Last week I mentioned that it is often thought that Henry
Ford ‘invented’ the assembly line approach to building cars, but he did not.
Who did pioneer the assembly line approach in cars? Clue
1901. It was Ramson E Olds with the Curved Dash Oldsmobile.
So to this week. What is this car? British and they made 400
of them in 1958.
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct
answer to email [email protected]
How to become a world champion
So your lad is showing talent in go-karts and avidly watches
F1 on the TV. What are his chances of becoming the next Michael Schumacher, Mark
Webber, Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel?
BMW FB 02
Well, the bad news is, that unless you have very deep pockets,
the boy will remain an amateur racer, or at best, semi pro, for the rest of his
life. These days there is a very well defined stairway to the top, and your lad
will have to excel all the way, and at every stage.
The Formula BMW Asia series used to be the way to get on the
ladder, and that was not a cheap exercise, with around USD 250,000 needed to
fund the 12 months. Yes, that’s right, quarter of a million US dollars. Win the
Asian series and he could go to the run-off with the winners from the other F
BMW regional series. Win that and you were ready to move up to the next rung on
the ladder - an even more expensive rung.
However, BMW are closing off F BMW Asia at the end of this
year and will have a new series called the F BMW Talent Cup for 2011.
According to BMW, as part of the strategic realignment of its
motorsport involvement, BMW is embarking on new paths in its promotion of young
racing talent following almost ten successful Formula BMW championship years.
Starting next season, the Formula BMW Talent Cup will be established. BMW will
no longer be running its Formula BMW racing series in Europe and Asia.
The Formula BMW Talent Cup concept has two aims: to offer
young racing drivers a comprehensive education and to prepare them for a
professional career in motorsport. The target group are talented young drivers
aged 14 and above, bringing the Formula BMW Talent Cup even closer to the junior
base in karting than the current Formula BMW series. The Formula BMW FB02 will
continue to be used as the race vehicle centrally operated by BMW Motorsport.
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen explains: “Promoting
young talent continues to be an important strand of our realigned project
landscape. BMW has been actively involved in supporting talented young drivers
since the 1970s and aims to continue this tradition. With the Formula BMW Talent
Cup we are positioning ourselves between karting and professional motorsport, so
starting out a stage earlier than with our previous Formula BMW concept. This
realignment allows us to react to new conditions and the increase in costs seen
in junior, single-seater racing. As such we are offering young drivers an
extremely cost-effective platform and are sharpening our focus on practical
driving experience and driver education so to provide them with the best
possible preparation for their future career on and beside the track. At the end
of the one-year training, the greatest talent will win a season in an
appropriate higher race series financed by BMW.”
A season in the Formula BMW Talent Cup is offered to a
maximum of 15 participants for 100,000 Euro per person (around 4 million baht).
Entry is restricted to those without experience in racing series outside of
karting. Those interested can email [email protected] FormulaBMW.com with immediate
effect. The official pre-registration for the 2011 season begins in late summer
2010. The latest information can also be found on the internet at www.
Formula BMW in its current format has spawned many Formula
One drivers. In the current season alone, seven Formula One drivers have come
out of the Formula BMW fold and many more are knocking at the door. Well over 70
drivers made the leap into Formula 3 or similar race series.
As I said, the opportunities are there - but it is expensive.
Fiat offering new Alfa
Romeo models too
With Fiat’s boss Marchionne having taken over Chrysler, and
covering Maserati and Alfa Romeo and Abarth, he promised new models for all the
brands under his administration. Not only new models, but better market
penetration with Marchionne’s ambitious target of 500,000 annual sales for the
Alfa Romeo brand by 2014 - up from just over 100,000 in 2009.
“In the past you have heard several times Alfa promising such
growth figures, but this time we have the right conditions, the right products
and the right synergies to get there,” said the CEO of Alfa Romeo, which
celebrated its 100th anniversary in June. Confirming plans revealed in the Fiat-Chrysler
alliance plan announced two months ago, Alfa will launch six new products in the
next four years. They include a five-door version of the MiTo, a new Spider, a
medium SUV, a large SUV and the 159-replacing Giulia medium sedan and wagon,
which is scheduled to appear in 2012.
The Golf-sized Giulietta hatchback is based on a new compact
platform that is eventually forecast to underpin annual production of one
million Fiat, Chrysler and Alfa vehicles. Marchionne might just be smart enough
to make this, on the surface unwieldy monster, work!
Nine seater Honda revealed
Having secret tests in China, a new Honda MPV (midget people
vehicle) was spotted by our vigilant team of highly paid photographers. Unsure
as to whether the paint can held at the side of the MPV would be considered as
an extra sidecar, we have included the passenger in the head-count.
With three and four up being common in Thailand, and even five up at times,
this new Honda MPV certainly outdoes them all.
9 seater MPV