, a 3,000 km trip. Australia is a big place! We had pulled into a motel
for the evening, and we were 11 cars, every one a Porsche 911.
I got out, pushed the locking button down on the driver’s
door and swung the door shut. As it clicked into place, to my horror, I saw that
the keys were still in the ignition. What to do? Porsches are just about
thief-proof, and none of us were accomplished car thieves like Nicolas Cage in
the great movie “Gone in 60 seconds”.
In desperation, I asked for the other 10 drivers’ keys and
tried them in my door lock. Amazingly, the keys from the 911 parked closest to
mine opened my door! And just as amazingly, my key would not open his, though
his would open mine. But neither key would operate the ignition of the other
car. Nic Cage made it look all so easy!
BMW goes ActiveHybrid
BMW has confirmed that a hybrid version of its 3 Series and
other model lines will join the X6, 7 Series and new 5 Series hybrid despite
having persevered with hydrogen power for many years, as their alternative to
the gasoline engine.
BMW AG chairman Norbert Reithofer broke the news this week at
the company’s annual general meeting in Munich, revealing that hybridization was
a “top priority”. Dr Reithofer said, “As early as next year, the new BMW 5
Series will also be available as a full hybrid - and we are anticipating the
hybridization of further models series, such as the BMW 3 Series.”
BMW 3 Series ActiveHybrid
While BMW is continuing to further develop its conventional
petrol and diesel engines, Dr Reithofer emphasized the importance of hybrids in
the minds of consumers and in key markets, such as Japan, which offer incentives
for hybrid vehicles. “The public perceives hybrid as a sign of eco-friendliness,
despite the fact that diesel engines are often much more efficient,” he said.
“In Japan, for instance, the government has adopted a proposal to offer tax
credits for hybrid vehicles. This has had a phenomenal effect on the market.
Sales of hybrid vehicles have skyrocketed. If you don’t have a hybrid in your
portfolio, soon you might not be selling any cars in Japan at all.”
The last sentence above explains much of the thinking behind
the production of BMW hybrids, and you can discount all the fluff about carbon
emissions as being straight out PR spin.
BMW did unveil the 5 Series ActiveHybrid at the Geneva motor
show in March. The vehicle adds an electric motor and other hybrid hardware to
the twin-turbocharged 225 kW/400 Nm 3.0 liter straight-six - the petrol engine
which powers the new-generation F10-series 535i.
The ActiveHybrid versions of the 7 Series limousine and X6
coupe-SUV combine a 4.4 liter twin-turbo V8 petrol engine with an electric
motor, although the 7 Series version is a ‘mild hybrid’ that cannot run on
electric power alone.
Like the 5 Series ActiveHybrid, the X6 uses a ‘full-parallel’
(or two-mode) hybrid system that enables full-electric operation under certain
Currently all these hybrids are in left hand drive
configuration and right-hand drive versions of BMW’s hybrids are still to be
confirmed, so ne need to put down a deposit with BMW Thailand at present.
Dr Reithofer said this week that now ActiveHybrid technology
had made the leap into series production, the company would look to broaden its
availability. “Our top priority is the large model series because this is where
the savings potential is greatest,” he said. “Today, our European fleet’s
average carbon emissions are 150 grams per kilometer. This corresponds to a fuel
consumption of 5.9 liters per 100 km.” (Note: this does not mean that the new
BMW returns 5.9 liters per 100 km, the carbon emissions from a normal gasoline
engine returning 5.9 liters per 100 km would be 150 gm/km.
Dr Reithofer said, “A clear statement. These low emission
values are achieved despite an average performance of 170 hp or 125 kW. This is
another thing that sets us apart from competitors. Our customers will always
experience sheer driving pleasure.
He went on, “We want to reduce our global fleet’s carbon
emissions by at least another 25 percent between 2008 and 2020. Our new models
and drive technologies will support these efforts.”
BMW going fully electric as
BMW’s forthcoming Megacity electric car will be built in
Germany and launched as a BMW sub-brand in 2013 - well ahead of the company’s
original schedule and some 12 months before an all-new front-wheel drive compact
BMW model hits the market.
In his speech to shareholders, Dr Reithofer vowed that the
Megacity would be fully sustainable and set new standards in vehicle production,
such as through the use of carbon-fibre and other lightweight materials.
“The assignment we have given ourselves from the very
beginning is to develop a Megacity vehicle that will be a zero-emission vehicle.
And it will be sustainable throughout its entire lifecycle,” he said.
“We aim to set new standards - for example in the field of
lightweight construction. We will apply carbon and carbon-reinforced materials
at a scope unprecedented in series vehicle production.
Dr Reithofer also asserted that BMW was ahead of the pack in
tackling future mobility and sustainability. (He is obviously choosing to ignore
the all-electric American Tesla, already in production.)
“I am convinced that a company’s global footprint will gain
importance,” he said. “When it comes to economic success, a company’s social
reputation will increasingly become a make-or-break issue. In all these aspects,
the BMW Group is leading the way.”