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Automania by Dr. Iain Corness
 

German GP this weekend at Hockenheim

Hockenheim

This Sunday is the German GP being held at Hockenheim, not Nurburgring. Hockenheim was opened in 1939, 15 miles from Heidelberg, and was used for German national car and motorcycle racing. In 1965/6 it was uprated to a design by John Hugenholz because one end was lost when an autobahn was built. The resulting circuit 6.7 km long remained blindingly quick for most of its length, with a slow section in the ‘stadium’ (i.e. grandstand) area, similar in concept to the arena course at Silverstone a fortnight ago.

Hockenheim achieved notoriety in 1968 when, at one of the first major races held at the circuit, Jim Clark was killed in a Formula Two race following presumed tyre failure. His actual death was caused, however, by the fact that his car was able to leave the circuit unimpeded and hit a tree.

While the Nurburgring was being made safe, Hockenheim staged the 1970 German GP with a layout made slower by the construction of three chicanes. It was not a popular choice of venue but, following Lauda’s accident at the Nurburgring in 1976, Hockenheim became the home of the German GP for many years, but these days alternates annually with the ‘new’ Nurburgring.

With Alonso in the Ferrari at the top of the world championship table, Mark Webber second and German hero Vettel third, expect this to be a fiery race. We will be watching in front of the huge screen in Jameson’s Irish Pub, Soi AR, next to Nova Park. The race starts at 7 p.m. Thai time, but get there around 6 p.m. for a good seat and join us for some dinner and a couple of drinks before the start. We watch the dedicated F1 channel which has no breaks for adverts during the race.


World’s longest running motoring event

London to Brighton.

Information is just through from the British Royal Automobile Club which is hosting the 2012 annual Celebration of Motoring with the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, the RAC Future Car Challenge and the Regent Street Motor Show. These are to be staged in London during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Year.

The FIA award-winning annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, which celebrates the dawn of motoring, is the world’s longest running motoring event. One hundred and sixteen years since it was first run, the event will take place on Sunday 4 November and the maximum entry of 550 pre-1905 vehicles will once again be reached months before the closing date. The largest number of overseas entrants ever has already been confirmed and the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run Concours d’Elegance - arguably the best in the world - will feature more than 100 pre-1905 vehicles from outside the UK, including entrants from the USA, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and South Africa.

Ben Cussons, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club Motoring Committee, says: “The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run gets more and more popular each year and we’re expecting another full entry of 550 pre-1905 vehicles for the 2012 event. Each year we choose a different country for the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run to celebrate and in 2012 it is Great Britain, in recognition of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. There will clearly be a lot of interest from overseas in events taking place here this year and we have already had more entries from abroad than ever for the 2012 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.”

This year’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run has clearly attracted a large international participation because it is the third world-class event in England this year following the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

On Saturday afternoon 3 November, around 100 of the pre-1905 cars take over Regent Street (closed for the event) in central London for a Concours d’Elegance. This display is a free-to-view show for the public and is an opportunity to see the machines that will be taking part in the Veteran Car Run on Sunday.

During the afternoon, these veteran cars will be joined by low energy use (electric, hybrid, hydrogen and ICE) vehicles arriving from Brighton having taken part in the Royal Automobile Club’s annual RAC Future Car Challenge. The official finish line is in Regent Street and so is a good place to spectate. This annual free show will include iconic vehicles to celebrate the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries of motoring.

The first car in the Veteran Car Run leaves Hyde Park on Sunday 4 November at sunrise (07:02 a.m.) and the 550 drivers taking part will attempt to cross the finish-line in Madeira Drive, Brighton before 4.30 p.m. As one of the largest free events in the country it will be supported by tens of thousands of spectators along the entire length of the route.

The Royal Automobile Club, which was founded in 1897 by Frederick Richard Simms and given the Royal title by King Edward VII in 1907, is pleased to welcome Bonhams and Tindle Newspapers as joint title sponsors of the 2012 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. Bonhams will once again host the annual Veteran Car Run auction as well as a reception and hospitality for entrants. This is the 19th year that the newspaper group proprietor, Sir Ray Tindle, has sponsored the event. EFG International, RAC Motoring Services, Hagerty, Abels, Regent Street Association and Kuoni continue their partnerships with the Veteran Car Run and the RAC warmly welcomes their continued support.


Want a contract to drive in F1? Let’s look at your bank account!

The Venezuelan racing driver Pastor Maldonado has a seat at Williams F1. He has produced the reputation of being somewhat wild, and in most races it seems as though he will be involved in hitting someone along the way. Last meeting at Silverstone he successfully put paid to any chance for Sauber’s Sergio Perez, leading to Perez wanting more official sanctions against the Venezuelan.

Pastor Maldonado

However, if you think the Williams F1 will do the ‘noble’ thing of sidelining their driver - think again. Maldonado pays for his seat, and pays dearly.

Formula 1 is famous for its paying drivers, those who bring sponsors’ money to the team, and those who earn a seat for a season or even just a few races. But it looks like that no one has paid more than PDVSA, the national oil company of Venezuela, who signed a USD 46 million check to the benefit of the Williams F1 in return for a seat for Pastor Maldonado, for the 2012 F1 season. The check was paid on October 31, 2011.

How did this knowledge become public? Details of the check came to light due to allegations coming from President Hugo Chavez’s opponents, who demanded the contract be made public. A photo copy of the invoice Williams issued to PDSVA confirms the amount. According to various leaks, the contract runs until the end of the 2015 season with a payment increase by 2015, when PDVSA will pay Williams F1 USD 63 million a season.

Maldonado’s rookie season in F1 with Williams F1 last year wasn’t a brilliant one, as he finished in the top 10 only once, scoring 1 point for the season, and never made it to Q3 in qualifying. Last season was Williams’ worst season ever as the team collected only 5 points and finished a distant 9th in the Constructors’ World Championship. By the end of the season the team lost its major sponsor AT&T and still hasn’t revealed a new title sponsor. During the season most of the senior technical staff parted company with the team and new staff was recruited to design Williams’ 2012 car. The team also broke its engines supply contract with Cosworth in favor of a new contract with Renault.

This year, Bruno Senna joined Maldonado, and he too is a pay driver. Driver payments offsetting somewhat the loss of revenue from sponsors. However, if you can top Maldonado’s USD 46 million, I am sure Sir Frank Williams would like to hear from you.


A new and improved masking tape

While vehicle paint technologies and repair techniques move on, some of the fundamental consumables, like masking tape, have remained largely unchanged - until now. In launching its 3030 Premium Auto Refinish masking tape, 3M has turned its attention to a product that has seen little change in more than a decade and come up with a new, improved version that offers a host of benefits for today’s paint shop.

Scotch Tape 3030 Premium Auto Refinish Masking Tape from 3M has been designed to deliver effective, instant adhesion and superior holding power even on problem surfaces. The improved adhesive will not leave residue when it is removed, which can often save up to 15 minutes per repair.

With a smooth surface and excellent solvent and water resistance, it enables a clean paint line to be achieved with modern paint systems and, when wet-sanding, there is no need to re-mask. It is temperature-resistant to 100C and capable of going through two or more bake cycles, so an optimized single-step masking process can be achieved, saving time and materials. Scotch Tape 3030 Premium Auto Refinish Masking Tape also resists slivering during both unwind from the roll and removal and, unlike many other masking products, will stay firmly in place during the bake cycle while applied tape-on-tape.