Dr. Iain Corness

Thursday, 06 June 2013 16:09

Thailand Super Series commences

Thai motor racing takes a step forwards.  And it wasn’t just a little step; it was a big step.  Thailand Super Series is the realization of the dream of Minister Sonthaya Kunplome; who has already turned the Bangsaen Thailand Speed Festival into an event that not only attracts attention far beyond Thailand, but also can be now counted as one of the country’s major annual domestic leisure events.  Now there is his second dream of raising the standard of Thailand motorsport with the introduction of Thailand Super Series.

Unique Hybrid Hydrogen technology was proved at the Nürburgring 24 Hours race.  An Aston Martin Rapide S race car, featuring a Hybrid Hydrogen system developed by Alset Global became the first hydrogen-powered car to compete in, and to undertake zero CO2 emissions laps of, an international motor race.  The historic event took place at one of the world’s most challenging motor races, the ADAC Zurich Nürburgring 24-Hour race in Germany in extreme weather conditions.

Leading the Aston Martin Rapide S driver line-up was Aston Martin CEO, Dr Ulrich Bez, who said, “We have exceeded our already very ambitious target of completing a full lap of the Nürburgring on hydrogen.” Aston Martin partnered with Alset Global on the project to showcase its commitment to engineering innovation in its centenary year.

The no. 100 Aston Martin Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S was the sole entry within a special E1-XP2 classification (so it wasn’t too difficult to win the class).  The Hybrid Hydrogen system, comprising a hydrogen fuel supply system, tank and proprietary engine management system, ran faultlessly throughout, demonstrating the reliability and durability of the technology which could be on a series production vehicle within a couple of years.  In the race, the car reached top speeds of around 255 kph on pure hydrogen.

“This is a historic day for two reasons: besides being the first hydrogen-powered race car to compete and undertake zero CO2 emissions laps, it has showcased the most practical technology available to fundamentally, and within a very short period of time, address the challenge of global emissions, without disrupting the automotive industry,” said Jose Ignacio Galindo, CEO and founder of Austria-based Alset Global.

The hydrogen was supplied by Alset Global’s partner, Linde, via its TrailH2-gas mobile refuelling truck.  Hydrogen was stored at 350 bar and a full refill was reduced to just 30 seconds per pit stop by the end of the race.

Hydrogen has been used as an alternative fuel for some time, especially by BMW, but there is no infrastructure to provide a reticulation system to supply hydrogen on a mass user basis.

Thursday, 06 June 2013 16:07

Natter Nosh and Noggin

The car club meets at Jameson’s Irish Pub on Soi AR next to Nova Park.  The next meeting is on Monday June 10 at Jameson’s at 7 p.m.  A totally informal meeting of like-minded souls to discuss their pet motoring (and motorcycling) loves and hates (plus lies and outright exaggerations).  Come along and meet the guys who have a common interest in cars and bikes, and enjoy the Jameson’s specials, washed down with a few beers.  A couple of the members are scrutineers at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, so they may have some scuttlebutt about the F1 scene, with one having just been over to the US to watch the Indy 500.  Always a fun night.  Be prepared to laugh a lot at some of the antics of the members (when they were younger)!  The Car Club nights are always on the second Monday of the month (not every second Monday)!

Last week, I asked which famous rally driver rallied four different “works” cars that were available to him at the same time?  It was Hannu Mikkola in 1968.  He had a works Datsun on the Monte Carlo, a Lancia for the Austrian Alpine, Volvo in Finland other than the 1000 Lakes Rally where he drove for Ford.  Mikkola incidentally won the World Cup Rally for Ford in 1970, and won the 1000 Lakes seven times.

So to this week.  On the 19th of August 1959 a felony was committed by a motorist.  He was fined GBP 3.  What had he done and how was he apprehended?

For the Automania free beer this week, be the first correct answer to email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Thursday, 06 June 2013 15:20

In the blink of an eye

(With the subject of this book being medical, the review was done by Dr. Iain Corness)

If you want an uplifting story, then “In the blink of an eye” is probably one of the most dramatic personal fights against enormous odds that you will ever read.  Author Peter Coghlan finishes the sometimes harrowing tale with the caveat “Remember, miracles can happen.”

Thursday, 06 June 2013 10:09

Breast cancer and Angelina Jolie

I am sure everyone in the modern world will have read about Angelina Jolie’s double ‘prophylactic’ mastectomy after finding she carried the hereditary breast cancer gene.  Her mother died from the effects of breast cancer, so there is some degree of justification, but personally I think she has over-reacted somewhat.  Having the breast cancer gene is not a 100 percent predictor of getting breast cancer.

The very active Automotive Focus Group (AFG) invited Thomas Chambers, MD Continental Automotive Thailand to address the group’s May meeting, held at the Nova Platinum.

Thursday, 30 May 2013 15:49

What did we learn from the Monaco GP?

What did we learn from the Monaco Grand Prix?  Lots, actually, but very little positive.  The circuit round the houses of Monaco is an anachronism.  Fine for 1923 with Bugatti ‘voiturettes’ reaching blistering speeds close to 60 mph, but totally ridiculous 90 years later with F1 vehicles doing 180 mph where possible (and often where not possible).  All that can happen is processional races, livened up with spectacular crashes, safety car periods while they sweep up the debris and finally a red flag when there is too much debris for ten men and ten brooms.  At one stage I thought I was watching the Fast and Furious 6 movie, half expecting Vin Diesel to appear climbing out of the debris in a sweaty singlet.

Thursday, 30 May 2013 15:46

Eleanor sold in the US for 1 million USD

A 1967 Ford Mustang used in the 2000 film Gone in 60 Seconds has sold for a staggering US$1 million.  This Mustang was one with a movie history, being the famous ‘Eleanor’ Mustang driven by actor Nicolas Cage in the movie’s closing stages.

Thursday, 30 May 2013 15:44

News from the Automotive Focus Group

Tata has decided to postpone the development of the new facility in Thailand.  Previously, Tata had announced it will enter the passenger car market in Thailand during the third quarter, when it will introduce the Nano budget vehicle.

This news does not surprise me at all.  Tata Xenon pickups have been selling steadily, but not setting the world on fire.  The Nano received world-wide publicity as being the cheapest car on the planet, but some reliability problems have left the Nano with a less than stellar reputation.  Until sales pick up in India, I do not think there will be any rush to sell this vehicle here in Thailand, to a customer base which is more sophisticated than their Indian one.

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