Monday, May 08, 2006

The price for a piece of crazy

Does anyone know what the price is for a piece of ultimate crazy? You might be confused with my question, but just bear with me. You know the crazy things that people, not like "dude, did you hear that? A voice in my head told me to bite your tongue off!" kind of crazy. But crazy things like base jumping from the top of Niagara Falls, or swimming with sharks and doing an upper cut right on it's face as it swims by. Until recently, I never knew how much an ultimate crazy would cost. £415,000. Yep, an ultimate crazy costs £415,000. Why, you may ask? Simple, because that is how much a Koenigsegg CCX would cost. The CCX is undoubtedly the ultimate of all crazy.

Let me elaborate. First, a bit more insight for the car. The CCX is Swedish made supercar with a mid-mounted twin-supercharged 4.7litre V8 that churns out an unbelievable 806bhp. 806! I mean 806hp from a 4.7litre engine? That is truly remarkable. OK, you might remember from my previous post that an F1 engine spits out 300hp per litre, or 904hp from a 3litre V8. But you've got to bear in mind that an F1 engine will only do 10,000 miles it's entire lifetime, and also there are no emission regulations to push it down. The CCX is a road legal car, which means it has to be engineered to last at least 150,000miles. And it also needs to adhere to the ever stringent emission regulations. The 1000hp Veyron is powered by a quad turbo 8litre W16. All this makes the CCX engine even more brilliant. And to top it all off, being nice little swedes, they also made the engine environmental friendly, well for a supercar anyway.

The chassis and body panels, a cocktail of kevlar, carbon fibre and lightweight reinforcements, coupled with an all aluminium engine adds up to 1180kg. So what do you get when you cross an 800hp engine with a 1180kg car? Chaos, that is exactly what you're gonna get, unsurpassable chaos! Tops out at around 250mph and a blitz of only 3.2seconds from 0-62mph, oh my god, that is totally orgasmic. FYI, this car was caught on a speed camera in Texas, USA doing 242mph, which is officially the fastest speeding ticket ever.

But wait. That's not the reason why I called this car the ultimate of all crazy. Just look at the rear end of that car. Can you see anything wrong with it? Nothing? Exactly! There's nothing there! Rear spoilers are important to increase the downforce on the rear tires to provide enough grip and traction, especially at higher speed. So why the hell didn't those blonde scandinavian freaks put a rear spoiler on a 250mph car? Even the Veyron, weighing a full 700kilos more, has a spoiler with not one, but two aerodynamic settings. Well, yes, I know it's got those venturis underneath, but surely, that can't be enough can it? They didn't even equip the car with traction control. I mean, that's like creating bio-hazard nuclear bazookas of mass destruction, and selling them to 10 year olds without a safety lock.

This is really the ultimate of all crazy. An 800hp car that weighs about a tonne with minimal downforce and no traction control. It costs £415,000. Interested anyone?

Koenigsegg CCX
Price: £415,000
Engine: 4.7litre Twin-supercharged aluminium casted V8

Power Output: 806bhp @ 6900 rpm
Torque: 678 lb/ft or 920Nm @ 5700 rpm
Weight: 1180kg / 2600lb
0-62 mph: 3.2 seconds
Top Speed: 245 mph
Fuel Consumption: 13.8 mpg combined

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Let's play the numb3rs game...

Gosh, I can't believe how long it has been since my last post. To be exact, it has been 7 weeks and 5 days. A lot has happened within this time period. I moved house for the 4th time in less than 2 years. I took a 2 and a half week holiday to go back to my home town in Malaysia, and saw my lovely wife again after 3 months being apart. We went for our 2nd honeymoon to Pangkor Island which lasted for 4 days and 3 nights, and had so much fun.

The trip to the island was 2 and a half hours by car and 40 minutes on a boat. I drove my father in law's E36 318 Beemer, and I revved up the engine naughtily up to 5500rpms before changing gear, which felt rather pleasant. (Give me a break, I was yearning to do that for so long now. I can only go upto 3500rpms on my old banger, any higher, then "Hello Mr. AA...I need a ride!"). On the island, we spent most of our time in the hotel room (obviously!!!), had a dip in the sea, played 3 rounds of pool, which I won 2-1 (obviously that one game that she won was because I let her win!) and ate very expensive hotel food.

Within those 7 weeks also, 3 F1 races were completed. Bahrain, Malaysia and Australia. Alonso won in Bahrain and Melbourne, and his team mate, Fisichella won in Malaysia. This gave Renault a brilliant start to the season with 42 ponts in the constructors championship. Mclaren in 2nd place with 23 points, and Ferrari in 3rd with 14.

I love playing with numbers, it puts everything in context. It gives an alternative view to the things happening around me.

Continuing to play with numbers, here are some remarkable facts and figures that I find unbelieveable. The now defunct BMW 3litre V10 engine for last year's F1 GP gave out 904bhp. 904!!! That means it splashes out 300hp per litre! Putting that into context, a good stock OEM engine is designed to have atleast 70hp per litre. Force induction means another 30 odd or so ontop. That gives 100hp per litre.

Still playing with numbers, the MP4-21, the 2006 Mclaren F1 car goes 0-100mph in 3.6 seconds. That's impressive I hear you say? Well, the most impressive fact is the breaking capabilities of that car, 100mph to complete standstill in a mere 3 seconds! From 185mph, hitting the brakes real hard would go to 0 in 3.5 seconds! But wait till you hear this. John Force, a crazy American racing team owner, with his Funny Car, clocked 0-100 in 0.8 seconds!!! Man, that is just plain unbelieveable. Here are a few more figures that I find interesting.

1. With a max speed of 252mph or 400kph or 370ft/s, the Bugatti Veyron is the fastest road car ever.

2. The Veyron has a 8litre W16 Quad-Turbo engine that spits out 3000hp. But due to thermal dissipation, 2000hp is lost to the atmosphere, and only 1000hp would be transferred by the tires to the road.

3. The Veyron is also the most expensive OEM production car at £810,000. 2 cars come 2nd. With £300,000 you can get either the SLR Mclaren Mercedes or the Porsche Carrera GT.

4. The 1st time someone tried to achieve the highest possible speed was in 1898, when Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat of France manage to get a speed of 39.24mph. About 100 years later, in 1997, the highest land vehicle speed ever was achieved at 763.035mph (!!!). This was done by a bloke called Andy Green.

5. The 1st time someone reached 3 figures was in 1904, when Louis Rigolly reached a speed in excess of 100mph.

6. On a more sour note, in 2003 in America, 17,013 people died due to alcohol related accidents. That's at a rate of 1 death every 30 minutes!

7. In 1915, 55% of the number of cars worldwide were the Model T Fords. This record still holds until today.

8. Last but not least, the 1st ever speed limit regulated was in England in 1903. The speed limit was at 20mph. Hehe this one's a bit funny.

I love playing with numbers, it puts everyhing in context. It gives an alternative view to the things happening around me. Most importantly, it also makes these 4 months before I can see my wife again seem a bit more bearable. I guess I'd just be counting down the days then... I can't wait to see her again... god, I miss her so much!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Q & A

I'm a big fan of Top Gear, a TV show mainly about cars presented by a balding fat bloke with no taste, Captain Slow, and a hamster, shown in the UK. I'm also a big fan of the Top Gear magazine, basically the TV show on paper, but with added perks. There's a section on the magazine called Q&A, where they ask celebrities some questions related to cars (obviously).

Since I currently have nothing better to do here at work, as all the licenses for the software I need to use to do my work are taken (thank god for that!), I'm having a go at answering those questions myself.

1. Where do cars rank on your personal scale of all things good?
It comes after my wife and family obviously.

2. Can you tell us how to make donuts? be honest I've never done one. Quite sad eh?

3. You've got all weekend to drive from London to south of France; what's the car and who's in the passenger seat...?
To chill out and enjoy the scenery, definitely a DB9 Volante, top down with my wife at the side. That would be so cool.
To get there as soon as possible, mmm...let me see. An SL55 AMG possibly, just by my self...ooh that would be wicked!!!

4. ...and what's on the stereo?
To chill out, some Coldplay, Joss Stones, John Legends and the likes.
Otherwise, bring on old school stuff. Limp Bizkit, RATM, and Stone Temple Pilots please!

5. Can you tell me the difference between the smell of frying clutch from the smell of burning rubber?
What's the difference smell wise, I can't tell you. What's the difference between the reaction upon smelling a frying clutch and smelling burning rubber, you're usually feeling ecstatic smelling burning rubber, but most probably you're fucked up smelling a frying clutch!

6. What's the fastest you've ever driven?
About 120mph in a 5 series Beemer

7. What one gadget would make life behind the wheel easier for you?
A car with a flying mode to use during traffic jams. I hate traffic jams. It sucks.

8. Does the shape of your genitals affect the way you drive?
I would say, yes it does, for obvious reasons.

9. How much is a litre of petrol?
About an arm and a leg.

10. Who or what caused your worst car crash?
A pothole in the road, and an asshole driver who swerved into mine just to miss the pothole. Oh, and I guess power assisted steering and lack of car control experience.

11. What winds you up most about other drivers?
Inconsiderate and selfish get that alot in Malaysia. Sheesh.

12. What's the one piece of advice you'd give to other drivers?
Never assume that you're one of the best drivers in the world. Never ever. Just...don't.

13. Is there one car you'd like to drive before you die?
Pagani Zonda F, among others.

14. Is there a car you're contractually obliged to plug?
I guess, I'm obliged to plug the Lotus Exige S, but I would be absolutely happy to do so. With breathtaking performance, it's the fastest accelerating Lotus ever to come off the production line.

That's more or less it. Feel free to answer them yourselves!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Bad habits die hard

You know the saying that life is like a giant wheel, spinning around. Sometimes you're up, and sometimes you're down. I have to disagree with that saying, because it always make life seem so simple. It's either up or down. That's it. End of story. Deal with it.

OK, I guess I won't be totally disagreeing with it, I just think something else should be added on to that. Try this one for size:

Life, is like a giant wheel, spinning around. Sometimes you're up, and sometimes you're down. Unless, you get stuck in a pothole, in some mud or snow, and there's no traction and grip. In that case you're stuck and you'll be feeling lower than low. In that case, you'd be really really down. I mean, REALLY REALLY down. You're just fucked up. Now that IS life.

The reason I'm saying this crap is because honestly, that's how I'm feeling right now. I've got some personal problems that I have absolutely no idea how to resolve, and the feeling of being utterly useless because of that is the thing that pisses me off the most. I know, I know, I'm not the only one with problems...there are many more other people that are worse off than me blah blah the speech for someone else will you?

When I was younger, about 5-6 years ago, whenever I was in a similar situation, there was one thing I absolutely know that could make me feel better. Yep, that is taking my mom's Honda Civic and do a 110mph on the highway (She's gonna kill me if she reads about this!!!). In those days, there was this one stretch of new highway connecting Kajang and Putrajaya/Cyberjaya that was just built. Since Putrjaya and Cyberjaya were still uninhabitable during those days, those 3 lane roads were completely empty. So everytime I felt down and out, I'd go out at about 10 at night, fill up the car with 20bucks worth of petrol and just sped along the road, pedal to the metal with the windows down.

When I told my girlfriend, who is now my beloved wife, about that, obviously she flipped out and didn't want me to do anything like that again. Speed kills, apparently. I don't actually buy that, because speed doesn't kill, recklessness and inexperience however, are the main killers. I found that out the hard way. Yep, when I totaled that poor old Honda in 2000. You see, I was only doing 50mph when that happened, and it was my inexperienced in controlling the car as a reaction from the stupid asshole driver in a car next to mine that suddenly swerved into me. Long story short, I went straight into a tree. It was quite miraculous that I survived. Thank god. Speed doesn't kill. Speed is good.

I don't know, I can't explain the feeling I get when I'm going fast. Maybe it's the wind on my face, maybe it's the adrenalin pumping through my vains...I don't know. I guess the closest thing I can think of is when people shove crack up their noses, or maybe when someone gets totally pissed down the pub, all their worries and troubles seem to fade away. That's the one time they can just forget about everything else and be in a state of calmness. And that's exactly how I feel everytime I go for these speed trips, it's such a natural high. It's an added bonus that I won't be puking my intestines out and have a hangover that could slaughter a walrus when i wake up in the morning!

Bad habits die hard. Or should I say, habits die hard. It's 1am in the morning, I can't sleep, I feel like shit, I miss my wife like crazy, and all I want to do is get in my old banger and do some miles on the A11. UNFORTUNATELY, my car is parked in the garage and my housemates car is parked right behind it. This negative energy is building up inside of me, and all I can do is write this stupid post. Woohoo! Lucky me! Seriously, it can't get any worse than this, can it?!?!?!

Let's reiterate.

"Life, is like a giant wheel, spinning around. Sometimes you're up, and sometimes you're down. Unless, you get stuck in a pothole, in some mud or snow, and there's no traction and grip. In that case you're stuck and you'll be feeling lower than low. In that case, you'd be really really down. I mean, REALLY REALLY down. You're just fucked up. Now that IS life."

Life sucks.

Monday, January 16, 2006

When foul play becomes a delight.

I went to the Autosport International Motorshow in Birmingham last week, and what I saw there were some brilliant stuff. However, none more so than the Maybach Excelero. The Excelero is a 2.66 tonne luxury car with a 6 litre V12 pushing 700bhp with a top speed in excess of 217mph and a nought-to-sixty figure of just 4.4 (I kid you not!!!) seconds. I've seen pictures of this beast on the net quite a few times now, but nothing prepared me for what I was about to see at the motorshow.

It's very hard to explain the experience of seeing this car in real life. The sheer brilliance of this machine was unbelievable. I think I stood there with my jaw wide open for atleast 30 seconds, and that is no exaggeration. It was massive, in an 'in your face' sort of way, provocative, yet it's stream lined curves subtly and discreetly make it pleasing to the eye. It's like a freakin' mobster with an Uzi in one hand and a cigar in the other saying "What are you looking at, you fucking piece of shit!", while it's obvious that class and elegance oozes out of him. It was awesome.

But that was not what was bothering me about this car. The most unbelievable fact about this car was that it was designed just to test a set of new tyres. It's just so unacceptable how Fulda can spend tonnes of money developing a crazy car like this just to test a set of new tyres. I mean how unfair has the world become? I'm working in the automotive industry and currently with a company which is in a process of developing a new car, and I have to say that it's a real struggle to keep to the (very low) budget. And here you get something like this just to test a set of new tyres.

Well, I know that this move was done to keep to the tradition of the tyre company, as this was not the first time a car was developed to test their new tyres. In 1938 the world was stunned by the Maybach SW 38 which had speeds of more than 120 mph (trust me, it might not sound much now, but in 1938, that was considered 'blinding' speeds). And now, the new tyres were designed to withstand the forces of a heavyweight car going at very high speeds. Since a car that fits the testing requirement was not available, so they just developed one.

But still, it's foul play, obnoxious, loathsome, atrocious, completely and utterly unacceptable!

I love it!!!

Mayback Excelero

Engine: 5.9 litre V12

Power output: 700bhp

Torque: 738 lbft

Top speed: >217 mph

0-60: 4.4 seconds

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Resolution time... again?!??!?

So it's new year's day now, and somehow this new year has crept quietly on me. I mean, 2005 has passed so quickly, I didn't even notice that it's gone. Well, that's not completely true, as I knew 2006 was looming around the corner, but you get what I'm trying to say, don't you? It's not until I witnessed the fireworks display from the London Eye on telly last night that it really hit me hard, smack in my face. Wow, it's 2006 now. But after a few seconds, I realised, so what?!? Why is going into a new year so significant? It's basically just another day, isn't it?

The main thing that I don't understand with the new year is how people always make new year's resolutions. To me it is all a bunch of bull crap, because it's just a way of people making excuses to procrastinate in improving their lives. A mate of mine asked me yesterday, what my new year's resolution would be for this year. I couldn't be bothered to argue with him about how I think resolutions are nonsense, so after thinking about it a bit, I said, "My new year's resolution would be to get an Aston Martin DB9 and drive from here to my hometown in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia".

Come on, think about it. It's a peach of a car. It's agonisingly stunning, it's got pedigree, it's got a huge V12 inside, and most importantly, it's a GT. Which means, it's designed to go long distances. And Norwich to Kuala Lumpur is long distance. I know the DB9's downfall is it's flappy pedal gear shifting and transmission, but I'm not thrashing it around a track, am I? I'd be driving it calmly and smoothly, and the DB9 would be perfect for that.

The other thing is the route. Thankfully, Asia and Europe are connected with each other, and the UK is connected with Europe through the Channel Tunnel. So far so good. From the UK, I'd be going through France, Germany, the Chech Republic, Poland, Belarus and Ukraine before getting into Asia. With all the fucked up things happening in the Middle East, and also the small obstacle of the Himalayas, I think I'd take a longer route through China. So from Ukraine, I'll continue through Russia, and Kazakhstan into China. From there, I'll drive this side of the Mekong River, into Burma, Thailand and finally Malaysia. Home sweet home.

OK, realistically, It's not as simple as that. Firstly, the distance. As the crow flies, the distance is about 10,500 km. Driving on the surface, I think it would be safe to assume to be twice that number, about 20,000 km. Then theres the huge assumption (especially in Western China where it's just a huge dessert) that there would be roads at acceptable standards for me to drive on. Then there's reliability issues. Come on, how good the engineering would be, the DB9 is still considered a super car, and we all know that supercars have reliabilities of a 15 year old lorry. Oh, and let's not forget the smallish fact of where I'm gonna get £110,000 to buy the car. I can't even afford to pay off my debts, and that's only less than 2% of that.

Back to the conversation I was having with a mate of mine, he said his resolution would be to quit smoking and get married to his fiance. I guess I should set driving the DB9 back home as my resolution for, say 2020. For this year, I guess I'll just have to lose wight and pay off my debts. Woohoo. Happy new year.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Competition is an essence of life

In a global world where survivability and ability to compete comes hand in hand with each other, you're either competing, or you're out of the game. This fact does not only apply to managing a business, but it also applies to everyday life, from picking up the ladies (or men for that matter), to finding a job, to managing a country... If you can't handle the competition, then there's no way you can survive.

To compete, you have to know your strengths and build on them, and your weaknesses and improve on them. For those institutions that strive to win over the competition, they are actively improving, finding that little bit extra cutting edge that they can have over their fellow competitors. This is what Ferrari, one of the most successful super car manufacturers in the world today, have exemplified.

The extra cutting edge, Ferrari reckons, is the touch of fresh imagination that only the youths of today can provide. In conjunction with world renowned Pininfarina, Ferrari has opened a competition among the students of top design schools worldwide to design and produce new concept designs for Ferrari's next generation of cars. In return, the top four finalists would receive a starting career within the company. Pretty fair don't you think?

20 best concepts were chosen, and they will be scrutinised and judged by none other than the experts from both companies. The contenders couldn't be more exciting and interesting. The top 10 designs can be seen below in no particular order.


Permit me to comment a bit on the designs. What a brilliant bunch of young designers they are. It really shows that art is a talent and comes from within, it definitely can't be learnt. But, I have to say that my least favourite concepts are number 10 and 4. Firstly, number 10, what is that little snout coming outfrom the front? It looks a bit like a really short penis with huge balls. Notice the side mirrors on design number 4? Here comes Shrek 3! Number 8 looks like the batmobile, and number 7, the SLR McMerc? Number 1 and 9 are my favourite. The two colour scheme makes them look modern, contemporary and sleek, yet retaining the curves of classical Ferrari designs. Now, the results are yet to be decided by Ferrari, but personally, I hope number 1 wins.

Kudos to Ferrari for this innovative feat. I really do hope they can continue producing engineering masterpieces such as the F430 Spyder, atleast until I can afford to own one. I have no idea when that would happen!