Automania by Dr. Iain Corness

Who’s for a fat-assed Porsche?

Until today, all I ever saw of a Porsche Panamera were photographs. I remained less than impressed. Today I was able to see a four door Porsche Panamera in the sheet metal, at a promo being held in the Royal Garden Plaza, and let me tell you, the Panamera is just downright pig-faced ugly. And what is more - we have seen similar 40 years ago.

One phat ass Porsche

Remember the Jensen C-V8? Round about 1963, bulbous bonnet, tear-drop headlight shape - and there you have today’s Panamera front clip. Remember the Bugatti EB 112? The four door from Bugatti which was released in 1995, and there you have the silhouette and the rear. Mr. Porsche, you cribbed the design! That’s just not on.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Porsche, I am a Porsche man. I raced Porsches, I had a 911 as a drive car, nothing ever went wrong with any of my Porsches. The best cars I have ever owned. But there was a certain purity of design in the 911 series, which continued through the later years. Even the new GT3 RS has styling hints which mimic the 911’s of 30 years ago. It could only be a Porsche. And what’s more looks the part.


Now we have had the Panamera foisted upon us, a four door, four place sports sedan, and one has to say “Why?” Apparently it goes like the horses of hell, but since they have the Porsche Cayenne series which will cart around a small family at blistering speed, where does this Panamera thing fit in? Beyond me, I’m afraid.

Fortunately, I can’t afford one, so I’m not looking and wondering.

Jensen C-V8

Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I showed a photo of a British kit car and they made 400 of them in 1958. I asked what it was? It was the Tornado Typhoon Sports Brake, and Peter Eades was first in and best dressed.

So to this week, and since we have featured Citroen, how do you know if a ‘Traction Avant’ Citroen built between 1938-1940 and post-war 1948-1955 was built in the UK and not in France (and it isn’t the placement of the steering wheel)?

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

Good luck!

So what did we learn from the German Grand Prix?

Well we learned that Alonso is definitely Number 1 at Ferrari. The Sulky Spaniard’s whinge on the radio that “this is ridiculous” worked, and Massa was told to cede position. Now, “team orders” are forbidden by the FIA, so Ferrari has been fined $100,000 and will be told not to do it again. Another 40 slaps on the wrist with a wet tram ticket. All the Ferrari haters are now up in arms, bringing up the time that Barichello was forced to yield to Michael Schumacher in Austria in 2002. The only real difference was the fact that Schumacher acknowledged the fact and put Barichello on the top step of the podium as the moral victor. Schumacher was also then fined for doing that. The Sulky Spaniard has still not acknowledged the method by which he “won” the German GP. Nor will he ever, I doubt.

However, is the ‘No Team Orders’ legislation sensible? Or is the law an ass? Team orders have always been part of motor sport. In my opinion, the greatest F1 driver of all time is Juan Manuel Fangio, but some of his world titles came through team orders. Orders where his team mate did not only have to cede position, but hand his car over as well. Drivers are no longer competing as individuals - they are merely part of a “team”, and the “team” decides tactics and strategies, not the drivers. Trying to legislate against these is pointless.

What else did we learn? Well we saw that young Vettel is probably the most dangerous driver at the start that I have ever seen. His lunges across the track at the other drivers to attempt to block are just too much. However, he will get his comeuppance one day. Incidentally, with Vettel and Webber now equal in points, what will Red Bull do now? Give them half a wing each, perhaps?

With the Seth Effrikkan channel no longer being beamed into Thailand, we are forced to watch Star Sports, and the comparison is odious. If anyone who reads this has any influence on Star Sports please let them know that breaking away from the action for a block of ads every seven minutes is just not on. I understand that adverts are needed, but the South Africans place the advert around a minimized real-time telecast picture, so you do not miss any action. Star Sports could easily do the same and get some converts to their coverage.

What else? Honestly, it was boring. The leaders were quicker than McLaren, who were quicker than Kubica in the Lada, who was quicker than the Mercedes, and so on down the line. Passing was prohibited, I think, unless sanctioned by Ferrari.

Finally, it certainly takes some mind-numbing boredom to end up deciding that the Petronas advert was more exciting than the Total Oil advert, which in turn was more exciting than the motor racing from Germany. I just pray that Hungary will be better.

Citroen gets the ‘Big Air’!

Brief note from our friends at Citroen regarding their prowess in the rally scene. Or perhaps that should be Sébastien Loeb’s prowess. The Citroön Total World Rally Team have been competing in the FIA World Rally Championship since 2001 during which they have won five manufacturers titles and powered Sébastien Loeb to all six of his World Drivers’ Championship crowns to make him the most successful rally driver in history.

“Yumping” Citroen

The drivers call it - somewhat modestly - getting some “big air” and it’s that gravity defying moment that separates rallying from all other motorsports that aim to keep their cars glued to ground and which sees rally cars propelled towards the sky.

Yes, other motorsports occasionally see cars in the air (such as Mark Webber a couple of weeks ago), but it’s usually the prequel to a rather large accident, but in rallying it is, quite simply, the quickest method of getting from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’.

Like so many other lists of rallying’s records, the unofficial record for the biggest ‘yump’ is held by Sébastien Loeb. During April’s Rally of Turkey, Sébastien Loeb literally took off on the fast Ballica stage propelling his C4 WRC car an incredible 85 meters through the air. And landed safely.

Commenting on his amazing Turkish jump, Loeb said, “It was an incredible sensation as we were up in the air for several seconds. Not for a moment did we imagine that we would jump so far.”

At the time of writing this, the Frenchman heads into round eight of the 2010 championship in Finland with a 51 point lead over his closest rival and firmly in the hunt for a record seventh drivers’ crown. The Citroön Total World Rally Team also holds a 47 point lead in the Manufacturers’ standings.