by Dr. Iain Corness
Italian GP this weekend
The GP circus moves to Italy, the home of Ferrari and the Tifosi. Spa was not
such a great race two weeks ago, so let us hope that Monza will give us some
Monza is another driver’s circuit; however, like many other circuits, Monza has
not been a single layout, but a series of more than a dozen layouts which have
ranged in length from 2.4 km to 9 km.
The circuit was opened in the Monza Royal Park, near Milan, in 1922 and featured
bankings, though these were demolished in 1939. The bankings which featured in
some races, 1955-69, were new structures built on the format of the original.
Bankings were used for the Italian GP in 1955, ‘56, ‘60 and ‘61, and were last
used for racing of any form in 1969 when the concrete became in need of
substantial resurfacing and rebuilding.
The 1971 Italian GP holds the record for the fastest-ever Formula One race but,
emphatically, that is not the same as saying the fastest race for Grand Prix
cars. That honor remains in the possession of the 1937 Avusrennen with Rosemeyer
in the Auto Union recording a 276 km/h lap (that’s about 165 mph).
After 1971, the circuit underwent some revisions to discourage slipstreaming and
to lower the average lap speed. Chicanes were added in 1976 and, in 1994, the
second Lesmo Bend was tightened and the Curve Grande was re-profiled.
The World Championship which Alonso has his eye on, is not a 100 percent surety
for The Finger yet and is still quite open, with seven more GPs after this one
(175 points up for grabs). We can expect that the main protagonists will still
be trying very hard, in particular Alonso, racing in front of the passionate
Nano a No-No?
The Tata Nano burst onto the world scene four years ago,
hailed as the cheapest new car in the world. This was true minimalist motoring.
You got a body, an engine and transmission and four seats and not much else.
The concept was to offer four wheeled transport for the emerging middle classes
in India as the next step up from the family motorcycle, which had been the
ideal transport for a family of five.
However, Tata did not investigate fully the psychological aspect, and Indians
rising through the ranks of society did not wish to look as if a Nano was the
best they could afford. So the Nano was shunned. Sales plummeted.
Now the product planners at Tata are going to relaunch the Nano as a smart city
car, hoping that will reverse the downward slide in sales. But will it? As
Daimler-Benz found, their Smart city car has hardly been a runaway success, and
other such vehicles as the Norwegian Th!nk seems to be sinking, if not already
Ambitious plans of bringing Nano to Thailand a couple of years ago seem to have
been shelved, and I doubt whether it will last more than another couple of years
in its home base India. Then it will be Ta-Ta to Na-No.
HighSide Tours at Kaeng Krachan
Do you want to be able to ride a motorcycle well? Perhaps not
as good as Rossi, but better than you are now. A HighSide Tour weekend could be
HighSideTours held its first 3 Day Track School in January 2005 and has held
over 70 school events and many more individual tuition sessions since then. They
have featured extensively in Fast Bikes (UK), PS (Germany) and Rapid
(Australia), magazines as well as having a satisfied customer base numbering in
the hundreds. Many their customers have attended three or more events.
There are various packages depending upon your wallet, time and desire!
Standard Package - THB 56,000: Bike, fuel & tyres, 3 days unlimited track time,
4 nights accommodation, airport transfers, track transfers, crash insurance,
instructor, photo CD, breakfast, soft drinks, lunch.
Basic Package - THB 40,000: Bike, fuel & tyres, 3 days unlimited track time,
track transfers, crash insurance, instructor, photo CD, soft drinks, lunch.
Sampler - THB 16,000: Bike, fuel & tyres, 1 day unlimited track time, track
transfers, crash insurance, instructor, soft drinks, lunch.
Half Day - THB 7,000: Bike, fuel & tyres, ½ day unlimited track time, track
Full details are available from Graham Knight, email
BMW i Genius Launched
In a world-first, BMW is employing artificial intelligence to
promote its ground-breaking new electric cars through an automated information
service for UK customers, which if successful and well accepted by the potential
customers, will spread throughout the BMW world.
‘BMW i Genius’ uses specially developed software to interact with potential
customers in a live question and answer format that works on a mobile platform.
Users simply text in a question relating to BMW i and the BMW i Genius system
will instantly respond with a detailed and helpful answer. The adaptive system
is capable of interpreting words, the context of those words and the sentiment
behind each question in order to respond. Subsequent questions can be asked
allowing an informative, real-time conversation (with a computer).
The system was developed by London Brand Management, in a partnership
facilitated by a business accelerator program based in London’s Tech City called
The Bakery and media agency Vizeum.
London Brand Management founder, 19 year old Dmitry Aksenov, said, “We are
delighted to have been chosen by BMW Group as a partner for the launch of this
exciting and innovative electric vehicle. Like the BMW i3, our Artificial
Intelligence software is truly groundbreaking and provides a unique channel for
BMW and its customers to make better buying decisions by getting access to the
right information at the right time in the right place.”
BMW Group UK Marketing Director Chris Brownridge said the company’s marketing
approach for its electric cars is as innovative as the cars themselves.
“BMW i Genius is capable of understanding each question and responding
accurately every time just as if you were talking to an expert from the company.
The system operates around the clock allowing the consumer to ask any question
relating to the i cars but without the hassle of having to pick up the phone or
go into a dealership.”
To use the BMW i Genius service users need to text their question to the
shortcode 84737. The artificial intelligence program will then activate and
generate a response regarding the BMW i3 or i8. Two BMW i cars are confirmed for
production, the fully-electric BMW i3 megacity vehicle and the plug-in hybrid
BMW i8 sports car. The BMW i3 is BMW’s first fully-electric production car and
is due to go on sale in the UK in late 2013. Like the i8, the BMW i3 features an
all-aluminium chassis combined with a passenger cell made entirely from carbon
fiber reinforced plastic.
As well as the vehicles themselves, BMW i will encompass a range of premium
services for mobility aimed at optimizing the use of parking spaces, recharging
infrastructure, ‘smart’ navigation systems, intermodal route planning and access
to other BMW vehicles on an ‘on-demand’ basis.
BMW is the first premium vehicle manufacturer to offer such a comprehensive
ownership package surrounding electric mobility.
But is it a move in the right direction? I think I would still rather speak to
an engineer in person, but then, perhaps I am old fashioned.
Nitto 3K Series at Bira this weekend
BBX/Acorn Escort on the grid.
If you can’t fit a visit to Monza for the Italian GP into
your schedule this weekend, then go to the Bira circuit for all the local
action. Cars, Trucks, and Car Club events Saturday and Sunday, including the
very popular Retro cars with our BBX/Acorn Pub Mk1 Ford Escort back to give the
E30 BMW’s a hurry up.
The Bira circuit is on Highway 36 about three kays past the Regents School
heading towards Sattahip direction.
Full days racing on both Saturday and Sunday, and an added incentive is our AA
Insurance Brokers/Acorn Pub Hospitality tent on the Sunday from around noon on
the outside of the hairpin at the end of the straight. Come in to the circuit
via the “back” entrance, 50 meters before the main gate, go through the tunnel
and turn immediately right and look for the red tent.