Roofer

Britain’s best driver is a roofer – but who is the worst?

RooferA car insurance company has studied its claims records and revealed that Britain’s best driver by profession is a roofer, with farm workers and builders joining them in the top three.

And Britain’s worst drivers? Here’s the surprise: they’re accountants, followed by solicitors and doctors!

The assumption could be that it’s the other way around, but 1st Central car insurance has studied more than a million motorists’ policies and found that it’s not the case.

Accountants, ahem, ‘account’ for a staggering 16,000 car insurance accident claims annual, with solicitors accounting for 15,000. In contrast, roofers accounted for just 3,850 in 2015, with farm workers also accounting for less than 4,000 accidents.

And if you think it’s simply down to the fact there are more accountants than roofers, think again: 1st Central’s annual report revealed cautious roofers’ claims frequency is just 9%, making them four times less likely than an accountant to be involved in a car accident.

Their colleagues in the building trade have a similarly low claims frequency of just 10%.

Co-founder of 1st Central, Pete Creed, admitted that “people often have preconceived ideas about how certain professions behave on the road.

“Our data dispels a number of these myths, but it’s interesting to see that a number of professions we trust with our safety are actually the worst on the road.”

The car insurance company released tables on the top 10 worst and top 10 safest drivers by profession… do you agree with them or are you outraged? Let us know in the comments below.

Britain’s worst drivers by profession

  1. Accountant
  2. Solicitor
  3. Doctor
  4. Financial advisor
  5. Letting agent
  6. Airline cabin crew
  7. Bank manager
  8. IT manager
  9. Pharmacist
  10. Train driver

Britain’s best drivers by profession

  1. Roofer
  2. Farm worker
  3. Builder
  4. Lorry driver
  5. Cleaner
  6. Carpet fitter
  7. Factory worker
  8. Mechanic
  9. Butcher
  10. Painter and decorator
BBC Top Gear

Top Gear: first trailer for all-new Chris Evans-led series released

BBC Top GearThe BBC has released the first trailer of the newly-revamped series of Top Gear, now led by new host Chris Evans – and there’s plenty for car fans to get excited about.

The short one-minute trailer is packed with teasers, including the much-publicised Reliant Rialto 3-wheeler film with Evans and co-host Matt LeBlanc. In true Top Gear style, it seems things may not go entirely to plan.

There’s also a racing driver celeb surprise: McLaren F1 driver Jenson Button (once hotly tipped to himself become a Top Gear presenter) taking a McLaren 675LT to the limit – and beyond.

Evans also gets to sit alongside another new co-host, Sabine Schmitz, although this doesn’t quite go to plan either: cue scenes of Evans being sick. Images of this have been widely printed in tabloid newspapers – it looks as if Top Gear is celebrating rather than ignoring it.

Other cars we can look forward to in the all-new Top Gear include a smoking Ford Mustang, a smoking Aston Martin Vulcan, a Viper racing a fighter jet and a Ferrari F12 tdf getting very sideways indeed. Oh, and an Ariel Nomad getting very airborne indeed.

We’ve yet to see any teasers involving the other new Top Gear co-hosts Chris Harris and Rory Reid though: perhaps they’re still to come (unless it was actually Harris who was taking that Ferrari sideways…)?

There’s also not yet any footage of the scenes filmed recently with Ken Block in central London – these proved controversial with even the Chancellor complaining: Evans has vowed not to show any footage of the ‘Hoonigan’ doing donuts near to the Cenotaph.

Watch the trailer below and let us know what you think – and share your initial thoughts on the new series of Top Gear ahead of its release some time in May.

Sir Chris Hoy ELMS

Sir Chris Hoy to race in 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours with Nissan

Sir Chris Hoy Le MansSir Chris Hoy will drive for Nissan in the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours race – fulfilling a three-year accelerated driver training programme to convert him from multiple Olympic gold medalist to racing driver.

Described as by Hoy as the pinnacle, he says that “to get the news that I have the seat for Le Mans is amazing. I still can’t quite believe it.

“It’s exciting but there are a lot of steps to take between now and then so I’m trying to focus on the short-term. I’m also incredibly excited that I’m going to be starting on the same grid as all these legendary drivers.”

Sir Chris Hoy

The news was revealed at a special event in London’s O2 Arena where it was confirmed that Hoy will become the first-ever summer Olympic medalist to race in the Le Mans 24 Hours event. It comes three years after Hoy retired from cycling and started to focus on motorsport, initially as a hobby.

Nissan soon took him under its wing: it entered Hoy into the 2014 British GT Championship in a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3, before graduating him to the 2015 European Le Mans Series in a Nissan-powered Team LNT Ginetta.

With some success: Hoy and co-driver Charlie Robertson win the 2015 LMP3 driver’s title.

For 2016, Hoy will be driving with French racer Andre Pizzitola and Brit Michael Munemann, in a Nissan-powered Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 (pictured below). As well as the Le Mans 24 Hours on 18-19 June, the trip will also race at the opening two rounds of the European Le Mans Series, at Silverstone on 16 April and Imola on 15 May.

Sir Chris Hoy: from two wheels to four

Sir Chris Hoy Le Mans

An eleven-time world champion, Sir Chris Hoy has six gold medals and, at the London 2012 Olympics, became the most successful British Olympian ever. He’s also the most successful Olympic cyclist.

“The time from my racing debut to getting a Le Mans drive has been short,” he admitted, “but many GT Academy athletes have done the journey even quicker. It’s incredible what can be achieved with the right support and the right people around you,” Hoy said.

“I’ve been very lucky to have that. I’ve had some great driver coaching, some great advice from the drivers themselves and I’ve had access to the simulator.

“The biggest thing in my motorsports career is Nissan has continued to provide new challenges for me. Just as I was coming to grips with the GT-R NISMO GT3, I was promoted straight away to the LM P3 prototype.

Surprisingly, he reckons the most straightforward step up is actually entering Le Mans. “The LM P2 car I’m going to race at Le Mans is the easiest and most intuitive car I’ve ever driven.”

Roborace Robocar

Roborace driverless series reveals Robocar racer concept

Roborace RobocarThe Roborace driverless car race series has appointed Hollywood sci-fi designer Daniel Simon as its chief design officer – and the German futurist has revealed his first sketches of the ambitious self-driving racer that will be hitting the world’s circuits later in 2016.

Called Robocar, the concept is, of course, unlike no other racing car in the world. Not least because it doesn’t need to house a driver.

With concealed wheels, aero-tuned surfacing and an almost scarily far-out appearance, the mean-looking racing car concept is guaranteed to stand out – particularly if Simon’s able to bring something like this to the FIA Formula E support series from autumn 2016.

The fact it doesn’t have to accommodate a driver is something Simon’s taken full advantage of, he explained.

“My goal was to create a vehicle that takes full advantage of the unusual opportunities of having no driver without ever compromising on beauty. Racing engineers and aerodynamicists have worked with me from the beginning to strike that balance.

“The Roborace is as much about competition as it is entertainment. Therefore – and quite unusual in today’s racing world – beauty was very high on our agenda and we work hard to merge the best performance with stunning styling.”

Explaining the tech details behind his concept, Simon said: “It was important to us that we generate substantial downforce without unnecessary parts cluttering the car to maintain a clean and iconic look.

“This is largely made possible by using the floor as the main aerodynamic device and we are currently developing active body parts that are more organic and seamless than solutions today.”

What is Roborace?

The Roborace driverless race series will support the FIA Formula E championship from the 2016/17 season. The electric-powered cars will be controlled by real-time computing algorithms and Artificial Intelligence, in full racing conditions.

10 teams will each run two cars, and the races will be an hour long.

All cars will be identical and the robotic autonomous racers will compete against one another across a full year-long season to decide the first driverless car world champion.

Revealed: the most stolen cars in the UK

Tracker reveals the most frequently stolen cars in the UK, as well as the areas most popular with car thieves

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Ford Capri 280 'Brooklands': Retro Road Test

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These are strange times. In March 2016, a Ford Capri 280 sold at auction for a world record price of £54,000. Think about that for a moment – a 1987 Ford Capri for a tad less than the price of a brand new Porsche Cayman GTS. So what’s the appeal? We borrowed one from the Great Escape Cars fleet to find out for our latest Retro Road Test.

Ford Capri 280: what are its rivals?

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Throughout the 70s and 80s, the Capri faced a number of challengers and was often imitated, but never matched. Ford billed it as the ‘car you always promised yourself’ and it was, to all intents and purposes, the European equivalent of the Ford Mustang.

And much like the American pony car, it was based on a more humble platform. For while the Mustang was a Ford Falcon in a fancy dress, the Capri was little more than a Cortina in a posh frock. But it struck a chord with the British motorist – a blue-badged coupe for the blue collar masses.

By the time the last-of-the-line Capri 280 was rolled out in 1987, the car you always promised yourself was becoming a relic in a changing world. Teenage kicks were being provided by a new breed of young upstarts in the form of hot hatches and the Capri was well past its sell-by date.

Ford Capri 280: what engine does it use?

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In his excellent book Capri: The Development & Competition History of Ford’s European GT Car, Jeremy Walton credits the 2.8-litre fuel-injected engine as prolonging the life of the Ford Capri. It was left to the newly-established Special Vehicle Engineering (SVE) to mate the Capri with the Bosch K-Jetronic V6 engine, first seen in the Ford Granada.

It was a match made in heaven and the 2.8i would evolve from an early four-speed manual into a five-speed 2.8 injection Special, complete with limited slip differential. Ford made no mechanical changes to the 280, so the claimed 160hp remained the official output.

Ford claimed a top speed of 130mph and a 0-60 time of 7.9 seconds for the original 2.8i, but as Walton explains, the heavier injection Special trim, five-speed gearbox and limited slip differential would have blunted the performance.

Ford Capri 280: what’s it like to drive?

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The Capri III was essentially a development of the earlier Capri II, which dates back to 1974, so even in 1987, this Capri 280 would have felt like something from a different era. But it was a suitable last hurrah for a much-loved car.

Ford built 1,038 Capri 280s, each one painted in ‘Brooklands’ green, which is why so many people refer to the car as the Capri 280 Brooklands. The driving position is quite unlike anything else on the road, as you peer out across the Capri’s delightfully long bonnet, complete with central ‘power bulge’.

The Capri rocks from side to side as you blip the throttle, bringing to mind the feeling of being at the wheel of an American muscle car, primed and ready to tame a dragstrip. The grey ‘Raven’ full leather Recaro seats, contrasted by red piping, are both comfortable and supportive.

By today’s standards, the Capri’s performance is timid, verging on lethargic. But it delivers its power with proper grunt and an appropriate soundtrack. This a proper front-engine, rear-wheel drive hero, meaning it’s not hard to get the tail wagging. Naturally, you have to wind down the window (no electric gubbins here) in order to adopt the authentic ‘Capri elbow’ driving position.

Ford Capri 280: reliability and running costs

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The Ford Capri dates from a time when DIY servicing wasn’t a problem and it shouldn’t be too hard to keep a 280 on the road. That said, given the rarity value, not to mention the associated prices, you’ll want to ensure the 280 is kept in a condition faithful to when the last cars rolled off the Cologne production line.

A well-maintained 2.8-litre V6 engine should be reliable, but regular oil changes are essential. Also check the differential, as a whining noise – as evidenced on our test car – could result in a costly rebuild.

As for fuel economy, don’t expect to get anything above 25mpg, but seriously, who cares about fuel consumption when you’re at the wheel of a Capri 280? Just sit back and enjoy the drive. With your right elbow resting on the door…

Ford Capri 280: could I drive it every day?

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You could, but you probably shouldn’t. At the very least we’d recommend running a Capri 280 only during summer months, because corrosion can be a constant menace. The front wings, rear arches and bumpers tend to rust for a pastime, and although pattern parts are available, it’s preferable to maintain some originality.

On the plus side, the 280 has enough power to keep up with modern traffic and the Capri entered the new millennium with its reputation restored. Drive one today and you will turn heads. As we made our way through some quaint towns and villages nestled along the Welsh border, we were greeted with smiles and the occasional thumbs up. This wouldn’t have happened 20 years ago.

Ford Capri 280: how much should I pay?

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This is the million dollar question. The Ford Capri 280 sold by Silverstone Auctions (pictured) was almost factory-fresh, with a mere 936 miles on the clock, but its sale does have the potential to boost the values of other 280s.

Indeed, there’s a rare G-registered 280 on eBay for the mildly ambitious price of £100,000, although the seller openly admits “it’s not worth £100k.” With reference to the G-plate, Ford struggled to shift the 280, not least because the £11,999 price tag was wildly optimistic. But it helps to explain why you’ll find some D, E, F and even G-registered cars.

The Practical Classics price guide values the Capri 280 at anything between £3,000 and £12,500, but you’ll need much deeper pockets to secure a low mileage example.

Ford Capri 280: what should I look out for?

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Aside from the issues mentioned earlier, you’ll need to confirm your Capri 280 is actually a Capri 280. Given the values over standard Capri 2.8 injection Specials, unscrupulous types might be prepared to create a 280 using Brooklands green paint, a leather interior and 15-inch alloy wheels.

The brooklands280 website contains a handy tool enabling you to check your build number using the car’s engine/chassis number. Some Capri 280s were squirrelled away for future investment purposes, so don’t be surprised to find many low mileage examples.

Ford Capri 280: should I buy one?

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Like so many last-of-the-line models, the Capri 280 was a cosmetic exercise, but it always felt like so much more than a marketing special. Many tears were shed when the Capri disappeared from the Ford brochure, so there’s is a great deal of fondness for the European Mustang.

Whether or not it is worth spending the extra cash required to secure a 280 over a standard 2.8i is a matter of opinion. You’ll get just as much enjoyment from a Capri 2.8i, but may have to live without the potential for a huge return on your investment. If we were forced to choose, we’d opt for a mint 2.8 injection Special or an earlier 3.0S.

Ford Capri 280: pub fact

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The Ford Capri 280 was destined to be the Capri 500, until Ford bosses had a change of heart. A run of 500 cars was planned, with Ford even going as far as to create the Capri 500 decals. But when Ford realised it had 1,038 bodyshells left, it decided to build 1,038 Capri 280s.

If you fancy driving this Capri 280 for yourself, get in touch with Great Escape Cars. Chest wig and fluffy dice are not compulsory.

This car can be driven by a five-year-old

This car can be driven by a five-year-old

This car can be driven by a five-year-old

A new car designed for under-10s is set to make its debut at this week’s Gadget Show Live at Birmingham’s NEC.

Developed over nine months in association with Young Driver, provider of driving lessons for under-17s, the two-seat car has a top speed of 10mph and features twin electric motors, disc brakes and independent suspension.

It also uses an innovative system to detect obstacles and stops the car to prevent collisions, as well as a remote-control system which can be used to stop the car if necessary.

Visitors to the show will be able to see prototype models of the car, with youngsters invited to test drive it and provide feedback.

Young Driver director, Kim Stanton, said: “This is not a toy, it is very definitely a small car. We’ve had children involved throughout its development, working with the designers and engineers to ensure that it provides a realistic driving experience.

“The Gadget Show will allow us to get a wider cross section of ages and sizes behind the wheel, trying out our final pre-production models. All young test drivers at the Gadget Show will be able to tell everyone they were one of the very first people to give the car a try, and that they had a hand in its development.”

The final version of the car will be officially launched in May, with children aged between five and 10 able to drive it at Young Driver venues across the UK.

The company uses Skoda Citigos fitted with dual controls to offer driving lessons for 10-17s on the firm’s private roads designed to mimic realistic road systems.

It comes following the news that the number of underaged drivers caught on UK roads is increasing – with young boys most likely to break the law to get behind the wheel.

Lamborghini Aventador LP-750-4 Superveloce

How many cars did Lamborghini sell in 2015? A record-breaking number

Lamborghini Aventador LP-750-4 Superveloce

Lamborghini sold 3,000 cars for the first time in 2015, according to official figures: that’s the fifth straight year of growth that is making the company profitable enough to finance all new projects out of free cashflow.

The turnaround plan is gathering pace…

Turnover rose nearly 40% in full year 2015, from €629 million to €872 million, a figure that’s tripled over the past decade, on the back of a doubling in model sales.

Each Lamborghini sold is thus richer and more profitable than ever.

Total 2015 sales rose 28% from 2,530 cars to 3,248 vehicles: 2,245 V10 Huracan and 1,003 V12 Aventador were sold. While selling more than 1,000 high-end super-sportscars is no mean feat in itself, it’s the arrival of the Huracan that’s driving Lamborghini’s growth.

Indeed, in the first 18 months since launch, Lamborghini’s sold 70% more Huracan than it did Gallardo in the same timeframe.

Lamborghini’s biggest global markets are North America and China, followed by Japan, the UK, the Middle East and Germany. Models are sold in three main regions – Europe and the Middle East, North America and Asia. Nearly every global market grew in 2015.

Lamborghini launched five new models or variants in 2015, and also decided to start building a new production facility at its Sant’Agata Bolognese HQ that will almost double production space.

Why? To build its third model series, the Urus, a plan that finally got the green light in 2015. Remember, this is being financed out of Lamborghini profits and, on today’s evidence, will likely double the brand’s volumes to yet higher record-breaking levels.

No wonder president and CEO Stephan Winkelmann is so pleased. “2016 sees us in a better situation that ever before.” But Lambo fans shouldn’t get too carried away, he added.

“This success is a reason to celebrate, but even more it represents a responsibility to qualitatively continue this growth.” Growth, absolutely. Just make sure it’s the right sort of growth.

Jaguar XF AWD 2.0d R-Sport: Two-Minute Road Test

Jaguar XF AWD 2.0d R-Sport: Two-Minute Road Test

Jaguar XF AWD 2.0d R-Sport: Two-Minute Road Test

You can already get a four-wheel-drive Jaguar F-Type and XE, so it was only a matter of time before the firm offered its XF executive saloon with an on-demand all-wheel-drive system. We drove one back from the French Alps to give it a thorough road test.

What are its rivals?

The XF’s obvious rival is the Audi A6 Quattro. Unlike the Jaguar, the Audi comes with a range of engines, including a powerful 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel – meaning anyone looking for a powerful, 4×4 executive saloon will continue to default to German rivals.

Jaguar XF AWD 2.0d R-Sport: Two-Minute Road Test

Which engine does it use?

If you want an XF with four-wheel drive, you can only get it with the 180hp 2.0-litre Ingenium turbodiesel. This combines with an eight-speed auto ’box to offer 317lb ft of torque.

What’s it like to drive?

Under normal day-to-day driving, it’s difficult to tell the four-wheel-drive XF apart from the regular model, besides from ever-so-slightly blunted performance. The extra 105kg over the rear-drive model is only really noticeable during foot-to-the-floor acceleration (it takes 8.4 seconds to hit 62mph – compared to the standard car’s 8.1 seconds).

During cornering, the two-wheel-drive XF is fairly surefooted, so it’s only when you really start to push it that you notice power shifting between the axles in a bid to keep you on the road. The intelligent 4×4 system, based on that first used on the F-Type, makes for a fun drive – more so than in the A6 Quattro – and gives you a great deal of confidence to make progress. In slippery conditions we’d imagine the XF AWD would be very competent.

Jaguar XF AWD 2.0d R-Sport: Two-Minute Road Test

Fuel economy and running costs

Naturally, the four-wheel-drive version of the XF is going to cost slightly more to run than the two-wheel-drive model. Officially, it returns 57.6mpg compared to the standard car’s 65.7mpg. Meanwhile, it emits 129g/km CO2 compared to 114g/km – equating to £110 a year in tax, compared to £30. You have to ask whether, for your driving, the efficiency penalties for opting for the four-wheel-drive model is a sacrifice worth making – but it’s not appallingly thirsty for an executive saloon.

Is it practical?

While Audi is generally seen as the master of upmarket interiors within this segment, Jaguar has done an excellent job of making the XF feel genuinely special. The seats are extremely comfortable (we put more than 800 miles on our test car in less than 24 hours), and there’s plenty of space in the front and rear. There’s 540 litres of boot space, too – that’s marginally better than rivals from Mercedes, Audi and BMW.

Jaguar XF AWD 2.0d R-Sport: Two-Minute Road Test

What about safety?

The latest Jaguar XF scored a solid five stars when it was tested by Euro NCAP last year, and the extra security of its four-wheel-drive system means the XF AWD is one of the safest cars you can use for carrying your family.

Which version should I go for?

Our test car was the R-Sport version, meaning it gains figure-hugging sports seats and unique exterior body styling but, unlike the two-wheel-drive version, goes without the firmer sports suspension. If budget allows, we reckon the more luxurious top-of-the-range Portfolio model might be better suited to the relaxing nature of the 180hp diesel engine and four-wheel-drive setup.

Jaguar XF AWD 2.0d R-Sport: Two-Minute Road Test

Should I buy one?

We really rate the Jaguar XF, and the four-wheel-drive version makes sense if you need a car that’s capable in slippery conditions such as snow. It’s a shame that you can’t spec the AWD model with the more powerful 3.0-litre diesel, so if you’re wanting performance, you’ll have no choice but to look at the Audi A6.

Pub fact

The Jaguar XF AWD benefits from Land Rover’s off-road know-how. Developed from Land Rover’s Terrain Response, the XF’s Adaptive Surface Response (AdSR) technology optimises the mapping of the throttle, automatic transmission and DSC system to suit the type of surface the car’s being driven on.

Blog: is 4am Fred the best driver in the world?

Blog: is 4am Fred the best driver in the world?

Blog: is 4am Fred the best driver in the world?

Occasionally I have reason to drive in the early hours of the morning. And when I do, I’m often amazed at the driving standards of the few cars that are on the roads. So much so, that I amused myself on today’s early morning Shropshire to Hertfordshire drive by coming up with exactly why this might be the case – along with a case study of the typical driver on the roads at that time.

Meet 4am Fred. 4am Fred works shifts, and has to rely on his 20-year-old Peugeot 106 to get him to work at all hours of the day. If it fails, he gets his wages docked, so he maintains it meticulously.

But he also knows the twisty B5063 inside out, and can cover this Shropshire B-road faster than any enthusiastic sports car driver. That’s not to say he’s reckless – he can spot a shaded area hiding black ice a mile off, having learnt his lesson as a 17-year-old 4am Fred. But he isn’t scared of driving the little 13-inch steelies off his faithful Peugeot when conditions allow.

A few perfectly-timed roundabouts allow 4am Fred enough time when he gets to work to make a brew and grab a Mars Bar from the vending machine. But he’s not reckless – at this time of morning, it’d be easy to get the attention of a lurking undercover cop car for 4am Fred. He just won’t brake for a roundabout unless he absolutely has to.

When he gets to the motorway, 4am Fred understands the hierarchy. As much as he wants to get to work as fast as possible, he realises the BMWs and Audis in the outside lane have more power than his humble 106. He keeps left whenever possible, pulling out to overtake slow-moving traffic while giving extra room for half-asleep lorry drivers. It’s impossible for 4am Fred to forget how vulnerable he is in the tiny Peugeot.

Again, he knows the motorway perfectly having pounded it every day for years. He’s in the inside lane for the uphill section – his Peugeot is the 1.1-litre, producing just 61hp. But for the downhill section heading towards the industrial estate where he works, he’s in the outside lane chasing the clock.

The best thing about 4am Fred is that he’s not alone. In the early hours of every morning, ordinary people go about their everyday business in everyday cars, driving without hesitation, selfishness and aggression. It’s a sight to behold, and one everyone should experience. But don’t hang around, or you’ll make 4am Fred miss his brew.