Burning up the asphalt
Last Wednesday we were among three lucky secondary school students invited by Young Post to attend the assembly of the show car for tomorrow's Red Bull Dragon Run 2011.
We had to meet early in the morning to be taken to a secret location in Chai Wan Industrial City, Chai Wan.
The show car for this weekend's event is a customised Red Bull RB1. It is the first Formula One car Red Bull Racing has built since acquiring Jaguar Racing in 2004. The car is modified to look like their current generation's Red Bull RB7.
Formula One is considered the king of motor sports. Racing cars are at the cutting edge of technology: they are built from lightweight materials, have excellent aerodynamic properties and can reach speeds of up to 360km/h.
The drivers of these modern marvels are also pushed to the limit. They're trained to withstand forces of up to 5G while taking turns, which could cause your average Joe to pass out. They must also possess lightning-fast reflexes and split-second decision-making skills.
The sport is regulated by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). The 'Formula' in Formula One refers to the rules that all competitors' cars must abide by.
During the workshop, we met Red Bull Racing F1 Running Show Car Team Manager Tony Burrows. He told us he had started out as a garage mechanic 30 years ago. He made his way up over time to Formula One through working for teams in various lower race categories.
As manager of Red Bull's support and show team, his job is to popularise the sport, especially in cities like Hong Kong where there is no Grand Prix.
We are die-hard petrolheads so we got down to a hearty discussion with Burrows about the car and its performance.
We learned that this year two new systems have been added to F1 cars: Kers (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) and DRS (Drag Reduction System). The first allows energy to be recovered while braking and stored for later use during sudden acceleration.
DRS, meanwhile, is a device which opens an adjustable flap on the car to enhance its aerodynamics.
Burrow's team modified the show car to make it suitable for Hong Kong's road conditions. This included increasing the ride height of the car to accommodate bumps on the road. During normal runs, F1 cars are cooled by the wind that their high speed generates. Here, the show car won't be going at top speed: its engine will be cooled with fans and dry ice.
It was a great privilege to attend the workshop. We gained invaluable insight into the sport and the top-notch engineering behind it. Thanks to both Red Bull Racing and Youth Post for the opportunity.
We look forward to attending the Red Bull Dragon Run in Lung Wo Road in Central at 6pm tomorrow. It will be a spectacular show. Toro Rosso (Italian for 'Team Red Bull') driver Jaime Alguersuari will also be there.
Here's your chance to experience the roar of a Formula One car in one of the world's busiest districts!
Make sure to visit the Young Post booth on Lung Wo Road (near Man Yiu Street) between 4pm and 7.30pm. There will be some fun games with cool prizes. The first seven readers who show up will get a Red Bull racing cap, T-shirt or jacket.
Additional reporting by YP cadet Gavin Yeung