US GP this weekend
This will be the second F1 GP at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA). The circuit
is 5.5 km long and is made up of twenty turns with an elevation change of 41 m.
According to COTA, the final plan of the circuit was released on September 1,
2010, showing a design inspired by the European tradition of sculpting the
circuit to the contours of the land. The design draws from several European F1
circuits, including a recreation of Silverstone’s Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel
sequence, Hockenheim’s arena bends, and a replica of Istanbul’s Turn Eight.
Other corners were loosely inspired by the Senna ‘S’ at Interlagos and the
Österreichring’s Sebring-Auspuffkurve. A feature of the circuit is a deliberate
widening of corners, to encourage drivers to follow multiple racing lines, which
did seem to work in last year’s GP.
The circuit runs counter-clockwise, the others being Marina Bay, the Korea
International Circuit, Yas Marina, and Interlagos.
From the start line, the cars will climb to the first corner - the highest point
of the circuit - with the apex of the corner positioned on the crest of the
hill. They will descend back down the hill to navigate a series of fast sweepers
modeled on Silverstone’s Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel complex and through a blind
corner at Turn 10, taking them to the far end of the circuit and a hairpin at
Turn 11. The cars will then follow a 1.00 km straight back towards the pit and
paddock area before entering the final sector of the lap and weaving through a
series of corners modeled on Hockenheim’s stadium section. This will be followed
by a downhill, multi-apex corner with limited run-off before the final two
corners of the circuit, a pair of left-hand bends that return the cars to the
Despite influences by Herr Tilke, the circuit did see passing last year.
Unfortunately, with the time differential between Texas and ourselves here in
Thailand, the US GP, at the Circuit of the Americas kicks off at 2 a.m. our
time, meaning a 4 a.m. finish.
While researching some details on the track, I came across the following
Prohibited Items list:
The following items will not be permitted inside the gates of Circuit of The
Americas during major sports and entertainment events. In addition to items
specifically listed here, other items that may be deemed to present a potential
hindrance or threat may also be prohibited.
So here we go!
Alcoholic Beverages (buy your expensive booze there it would seem)
Animals (exception for certified service animals)
Bags or parcels larger than 12x12x20 inches
Bicycles, scooters, skateboards, skates, Segways, golf carts or other
unauthorized means of transportation (No, you can’t bring your horse in either)
Coolers, thermoses or ice chests (So the beer’s going to be hot then)
Distribution of unauthorized promotional or commercial material
Food and Beverage (Note: sealed, individual, plastic bottles of water are
Fireworks, explosives or other incendiary devices
Glass or metal containers of any style
Illegal substances (they did not elaborate)
Items that may be deemed a safety hazard or annoyance to participants or guests
(balls, Frisbees, balloons, projectiles, horns, radios, bells, whistles, musical
instruments, laser pointers, etc. OK, I’ll leave my Frisbee at home. Mind you,
they don’t mention boomerangs!)
Large, golf-type umbrellas
Tents or canopies
Video cameras, audio recording devices and tripods; no video recording will be
allowed (You should be used to that in Walking Street)
Weapons of any kind, including guns, knives, pepper spray, handcuffs,
nightsticks or other items (What about the sawn-off shotguns?)
You are, however, allowed to bring some items into the COTA and the following
items will be permitted inside the circuit gates.
Umbrellas (small, hand-held style)
Portable, collapsible chairs
Personal camera equipment (e.g. digital cameras, point-and-click digital cameras
or film cameras)
I am glad the local promoters at Bira don’t try and enforce such rules. Can you
imagine a race meeting with no ice box!
Lexus reveals the RC coupe
Lexus RC Coupe.
The Tokyo Motor Show is the first showing for the Lexus RC
Coupe, based on the Lexus IS. Lexus also showed the LF-NX SUV concept, this time
with a turbo-petrol powertrain.
Lexus is trying hard to give its offerings a ‘performance’ image, getting away
from the staid middle-aged sensibility image. The Lexus PR hand-out states they
are doing this “while injecting emotional appeal into the Lexus DNA that is
synonymous with build quality, refinement and reliability”. This is hoped to
give Lexus a broader customer base.
The design is unmistakably derived from the LF-CC coupe concept from last year’s
Paris motor show, and while it features a slightly toned down look, it maintains
a number of elements that saw many motoring writers voting the LF-CC ‘best in
The spindle-shaped grille is featured strongly, this being another of the items
that Lexus want to make distinguishably their own. Unfortunately, look at the
Nissan Almera and you have another spindle shape.
The fence-like mesh grille of the show car is gone in favour of a more
conventional slatted grille and front bumper set-up, although it keeps Lexus’
now familiar spindle shape.
Lexus says the red hero color of the show car features a brighter and more
contrasting tone thanks to a new painting process that uses multiple layers of
Two alloy wheels are offered, depending on the model - 10 spoke 19 inch or
five-spoke 18 inch wheels.
Lexus has confirmed the RC will be available in two trim levels with two
different powertrains - the RC 350 powered by a 3.5 liter V6 petrol engine and
the RC 300h hybrid matched with a 2.5 liter petrol unit.
The cabin is stolen from the Lexus IS, with a 300 mm touch screen sitting high
up in the center stack. “Lexus-first” features include an upward reflecting
lighting package that is said to envelop the cabin, while the center console
houses a new ‘Remote Touch Interface’ that allows the driver to instruct the
sat-nav or infotainment system using fingers.
More from the blurb includes seating in the coupe uses an integrated foaming
construction method to ensure high levels of comfort and support for occupants.
Lexus also used Tokyo to show off a further development of its sharp and
chunky-looking LF-NX compact SUV concept, which I did not like at all, to be
frank. This car was shown at the Frankfurt show in September this year and will
likely go into production as the NX, sitting under the RX as the brand’s
entry-level crossover offering.
The Frankfurt show car featured a hybrid powertrain, but the Tokyo concept car
is powered by a 2.0 liter turbocharged petrol engine and features a front
under-spoiler, while the cabin gets a ‘Remote Touch Interface’ with touch-pad.
Fancy a Fat Porker that does over 300 kph!
Also at the Tokyo motor show, Porsche unveiled its fastest
and most powerful sedan to date, revealing the 310 km/h Panamera Turbo S.
The power in the latest iteration of the Panamera is now up to 420 kW with a
heavy 750 Nm of torque (or 800 Nm on overboost).
With two new larger turbochargers and boosted fuel pressure now a full on 2000
PSI, Porsche has squeezed another 15 kW out of the Panamera’s 4.8 liter
The zero to 100 km/h time of 3.8 seconds remains the same (and awesomely quick
for a vehicle of the size of the Panamera) but the top speed is now 310 km/h.
Porsche’s ‘Traction Management’ system gets the power to the road via 4WD, and
launch-control is incorporated in to the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Extra oomph requires extra brakes and these are supplied by the Porsche PCCB
ceramics, which are half the weight of the standard calipers.
Fuel economy, if that’s your bag, is a respectable 10.2 liters of fuel per 100
km on the European cycle - the same as its less powerful sibling, the Panamera
Turbo, and 11 percent less than the previous Turbo S variant.
The new Turbo S comes with 20 inch alloy wheels shared with the 911 Turbo, and
unique ‘Palladium’ metallic paint.
This top of the line Panamera joins two entry level 3.6 liter V6 options, three
normally aspirated 4.8 liter V8 variants, a hybrid version and also a 3.0 liter
Undoubtedly an engineering tour de force, but it still is a huge fat porker!
Why Kimi could just be a little upset
Perhaps I could sell this trophy.
Much publicity in the popular press with stories regarding
Kimi Raikkonen and his unhappiness with the “Lotus” team that he has been
driving for all year. Muttered hints are being published as to the fact that
Kimi has not been paid this year, and that he threatened to boycott the final
three GP’s of the year. I have received from a well informed source who was in
the paddock at Abu Dhabi that indeed, Kimi has not been paid, and the sum
outstanding is now at 22 million USD. That figure comes from salary and bonuses
applied for every point scored during the championship.
With a new sponsor having just come on board, Kimi should now get his back pay,
but what is going to happen to Hulkenberg if he moves to “Lotus” for next year?
By the way, if you are wondering as to why I place inverted commas around the
word “Lotus”, it is because this team, once called Renault, has no real
connection with Colin Chapman’s Lotus team, and they are just playing on the
name. There is no shared DNA between this team and the illustrious Lotus team of