by Dr. Iain Corness
|BMW C1 - the bike of
Have a gander at the photo. Is this the bike of
the future? A motorcycle you sit IN, instead of ON. A motorcycle
with seat belts. A motorcycle with side impact protection and in
frontal impact it is as safe as a car, with a torsionally rigid
passenger cell made in aluminium spaceframe technology. This bike
also has disc brakes all round, shoulder restraint roll-over bars
and an automatic gearbox.
It comes with two engine variants. There is the
ordinary 125 cc which delivers a blistering 11 kW and clocks 0-50
kph in 5.9 seconds, or you can have the high performance 176 cc
engine which squeezes another 2 kW out of it, but more importantly
an increase in torque of more than 50%, which reduces the 0-50 kph
time to 3.9 seconds. For the ultimate in motorcycle accessories, the
C1 even has a mobile phone bracket as an option.
For the congested urban cities of the future, I
believe that this BMW motorcycle is the way to go. However, is it
really a bike, or a two wheeled car?
|Is this the ultimate
With BMW resurrecting the Mini Cooper, the tuning
firm of Alpina are now working on a 200 BHP version of the new car.
Based on the 155 BHP supercharged Cooper S, the Alpina model has a
greater swept volume, by using a stroker crankshaft, to lift
capacity to 1.8 litres from the standard 1.6 and has also increased
the pressure in the puffer. With its 6 speed gearbox and 200 horses
it should prove to be the match of anything around at that size, and
the Subaru Impreza WRX’s had better start checking their rear
Last week I wrote about the involvement of Eric
Broadley of Lola Cars and the Ford GT40’s. I asked just why were the
Lola’s given that name by Broadley?
The answer was from the song “Whatever Lola wants,
Lola gets” from the musical “The Pyjama Game” - so there you are.
Like most racers, the car comes first and non-essentials like eating, rent
and children’s schooling comes a very poor second. Whatever Lola wants,
And what can we come up with for this week? OK, it’s
Ferrari. Giancarlo Baghetti won on his first time out for Ferrari. Who was
next to achieve this? It’s easy!
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first
correct answer to fax 427 596 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
|Ferrari hires scousers
as pit crew
The following late breaking news item was sent to
me by my motorcycling mate, Alan, and I did not have time to check
the authenticity, so if it is incorrect, or you are from Liverpool,
don’t blame me!
The Ferrari F1 Team recently fired the whole
pit-crew to employ some young unemployed youths from Liverpool. The
decision to hire them was brought on by a documentary on how
unemployed youths in the Liverpool area can remove a set of car
wheels in less than 4 seconds without proper equipment. This was
thought to be a good move as most races are won and lost in the pits
these days and Ferrari would have an advantage. However, Ferrari
soon encountered a major problem. Not only were the lads changing
the tyres in under 4 seconds but within 10 seconds they had
resprayed, re-numbered and sold the vehicle to the McLaren team.
|Henry Ford meets God
Another of my wag mates sent the following piece
in which I have suitably edited to get rid of the naughty bits (this
is a family newspaper after all).
Henry Ford dies and goes to heaven. At the Gates,
St. Peter greets Ford and tells him, “Well, you’ve been such a
good guy, and your invention the assembly line for the automobile
changed the world. As a reward, you can hang out with anyone in
Heaven you want.” Ford thinks about it, and says, “I want to
hang out with God Himself.” So the befuddled St. Peter takes Ford
to the Throne Room, and introduced him to God. Ford asked God,
“When you invented Woman, what were you thinking?” God asked,
“What do you mean?” “Well,” said Ford, “You have some
major design flaws in your invention:
1. There’s too much front-end protrusion.
2. It chatters way too much at high speeds.
3. Maintenance is extremely high.
4. It constantly needs repainting and refinishing.
5. The rear end wobbles too much.
6. The headlights are usually too small.
7. Fuel consumption is outrageous.
“Hummmm,” replied God, “hold on a
minute.” God went over to the Celestial supercomputer, typed in a
few keystrokes, and waited for the results. In no time, the computer
printed out a report and God read it. God then turned to Ford and
said, “Yes, it may be that my invention is flawed, but according
to these statistics, more men are enjoying my invention than
Thanks Ian Sharratt.
Cheats never prosper?
Motor sport has had its fair percentage of cheats, of
which the vast majority are never found out; however, of the ones who have
been fingered, here are a few notable examples.
mind the lifted wheel, look at the lifted bonnet!
Take F1 for example. Traction control was outlawed for
1994, yet Benetton had traction control on its computer program. It was
discovered by the FIA and admitted by the team. Benetton said it was only
used in testing! And if you believe that then you’ll believe anything.
Their star driver that year was none other than Michael
Schumacher, and to activate the traction control, or ‘launch control’
as Benetton claimed it was, the driver had to go through a specific and
complicated procedure on the parade lap. The driver therefore knew he was
activating the system, so did Herr Schumacher know about this? I leave you
to make the decision. Benetton was fined $100,000 for the crime by the FIA
and Schumacher copped a two-race suspension ostensibly for overtaking
Damon Hill on the parade lap.
Over in America, Smokey Yunick in the NASCAR division
built a car that was scaled down by 1/8th making the top speed greater
through the smaller frontal area. At the other end of the scale, and the
other end of the world, the Eggenberger Sierras in 1987 which “won”
the Bathurst 1000 km race were later disqualified for being wider than a
standard Sierra and therefore had an increase in track and tyre width. Of
course, nobody knew how this could have happened.
wide Ford Sierra
Back to Smokey Yunick, in an age when fuel tank size
was limited, his cars could go many laps further than anyone else. Fine
tuning perhaps? No, a roll cage that was plumbed into the fuel lines to
give a few extra gallons!
Cool fuel has been used by many teams to squeeze that
extra little into the tank, but I must say that I have never had any joy
with doing this. I even had a natty little cooler arrangement (like a beer
temprite system) in one car, with the fuel line coiled inside a container
with dry ice. It did little other than cause the car to misfire as the
temperature decrease seemed to crystallize the fuel. We threw yet another
“great idea” away.
One little tuning trick that gives oodles of horsepower
is the addition of Nox (Nitrous Oxide). Nox kits have been used on
dragster cars in America for years and have found their way into circuit
racers all over the world. The trick, however, is how to disguise the Nox
bottle from the scrutineers. The most usual is in the fire extinguisher,
but I do know of one enterprising driver who had the bottle attached to
his leg inside the Nomex suit and when the race was over, the tube
attached to the carburettor was yanked off and he would get out and make
for his tent immediately to get rid of the evidence.
And have I cheated? Well, it all depends on your
definition of “cheating”. I have certainly bent the rules, or found
loopholes to use to my advantage. When they banned raising the rear edge
of the bonnet, I devised a natty spring system to keep the bonnet down
when stopped (and being scrutineered), but allowed it to rise two inches
when running down the straight.
We also found that in production car racing the boot
tended to fill up with air, but you were not allowed to cut holes in the
bodywork to let the air out. I made new tail light clusters which had a
hole where the reversing lights used to be - the rules did not say you
couldn’t cut holes in the tail lights!
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