Category Archives: Formula 1

Buster

Buster is Alex’s school’s fluffy toy dog…. He is a project for the kids – in this case he is taken home over the weekend by a different kid each time and the kid has to keep a diary with photo’s.

Alex is the third to have the diary and Buster, so this weekend we went off to do some things that Alex enjoys. Buster came along with Alex’s own plush puppy ‘Puppy’ (which Alex has had since birth – a gift from Granny).

Saturday was a bit of a let down as the weather was on and off wet and dry. Alex, Puppy and Buster spent the day playing with cars and drawing (cars). Sunday though was more up Alex’s street…. it involved Goodwood and cars (oh, tell me you weren’t surprised…).

Alex, Puppy and Buster watch the cars hush past...

Greenpower run a schools event to inspire engineering in young people. It’s an electric car race and the finals were held at Goodwood. Alex has a great love of electric cars, so it was a no brainer that we would go and watch the race. We saw some pretty amazing cars and soon had our favourites.

Sandbach Brian - a crowd favourite

Sandbach Zebedee - The one to watch

Brian and Zebedee from Sandbach High School & 6th Form  College caught our eyes as they were in copies of real race colours – GULF and JPS. The two cars also looked well thought out and the team behind them were very focused. Little surprise to find out that this entry was from a girls school – and in engineering I have always found that the female of the species is often the stronger, as they have to fight harder to be noticed… they have to be better to be regarded as being equal to the men. Admittedly this view is dropping off, but in certain fields it is still sadly true.

Team C.A.U.C (Sandbach) 1st and 4th with a Williams F1 car

Sandbach were  a focused team and well driven – and got a 1st and 4th in the final for their efforts. Stunning cars too – really well thought out – and Alex just had to go back and see Brian after the race! Well done to the team for doing such a top job – you were the most talked about team in the crowds from what I can gather.

A few photo’s were taken of Alex, Puppy and Buster around Goodwood – including some by the Aston Martin V8 Vantage that Alex has been around the track in, and that Granddad uses on the circuit as a work car (jammy bugger!). Granddad then came over and popped Alex and friends up on an ambulance and crash truck for a few more shots. We then went on to watch some more racing and take a few more photo’s.

Alex introduces Puppy and Buster to Granddad

Alex & friends by the V8 Vantage he did laps in.

The prize was Williams F1 related, and as such there was a 2008/9 season Williams on display. This recently retired F1 racer was there to look at but that was it – it’s an expensive car (cost to build – not including development – is estimated in excess of £1.5 million – a wheel alone costs upwards of £25,000), and a fragile piece of equipment, so don’t touch…. unless you happen to be a car mad Alex with a loving Granddad in motor sports…

Alex, Puppy, Buster and £1.5 million worth of F1 car

Even Daddy hasn't sat in one of these... yet!

I wonder what the next outing will have in store for Buster, as he is handed back tomorrow… but I can’t help but feel that the benchmark has been raised a little…

More importantly though, Alex had a wonderful day. He kept saying “I really love Granddad – I will be a racing driver, won’t I?” on the way home… before falling asleep for the remainder of the drive. Job as a Dad done for the day!

MORE PHOTO’S HERE

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Goodwood Revival 2009 Sights and Sounds

Goodwood Revival 2009 was a bit special for me –  SEE HERE

I managed to grab a few movie clips whilst I was there. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them – but in all honesty, you really need to be there… so hopefully I’ll see you at the Goodwood Revival 2010…


I apologise…

‘Scuse me whilst I kiss the sky!!! I’m still a bit overly happy! I’m sorry!

Goodwood Revival 2009 will go down in my history books as the day I reverted to being 9 years old….

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It’s always great – no two ways about it, the Revival is the greatest motorsport weekend there is. All the famous and not so famous race cars from the many years of track racing. Jaguars, Ferraris, Mercedes, Alvis, Ford, Chevy, Lotus, I could go on….and on… all battling in very heated full pace battles. Not replicas – these are the real deal… 50 to 60 years old and they are still adding to their history.

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Why was this one different?

Well, by now you will know of my love for the XJ13 – the most beautiful car in the World – FACT (Okay, opinion, but it should be fact). This 60’s supercar managed 206mph under the guidance of the great Norman Dewis. It was the 13th model for Jaguar, hence the XJ13 tag… a mystical number… some see it as unlucky…it just adds to the tale.

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It was going to be a Le Mans entry to crush the Ford GT40’s and Ferraris of the day, but just before it was ready the race rules changed and the XJ13 wasn’t allowed to race. It was the test bed for the Jaguar V12 powerplant that went on to get fitted in later Jaguars – notably the E-Type. In fact to launch the E-Type a photo shoot was called up with the XJ13 to add heritage to the new V12 E-type. On this outing one of the magnesium wheels “let go” and Norman had an almighty crash.

The car was all but written off – and luckily Norman survived!  Years later it was rebuilt and is now with the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Centre.

Named the thirteen…a still born racer that almost killed its test driver… a beautiful, powerful car that can still hold its own… those GT40’s got away lightly… the XJ13 would have eaten them alive.

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I first saw the XJ13 many years ago at Beauleau Motor Museum and fell in love with it. Since then, on odd occasions we bump into each other. I eventually came to know of the TWR replica (Click here to link!) – the most accurate and faithful of the few replicas out there. At £105,000 it isn’t cheap – but then it is an XJ13….

It always stops me in my tracks, and today it did once more. As I rounded the corner as we walked through the Revival event I saw the TWR XJ13 sat there…. The engineer in charge of the project (Trevor – the T from TWR) was there and we got chatting about “her”. It was the first time I had got a chance to talk about the 13 with people actually involved.

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After a long chat with Trevor I went off and caught up with Chris and Alex, where we all then took in the sights, sounds and action of the Revival. We met old and new friends on our walk about, and generally had a good time of it all.

Toward the end of the day (and this blog entry) I met the XJ13 again…but until then….

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Carnaby in Goodwood

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Alex getting into the spirit

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Glam Cabs!

Spitfires, Messershmitt, Mustangs and a Vulcan took to the air, vintage racers blitzed the track… (Alex loved the Mini racing – which really was a nail bitter)… and we loved it. Fairground rides, Rockers, Dad’s Army, Laurel and Hardy, Hippies and Mods – static car displays the lot – Brilliant.

DSCF9180Dad’s Army

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The ME109

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Mad Mini’s going Hell for Leather

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Huey – UH-1 with M-60

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A pair of Aces? Mustangs down Low

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Laurel and Hardy

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The Italian Job

We caught up with my Father in Law as well, which Alex had been on about all day (he loves his Grandad!). Always great to catch up with him – although on race days he is obviously under a lot of stress and pressure with his job! I never really expect to see much of him on those days – so if we do manage to meet up it is always an added treat.

When we went to head home I decided to head back to the 13 to see if I could possible sit in her..it..her… I know it was a big ask, and pretty unlikely, bearing in mind the cost and “DO NOT TOUCH” labels on it..her…it…

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As I rounded the corner again I reverted to being a kid once more, as stood chatting with the Trevor (Mr TWR) and next to the 13 – was Norman Dewis…

I went to take a photo of the two of them and the camera started to misbehave. Norman suggested I was out of film…. I tried again to get a shot.

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Thanks to the ice breaker I found myself talking to Norman Dewis… Trevor then suggested I bought the Norman Dewis book (a huge tome about his life and key role in developing the Jaguar cars from C types to XJ saloons, XK’s and XJ’s…. his racing against other giants like Moss and Fangio…).

I’ve wanted it for a while…. It isn’t a cheap book, but it was 30% off for the Revival.. but still not cheap…. so I said I’d buy it as my Christmas present… as long as I could have a seat in the 13, and if Norman wouldn’t mind signing the book…..

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Needless to say I ended up sat in the cockpit of the 13, with a signed book and several photo’s of me with Norman, the XJ13 and Alex, me and the 13….

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I look a little mad in these pictures… but I was trying hard not to look too much like a kid in a candy shop!

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Behind my head… 450hp of V12 in a 1200kg chassis…. SWEEEEET!

It was all over far too soon for my liking. As we wandered away I then spotted a golf cart heading towards me. It stopped… I recognised the driver and went over to shake hands and say “hello”….. Murray Walker! Yes, Mr Voice of Formula One himself! Murray Walker shook the hand that 1 minute earlier Norman Dewis and shaken… I may never wash it again! Two Legends!

How can I better this? Well…. unless I can raise the finances, the next step would be a trip out in a 13… (or THE 13….*shudder!*)… Better still would be some wheel time in the 13…. but hey! I’m still counting my lucky stars that I even managed to sit in this, one of the greatest cars to have ever existed.

So all that is left now, is for me to scour the marketplace to see who wants to buy a kidney…. one careful owner… only £105,000……

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Alex in first carting crash

A trip to Haynes International Motor Museum ended with Alex eating steering wheel.

The museum itself is by far the best motor museum I have been to. It’s far better than Beaulieu – many many more cars and in my opinion a far greater coverage and range of vehicles than Beaulieu.

It started with the Red Room, and just got better every step – See HERE for my photo’s.

The Red Room

The Red Room

Although he took a blow to the face, he was not put off of cars or racing – but he is a bit tender at the moment.

The £1 a go electric kiddie cars were calling us, so after seeing other parents go around in these slow cars with their toddlers on their laps, I decided to do the same.

I was impressed as Alex picked up throttle control and steering pretty quickly. Once the £1 had run out, he got into another car and I perched on the back as he seemed pretty happy with the controls. As he pulled away I went to hover my hands over the wheel just in case… but he beat me by hitting the tyre wall before I had a chance to do anything.

Now as you can see, these cars really don’t go very quickly, so the little bump really shouldn’t have caused any problem, but Alex just wasn’t ready.

I launched over the top of him – catching ‘myself’ on the top of the car as I cleared him. I just caught a glimpse of him face planting the padded steering wheel.

It was a softened impact, but still enough to split his top and bottom lip, and the skin on his chin just below his bottom lip. Moments later and he had a runny bloody nose too. There were tears and blood – lots of blood… I must admit to feeling pretty disturbed to have a handful of Alex’s claret in my hands.

I stemmed the bleeding and after a while (and a few toy cars from the museum shop) Alex was over the shock and initial pain. I felt pretty bad, but these things happen, and I know you can’t wrap kids up in cotton wool to protect them – you just have to be there when they get an ouchy. It’s part of the learning curve (show me a kid who hasn’t had cuts and bruises and I’ll show you a kid who has spent their life in a padded box).

His lips became quite swollen and it took a while for his chin to properly stop bleeding, but he’s in great shape. He had to drink through a straw for a few hours, but that soon got better.

He looks at the video and tells me it hurt, but it was fun. He’s not been put off cars one bit – It would take a lot more than that, and lets face it, he now has a story to tell reporters when he is a Formula One Champion about his first time driving and hitting a tyre wall!


King of Shaves going strong

Still baldly going where no razor has gone before….

Looking and feeling good is important. I wouldn’t have said this a year ago – but I hadn’t met Will King back then. After meeting him I started to get into male grooming products. I can safely say that I feel better in myself now for the extra care I take shaving.

Some people just think shaving is something that gets in the way and is just done as quick as possible in whatever way is cheapest or available…. well I used to be that way too until I slowed down and now use my shower/shave time to slow down and clear my head (mentally and physically!!!!).

What has happened since I started using KoS and taking a bit more pride and time over myself? Well…. I got myself a new job… executive level and £7,000 more a year…. Will King’s positivity and drive may have rubbed off on me a bit, but feeling better in myself made me feel a lot more confident. I know it sounds crazy, but the proof is there.

Want to feel better? Just take time out to enjoy your shave rather than just enduring it. Make it a bit of “you time“.

King of Shaves (KMI) is still going strong in our house – infact it is going stronger now than before. KMI have baby products now, and alongside the Azor (the superb Gillette and Wilkinson Sword beating razor) there is now the Azure for ladies.

There is no way I’ll go back to the more expensive brands when the KoS Azor is more cost effective, lasts over 4 times longer and gives a far better shave!

After about 8 months using Azors I can safely say that my initial findings were not fluke. I can shave my face and head more times with the Azor than I could just shave my face with a Gillette! That shows not only does the Azor cost less up front, but once you factor in how long the blades last the Azor is cheaper than a dodgy chemist chuck-away razor! This is what you need in this credit crunch era.

The gels and creams are also amazing quality and cost. The smallest pea size portion of gel does my entire head! Sure, the initial cost may be close to the competition products, but once more it lasts far longer – more savings!

What is the downside though? Well… before the Azure came out the downside was that Chris nicked my Azor – but that’s all fixed now!

It gets better though… I have always had sensitive skin and had to be very careful how I shave. A year ago I would never have shaved my head for fear it would rash up – but the Azor is so darned good I can shave my scalp daily (ooooh and it feels good!). Even better still I have a technique that should really be frowned upon… a technique that would cause me great trouble with anything other than an Azor….

I place the Azor on my scalp and do not lift it up for the whole shave… I just glide it back and forth all over… with the hair growth, against the haor growth… no problem whatsoever! Heck, I can do my entire head in less than two minutes!

Using the Azor after anything else is like using a Mac after using a PC…. a real eye opener of how it should be done.

So… What are you waiting for? Grab an Azor for a shave that is better for you and your pocket.

King of Shaves is the Brawn F1 team of the shave world… McLaren and Ferrari are the Wilkinson Sword and Gillette. WS & G have tried to stay ahead with flashy things but with a poorly judged complacency, whilst all the time KoS gets stronger and bigger with the simple ideals of a good product, good infrastructure and an item that works without the whistles and bells.

Congratulations to Jenson Button and all at Brawn and Virgin for another wonderful race victory.

If you want you can follow Will King and KMI on Twitter at: KingOfShaves

Note: Although I admin on the ShaveForum I am independent to KMI and KoS. If Gillette or Wilkinson Sword made a product that bettered the Azor, then I would use it. So far though they don’t. Not even close.


Eco Less-Unfriendly Cars

Jumping on the electric bandwagon….

I love cars. I am a petrol head and love big gas guzzling motors and the sounds they give off…. but I also like the idea of greener vehicles. We are seeing some high performance green vehicles now, so I’m not worried about all new eco-cars being slow city-cars. I’ll miss the sound and look of a V8 engine – but at least the performance will still be available in “eco” cars, where as a while a go that was not an option.

Being a throbbing engine with great sounds isn’t all important in a car really – The performance that comes from it is the important thing – the rest is just window dressing.

For performance the electric motor is like an on switch – Internal combustion won’t stand up to what electricity offers. No matter how fast you are going, you can pretty much put your foot down and accelerate as quickly from 30mph to 60mph or 70mph to 100mph  as you did 0mph to 30mph.

Electrical power is evenly distributed – there is no power band compared to a petrol or diesel engine. Sure… a chromed up V8 looks and sounds great and raw, but there are better performance options.

What gets me is the question of “Why are we trying to develop so many different alternate fuels for cars now?

Too many choices – we’ll end up with so many different cars and a poor infrastructure to support them all. We should settle on one energy and then we can concentrate on.

With one common charge type the the only issue would be where the electricity is produced from. I don’t mean one common electric engine – I mean a common fuel and filling procedure – like we have so many petrol engines, but they all fill up the same way on the same fuel. Some motors may be faster, more economical, higher torque etc… but they are all fuelled and filled the same way. It would be easier to make  supporting infrastructure of “petrol” stations that way.

Before anyone moans about the fact that the power stations to give us the electricity aren’t very green, then I’d point you at the fact that a petrol engine is only about 30% efficient – and diesel is only about 45%. Yeah, big deal if it can do 75mpg… it’s still only 30% efficient, and as such it is still wasting energy. Add to that the wastage and energy used to drill, transport and refine that oil and that is a real waste of resources.

Real “eco-friendliness” should be measured from cradle to grave. From the moment the oil is found to the moment it goes in the car – the production process of the car, the energy used to make the car and refine the components… etc…THAT’S how to measure it.

Due to the very nature of the electric motor they have less moving parts and have higher efficiency – and the more horsepower they put out, the more efficient they are! over 125bhp and a NEME electric motor is over 90% efficient! The electric motor can get more out of the energy provided – at least twice as much more.

The motors are available NOW – so we could switch over… and yes, the ways we produce the electricity still need to be improved, but that’s no big deal because however we produce the electricity, the cars will be able to take it and operate.

As power stations improve – natural energy, solar, wind, wave – whatever – then the already efficient electric cars will get even more efficient (cradle to grave). However the electricity is supplied or produced, the cars would already be on the road to take that electricity.

Changing the way the electricity is produced won’t effect the car – but having different “eco-fuels” in development is pretty much a waste of effort and future resources that would be better spent on figuring out better ways to produce the electricity at the root – at the power stations.

As the motors develop we can even replace the petrol engines in cars that are already on the road. That’s a pretty green option as it wouldn’t need a new car to be built! Brabus has added their touch to the Tesla by adding a sound track! Check it out here! If the Brabus sound track is any good you could have your ’67 Mustang with an electric motor that gives a higher performance than the petrol V8, but still sounds as good!

World travel might be an issue with the different voltage levels – but the cars could be built with adapters and changers to accept whatever is plugged into them. It’s no problem.

Batteries and power storage is the problem at the moment – but people like Tesla are getting around it, so even that isn’t such a problem anymore.

Motor racing is helping out now as well. In Formula 1 there is a kinetic braking system (KERS) that uses braking energy and turns it back into propulsive energy. We need motor sports and recreation to keep pushing and developing these things. Cutting down on motor activities will just take the pressure off of the industries to give us the greener ways!

Remember though, and this was pointed out to me by the great Robert Llewellyn – no car can be called “Eco Friendly“, simply because the act of building one and the infrastructure to support it will effect the environment – BUT we can build “Eco Less-Unfriendly” cars.

For a petrol head, I’m actually looking forward to an electric future.


Brooklands, Hill Climbs and the Banked Track

The F1 room

Alex gets very excited when he see’s cars that he really likes. He breaks into squeals and shouts of joy, but today’s trip out to Brooklands Museum in Weybridge was a real eye opener….

The first building we entered had F1 cars in it… as Alex stepped into the room he just stopped dead… not a sound… he was overwhelmed!!!

He then started naming the cars!

Now I’ve mentioned before about his car knowledge, but today he surpassed himself as we walked around the vintage motors. We walked into one room with some really old cars in, and straight away he was naming them… Vauxhalls, Morgans, MG’s…. and then in the corner we saw a really old car….. and over Alex went and happily told me it was a Bugatti!!!

In yet another room he told me about the red 1930’s Maserati and a very early 1900 and something Peugeot… one of those that look like an old stage coach! He said it was a Peugeot granny car….

In one showroom there was a staged room belonging to a car designer. It was full of small models on the window ledge… which Alex started naming… He’s less than a month from his 3rd Birthday, so hearing him name vintage race cars just seemed so odd! He’s very good at it!

 

Alex scares people by naming vintage race car models...

Alex scares people by naming vintage race car models...

Besides the cars there are lots of aircraft at the museum – mostly those with some link to Vickers or Brooklands. They have one of the retired Concorde airliners there – an awesome sight – but for me it was overshadowed by the little known TSR2 nose section. Don’t get me started on that one… politics, politics and more politics… Grrrrrrr

A lot of the exhibits were things that my Dad had been heavily involved in – so I felt a warm nostalgia as I recollected the tales people told me of what he had achieved. He used to work alongside famous test pilots and engineers – notable names such as Bill Bedford and Barnes Wallace (Bouncing Bomb fame).

TRS2 fwd fuselage under Concorde nose

Vickers Wellington bomber, Hawker Hurricane, Harriers and Kestrels… Bouncing bombs and Tall Boys… lots of history… All of which Alex really enjoyed…. but this is Brooklands, and the home of a motor racing circuit that is 102 years old… or what is left of it….

 

Alex under the huge nose of the Valiant V-Bomber in the Stratosphere Chamber

Alex under the huge nose of the Valiant V-Bomber in the Stratosphere Chamber - out of sight is the 100 ton chamber door!

The circuit saw the fastest cars of the day – record breakers and racers – and a lot of them are on display. The steeply banked track is close to impossible to walk up – and very scary to try and climb down again as it is near vertical at the top!

So happy I thought the corners of his smile would meet up at the back of his head...

I always wondered what it would be like to go around the banked track, and today I had to wonder no more… They had a range of vintage and vintage style cars … and a Corvette … taking passengers up the (crazily steep) Hill Climb and hard right onto a woodland surrounded dirt track that swooped down and joined onto some of the remaining original circuit… tha part with the steep banking….

As we swept down the woodland road onto the race track our driver gunned the engine and took us up the steeply banked track – I say steeply banked track, but I think “wall” is a better description!

Alex loved it so much (squealing and grinning with joy) that we had to go around twice! It really was fantastic! The photo’s don’t do the angles justice!

The Hill Climb - We rocketed up this!

 

Getting ready to climb the bank.... It did not feel natural to be going so fast at such an angel of sideways tilt!

Getting ready to climb the bank.... It did not feel natural to be going so fast at such an angle of sideways tilt!

A final mention goes to this old fire engine. I’ve just had my 36th birthday… but I don’t feel so old… until I see an engine that I used to drive as part of my job!!!

I used to be part of the Dan-Air (Lasham) airfield fire crew. We had old RAF and Airport fire vehicles, and this very engine was one that I used to drive! How old does it make you feel to see something you actually used sitting there in a museum!

 

VXN... the old engine I used to drive!

VXN... the old engine I used to drive!


F1 shock – Button is OUT

Bet you feel a little better now you’ve seen the picture…

Joking aside, I am so pleased that Brawn is winning races. Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello are doing a fine job with a fine car – and kudos indeed go to Branson. This is a dream sponsorship deal for him so far!

The controversial start to the F1 2009 saw Hamilton and McLaren disqualified from the Australian GP. Even after the end of the rain hit Malaysian GP there was confusion as to final placing…. once more by Lewis Hamilton.

I’m really enjoying watching the qualifying laps and races – because Alex is well into the cars too, so it is a shared experience! Just this morning he woke up and said “Clean teeth… Formula One” as his first words uttered!

Whilst talking F1, can I ask if anyone else has noticed the following people could be “Separated at birth” …

Mark Weber and Sam the Eagle

Nico Rosberg and Leanardo D’caprio

Lewis Hamilton’s Dad and Don Cheadle (it looked better from a movie clip I can’t find… pah!)

….and finally… triplets

(thanks http://www.brawngpblog.co.uk/ for the Kelsey look-a-like!)

… Rubens Barrichello, Kelsey Grammer and Robin Williams….

That would make Brawn ‘Orson’ and Button… erm…. ‘Mindy!’

“Mork calling Orson… come in Orson…. rain stops race? Oh Shazbut!


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