Official: Ford CEO Mark Fields replaced by Jim Hackett

Mark Fields FordFord has announced that CEO Mark Fields is to leave the company and be replaced by Jim Hackett, head of company subsidiary Ford Smart Mobility.

Fields’ departure follows a loss in confidence of his leadership from the Ford board, led by executive chairman Bill Ford. Ford’s share price has declined 40 percent under Fields’ leadership since taking over from Alan Mulally in 2014.

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“We’re moving from a position of strength to transform Ford for the future,” said executive chairman Bill Ford. “Jim Hackett is the right CEO to lead Ford during this transformative period for the auto industry and the broader mobility space. He’s a true visionary who brings a unique, human-centred leadership approach to our culture, products and services that will unlock the potential of our people and our business.”

Other senior Ford executives are to assume more senior roles. Ford Europe president Jim Farley has been appointed executive vice president and president, Global Markets, while Joe Hinrichs becomes executive vice president and president, Global Operations. Marcy Klevorn is to become executive vice president and president: Mobility, when the job shake-up takes place on June 1.

Ford recently announced 1,400 job cuts as part of an efficiency drive. The firm is still on track to report pre-tax profits of $9 billion this year, despite a sales decline of 25 percent so far. 

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Mouhammed Choukeir, chief investment officer at Kleinwort Hambros, said: “Fields has only been in the post for three years, so this is in some ways a surprise.”

He did, however, acknowledge that there may be nerves in the Ford boardroom due to the decline in the company’s share price under Fields’ leadership. 

Ford added: “We are fortunate to have three dynamic and talented leaders in Jim Farley, Joe Hinrichs and Marcy Klevorn taking on greater responsibility. Each has a track record of driving innovation, cost efficiency and delivering results around the world. They will work closely with Jim Hackett to lead Ford’s day-to-day operations, build our brand and capitalise on emerging opportunities.”

Mercedes-Benz awarded Porsche prize for its diesel engine

Mercedes-Benz awarded Porsche prize for its diesel engine

The Vienna University of Technology has awarded its Professor Ferdinand Porsche Prize 2017 to Mercedes-Benz for the low nitrogen oxide emissions and “exemplary efficiency” of its OM 654 four-cylinder diesel engine.

The powertrain, which has been developed under the leadership of Bernhard Heil, is designed to meet future emissions legislation (RDE – Real Driving Emissions). It uses technology such as a newly-developed stepped-bowl combustion process along with exhaust treatment tech configured directly on the engine.

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Judges praised the engine which already has a good reputation for its real-world performance. Engineers from German car magazine Auto, Motor und Sport reported that they “were surprised by the four-cylinder’s extraordinarily low nitrogen oxide emissions,” while road testers from ADAC said: “The exhaust gas treatment works extremely well, regardless of whether the vehicle’s on the test station or driving in real traffic.”

The all-aluminium 2.0-litre engine has made its debut in the E220d and is set to be introduced across the Mercedes-Benz range of cars and vans. As a modular unit, it can be fitted to front-, rear, and four-wheel-drive vehicles in longitudinal and transverse layouts.

With a €50,000 prize fund provided by Ferdinand Porsche’s daughter, Louise Piech, the highly-coveted award has been handed out since 1977. Mercedes-Benz engineers have been handed the prize before: for the development of ABS, the airbag, ESP and the first large-scale series production of Li-On battery technology in a hybrid vehicle.

World’s best-selling cars of 2017 (so far)

World’s best-selling cars of 2017 (so far)

Global passenger cars and light commercial sales recorded an increase of almost 5% during the first quarter of 2017, according to figures released by JATO Dynamics. Vehicle registrations totalled 21.24 million across the 52 markets covered by JATO.

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If you’re looking to stand out from the crowd, these are the cars to avoid. We’ll run through the top 20 in reverse order.

20. Hyundai Tucson

Volume: 127,587

The really-rather-good Hyundai Tucson is the 20th most popular car in the world. Coincidentally, from a volume perspective, Hyundai is the world’s sixth largest carmaker, with just under a million registrations in Q1.

19. Suzuki Swift

Volume: 128,025

We’re about to say goodbye to the current Suzuki Swift, but don’t worry, because the replacement is very good. In the meantime, the outgoing model continues to sell in big numbers, making the Swift more popular than the Fiesta.

18. Volkswagen Lavida

Volume: 130,032

Ricky Martin loves the Volkswagen Lavida so much he wrote a song about it. Probably.

17. Toyota Camry

17. Toyota Camry

Volume: 131,807

The 2018 Camry was unveiled at the 2017 Detroit Motor Show, as Toyota tries to convince the world that the saloon car has a future. Truth is, while motorists clamber for crossovers, the Camry remains incredibly popular in North America.

16. Chevrolet Silverado

Volume: 142,705

Big truck, big numbers and yet Chevrolet must look at the all-conquering Ford F-Series with a sense of ‘Desperado’. Registrations are down 0.4%, while sales of the Ford, as we’ll see later, continue to grow.

15. Ram pickup

Volume: 145,326

There’s better news for Ram, with registrations up 3.8%. Its range includes the Ram 1500: America’s only half-ton pickup available with a diesel engine. In May 2017, FCA said it would be recalling 1.2 million Ram pickups to fix faulty software that can disable airbags and seatbelt tensioners.

14. Volkswagen Polo

Volume: 148,331

Volkswagen Polo registrations are down 3.4%, which is hardly surprising given the fact that a new model is on the way. Based on these figures, the Polo is the world’s most popular supermini.

13. Ford Kuga

13. Ford Kuga

Volume: 153,835

The Ford Kuga, or Ford Escape as it is known in North America, has taken full advantage of the surge in popularity of SUVs and crossovers. Ford offers a posh Vignale edition, claiming that SUV stands for ‘Sophisticated Utility Vehicle’. Right.

12. Hyundai Elantra

Volume: 159,112

The Hyundai Elantra, otherwise known as the Avante or i35, is the 12th most popular car in the world. We’re struggling to find something interesting to say.

11. Ford Focus

Volume: 166,290

Focus registrations are down 13.5%, a factor contributing to Ford’s 2.1% drop in overall registrations. The all-new Fiesta should help to reverse this trend, not least because the range includes a new Active model: the first Fiesta crossover. We expect the Focus to follow suit.

10. Honda HR-V

Volume: 167,051

Into the top 10, where we find, perhaps predictably, a crossover/SUV. The Honda HR-V, otherwise known as the XR-V and Vezel, managed to shift 167,051 units in Q1, an increase of 3.6%.

9. Toyota RAV4

9. Toyota RAV4

Volume: 170,362

The Toyota RAV4 is another crossover on the march, with registrations up 10% in Q1. Exciting it is not, but folk seem to love the RAV4.

8. Volkswagen Tiguan

Volume: 172,623

The same can be said of the Volkswagen Tiguan, with registrations up a massive 47.9%. The launch of the all-new version is a contributing factor here. Enjoy your time in the limelight, Tiguan, because we expect the Skoda Karoq to grab a slice of your pie.

7. Wuling Hong Guang

Volume: 175,945

GM’s Wuling brand introduced the Hong Guang S1 MPV in 2015. Two years later, Wuling unveiled its first SUV: the Hong Guang S3. Last year, around 640,000 Hong Guang models were sold in China, making it the nation’s best-selling nameplate.

6. Honda CR-V

Volume: 177,473

Honda CR-V registrations are up 15.1%, making it the world’s most popular compact SUV. The CR-V pioneered the concept of the compact SUV when the first model arrived in Japan back in 1995.

5. Honda Civic

5. Honda Civic

Volume: 178,605

And so to the top five, where we find the Honda Civic. Registrations are up 31.7%, which bodes well for the new model about to hit the showrooms.

4. Volkswagen Golf

Volume: 209,764

The Volkswagen Golf is one of four models to break the 200,000 barrier, but registrations are down 7.6%. The Mk7 facelift should help to reverse this trend.

3. Nissan X-Trail

Volume: 212,244

The Nissan X-Trail has to play second fiddle to the Qashqai in the UK, but globally it trounces its smaller sibling. Registrations are up 23.4%, as the X-Trail breaks into the top three and closes in on second position.

2. Toyota Corolla

Volume: 214,618

More than 44 million Toyota Corollas have rolled off the production line since 1966, making it by far and away the world’s most popular car. And yet, it has to make do with second position in 2017.

1. Ford F-Series

1. Ford F-Series

Volume: 243,978

And that’s because the Ford F-Series remains at the top of the tree. Registrations are up 10%, which begs the question: where on earth are the North Americans putting these things? They’re not exactly small.

Premier League footballers' star cars on Auto Trader

Premier League footballer’s star cars on Auto Trader

You don’t have to be a Premier League star to drive a Premier League car. As the 2016/17 season draws to a close this weekend, many footballers will be dreaming of their next new car – and some have already started making the switch. Great news for us, who get to buy their old Premier League star cars!

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Many ex-footballer’s cars are sold through Auto Trader and, as the Premier League season reaches its climax, the new and used car marketplace is showing off 10 footballer’s cars you can buy right now. Read on…

Danny Ings: Lamborghini Huracan

Danny Ings: Lamborghini Huracan

Danny Ings has been plagued by injuries since he joined Liverpool from Burnley. This Lamborghini Huracan was registered in 2014, a year before he arrived in Merseyside for an initial £6.5m. We’re not sure if he arrived at Anfield in the Nardo Grey Huracan, but you’ll need a Premier League wage to be able to afford the £167,990 price tag.

Buy Danny Ings’ Lamborghini

Theo Walcott: Audi RS5

Theo Walcott: Audi RS5

“This is a proper Premier League footballer’s car,” says the advert for this Audi RS5, although we’d have to disagree. No, this is far too restrained and subtle to pass as a proper footballer’s car. It was formerly owned by Arsenal and England star, Theo Walcott, who splashed out on all the toys. Yours for £27,995, which is about a quarter of what Theo earns in a week.

Buy Theo Walcott’s Audi

Michael Carrick: Range Rover

Michael Carrick: Range Rover

Tough, measured and gritty: three words that could be used to describe Michael Carrick and the Range Rover. The Manchester United and England midfielder paid more than £110,000 for this Autobiography, which is on sale for a reasonable £18,995. The gold Range Rover diesel passed an MOT in February with just one advisory.

Buy Michael Carrick’s Range Rover

Gareth Barry: Mercedes-AMG GT S

Gareth Barry: Mercedes-AMG GT S

Gareth Barry made his debut for Aston Villa back in 1998 and has since played for Manchester City and Everton, as well as winning 53 England caps. New, you’ll pay just under £100,000 for a Mercedes-AMG GT, but Barry’s 2016 car is up for £92,995. The car has travelled 9,846 miles, which is around the same amount of ground the midfielder covers while playing for Everton.

Buy Gareth Barry’s Mercedes-AMG GT

Angel Rangel: Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Angel Rangel: Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Spanish footballer Angel Rangel joined Swansea City in 2007 and has since made 324 appearances for the club. Last year, he splashed out on this Mercedes-Benz G-Glass, but has clearly had enough. Let’s face it, it’ll be hard to blend in South Wales when driving a Persil white G-Glass.

Buy Angel Rangel’s G-Class

Steven Fletcher: Porsche Cayenne

Steven Fletcher: Porsche Cayenne

Dig out your copy of ‘Classic Footballers’ Cars Vol.1’ and you’ll find the Onyx Porsche Cayenne in chapter one. It was formerly owned by Steven Fletcher, who upset Sunderland fans in 2015 when he posed alongside his new Lamborghini Aventador while the club battled relegation. Fletcher now plays for Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship.

Buy Steven Fletcher’s Porsche Cayenne

Jake Livermore: Mercedes-AMG GT S

Jake Livermore: Mercedes-AMG GT S

Jake Livermore has enjoyed a terrific season with West Bromwich Albion, which earned him a recall to the England squad. The 27-year-old has had enough of his Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S, which is on sale for £87,995. With 6,531 miles on the clock, it has covered fewer miles than Gareth Barry’s old Merc.

Buy Jake Livermore’s Mercedes-AMG

Darron Gibson: Kahn Jeep Wrangler

Darron Gibson: Kahn Jeep Wrangler

This Kahn Jeep Wrangler was formerly owned by Sunderland and Republic of Ireland midfielder, Darron Gibson. The 2011 car is actually rather tasteful, with red leather seats, 20-inch alloys and rather neat dials. The vendor is selling the Wrangler to fund a business start-up. The price: £19,999.

Buy Darron Gibson’s Wrangler

Glen Johnson: Mercedes-Benz CLS55 AMG

Glen Johnson: Mercedes-Benz CLS55 AMG

“No great entertainer,” is how Evo magazine summed up the Mercedes-Benz CLS55 AMG when it reviewed the car in 2004. The same couldn’t be said of Glen Johnson, who enjoyed some great spells at a host of clubs, winning 54 England caps along the way. The MOT history for this CLS55 AMG doesn’t make for particularly good reading; you might want to check for water in the boot…

Buy Glen Johnson’s CLS55 AMG

George Boateng: Porsche Cayenne

George Boateng: Porsche Cayenne

It’s a while since 41-year-old George Boateng played in the Premier League, but this is a quintessential footballers’ car. If you’re not a footballist, you’re unlikely to find the Techart Magnum conversion attractive, but the 4.8-litre turbocharged engine is said to offer “shattering performance”. You might want to find an MOT-friendly set of number plates, mind.

Buy George Boateng’s Cayenne

What does the Conservative manifesto mean for motorists?

What does the Conservative manifesto mean for motorists?

The Conservatives have pledged a £600 million investment towards zero-emission cars by 2020 should they win next month’s general election. It comes as prime minister Theresa May launches her party’s 2017 manifesto as part of her plans to “build a stronger, fairer, more prosperous Britain” following Britain’s exit of the UK.

“Our ambition is for Britain to lead the world in electric vehicle technology and use,” says the manifesto. “We want almost every car and van to be zero-emission by 2050 – and will invest £600 million by 2020 to help achieve it.”

The Tories are also pledging to develop the strategic road network, providing extra lanes on UK motorways and improving key routes. The manifesto also says it’ll pay attention to parts of the country left behind by poor transport connections, and will invest in roads to fix pinch points.

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“We are leading the world in preparing for autonomous vehicles and will press ahead with
our plans to use digital technology to improve our railways, so that our roads and tracks can carry more people, faster, more safely and more efficiently,” adds the manifesto.

Yesterday, the Lib Dems launched their manifesto, pledging to introduce a diesel scrappage scheme and ban the sale of diesel cars entirely by 2025. Meanwhile, the Labour Party has said it will upgrade roads in a bid to reduce congestion and scrap tolls on the Severn Bridge.

Mini finally gets Apple CarPlay for 2017

Mini Apple CarPlay 2017Mini has at last introduced Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity into its model range, with new 2017 Clubman and Countryman models first to get it. Cars ordered from July 2017, with the Media Pack XL or Media Tech Pack, will get Apple CarPlay preparation, working via a central 8.8in screen – which now has touchscreen functionality alongside the usual Mini Touch Controller.

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That’s not all Mini’s changed for 2017 either. Those who’ve been driven to distraction by the current generation’s substandard fuel gauge now have a much more precise readout: like all the July 2017 changes, it’s not headline-grabbing, but customers will welcome it. Same goes for instruments that, at night, are now illuminated in crisp white rather than BMW orange.

Mini July 2017 updates

2017 Minis will be a bit safer through the introduction of a driver alertness monitor on Hatch and Convertible models, for those picking the Mini Visual Boost, Mini Navigation or Mini Navigation XL options. When it senses the driver’s getting tired, it will nag them to take a break.

Finally, the fiddle of adjusting Mini Driving Modes will be made a bit less niggly by moving the switch to a toggle controller below the air con dials.

Mini July 2017 updates

As for CarPlay on other Minis, expect it to roll out in time – perhaps on best-selling Hatch models when the model range receives its mild facelift due later this year?

Volvo ticked off for cyclist-saving 'LifePaint' advert

Volvo ticked off for cyclist-saving 'LifePaint' advert

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has given Volvo Cars a formal warning after it was decided that an advert for the firm’s glow in the dark paint was misleading.

Volvo’s LifePaint is a spray designed to increase visibility in the dark. The Swedish car manufacturer released a Youtube advert for the paint in December 2016, saying: “Road safety shouldn’t be for the few. It should be for everyone. The ones not driving our cars, and the ones who prefer two wheels to four.”

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A complainant said the advert, which also appeared on Volvo’s website, was misleading as the product couldn’t produce the effects shown.

The firm admitted that the LifePaint was primarily designed primarily for textiles. A different oil-based product produced by the same manufacturer, Albedo100, was used in the video as this worked better on metal surfaces such as bicycle frames.

Volvo said that LifePaint would have the same effect shown in the video, but it wouldn’t last as long as the product used. It added that it would add a disclaimer on the advert to make it clear that the product was primarily designed for use on dry textiles.

This didn’t satisfy the ASA however. The organisation upheld the complaint, saying: “The ASA considered that the average consumer would expect LifePaint to be able to produce a similar effect to that seen in the ads. The video gave equal prominence to the frames of the bicycles as it did to the clothing of the riders, and showed the product being sprayed on a bike frame, so we considered consumers would expect the product to work on both surface types.”

It concluded that the ad exaggerated the performance of LifePaint and was misleading, instructing Volvo not to show the advert again in its current form. At the time of writing, it remains on Youtube.

New special edition Toyota GT86 is very orange

2017 Toyota GT86 Orange EditionToyota has announced plans to introduce a Club Series line of GT86 special editions – starting with this, the very orange GT86, erm, Orange Edition.

Finished in distinctive Solar Orange paintwork, the Orange Edition is based on the GT86 Pro and starts at £28,800. That’s £795 more than the top-spec model on which it’s based, while if you really must have an automatic, it’ll set you back £30,270.

2017 Toyota GT86 Orange Edition

Alongside the eye-catching paint, the special GT86 features metallic black door mirrors and spoiler, complemented by the Anthracite 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside, you’ll find orange stitching holding the standard leather and Alcantara seats together. Everything else remains as standard – meaning the Orange Edition comes with Toyota’s Touch 2 infotainment system with DAB and Bluetooth, heated front seats and aluminium sports pedals.

If you’ve got this far and you’re still clinging onto the hope that Toyota might have given the ’86 something a little special in the driving department, we’re going to have to be the bearer of bad news. Its 2.0-litre Boxer engine continues to produce 200hp, meaning the sports car takes 7.6 seconds to hit 62mph when paired with the manual ‘box.

Like all GT86s, the Orange Edition’s engine sends power to the rear wheels and uses an LSD to aid handling. Eco tyres, fitted as standard, do their best to prevent you having too much traction, meanwhile.

Orders are now open.

Revealed: the smart motorways most likely to hit you with a ticket

Revealed: the average speed cameras most likely to hit you with a ticket

Motorists have been hit with more than £500 million in fines since variable speed limits were introduced on UK roads in 2013 – with research revealing that one in eight of those caught simply didn’t realise lower speed limits were being enforced.

A freedom of information investigation by has found the motorway blackspots for fines dished out by cameras in variable speed limit zones. The figures show that a ‘smart’ section of the M4 between junctions 19 and 20 near Bristol is responsible for a whopping 40,320 penalty notices since it opened in summer 2014.

Controversial smart motorways use active traffic management methods to control speed limits and open the hard shoulder as a live lane during busy periods. Lower speed limits are displayed on overhead gantries when there’s congestion or other obstructions ahead and average speed cameras enforce the temporary limit.

A section of the M5 between J16 (Almondsbury) and J17 (Easter Compton) has dished out 27,398 penalty notices while cameras on the M1 J10 and J11 at Luton have caught 21,751 speed motorists since they were introduced in 2013.

“There seems to be a perception among drivers that variable speed cameras on smart motorways are there to catch people out, and it’s no surprise with up to £526m in fines issued last year alone,” said’s motoring editor, Amanda Stretton.

“We’d advise drivers to research their route before heading out to take note of any areas where there may be a dramatic drop in speed. Keeping a considerable distance between your own car and the car in front can also help to avoid any sudden braking.”

The latest figures follow reports last month that a new section of average speed cameras near Newport in South Wales dished out more than 13,000 fines since they were introduced six months earlier.

Want to drive a McLaren on-track? Here’s how

Pure McLaren at SilverstoneThere’s being thrown in at the deep end, and there’s doing your first track day in a McLaren. The 570S hits 62mph in 3.2sec, a VMax of 204mph and costs a not-unsubstantial £145k. And I’ll be driving it flat-out at Silverstone. You could, too.

This isn’t my first time on-track per se. I’ve driven a few laps here and there on car launches, usually with a white-knuckled press officer in the passenger seat. Today, though, will be different: I’ll be alongside a professional racing driver, pushing me to my limits. As for the McLaren’s limits… well, we’ll come to that.

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A history of motorsportPure McLaren at Silverstone

McLaren was born on the track. The company made its first racing car in 1966, but it wasn’t until the epochal F1 of 1992 that it built something with number plates. Following a big-budget comeback in 2011, McLaren has fast become a credible rival for Ferrari and Lamborghini, with road-going machines from the 540C to the P1 hypercar. But it remains keen to reinforce those motorsport roots. That’s where Pure McLaren comes in.

Pure McLaren is series of events at circuits around the world; Germany is next, followed by Portugal and Belgium. Owners can bring their own cars, or pay to drive a track-ready 570S or 650S (McLaren’s just-launched 720S will be added in due course). There’s also a coaching programme for those who want to go racing.

Racers ready to rollPure McLaren at Silverstone

After a quick safety briefing, I grab a helmet and head for the pitlane. Each garage houses a fully-fledged McLaren racer – 570S GT4, 650S Sprint or P1 GTR – all being prepped for track use. The place is a hive of carefully managed activity, as mechanics pore over telemetry data to a soundtrack of turbocharged V8s.

Even in retina-scorching Ventura Orange, my 570S looks pretty reserved alongside the bespoilered GT4 version. Yet it’s still a dramatic design: low, wedgy and unmistakably mid-engined. I drop down into the deep bucket seat, pull down the dihedral door and plug in my helmet intercom. Time to hit the track.

Learning from a GT3 driverPure McLaren at Silverstone

My instructor is James, a man whose day-job is racing an Aston Martin Vantage GT3. He’s quiet, well-spoken and modest, but clearly has an enviable CV. “I do a lot of historic racing,” he adds, “1960s F1 cars, Ford GT40s and the like.”

I feel duly humbled. Compared to an old F1 car, hustling a modern McLaren around Silverstone must be child’s play. “In some ways,” says James, “but driving any car quickly takes experience and skill.” His words echo in my head as I prod the starter button and the V8 erupts rudely into life. Let’s hope I can make up with the latter what I lack in the former…

On-track at SilverstonePure McLaren at Silverstone

I trundle slowly down the pitlane, then floor it as we exit onto Farm Curve. The engine and chassis are both in Track mode and I’m shifting gears manually using the paddles behind the steering wheel. I carve right into Village Corner, dab the brakes then dive left and blast up through third, fourth and fifth gears along Wellington straight. Then it’s hard on the brakes again, aiming for the late apex at Brooklands as James relays calm, concise instructions via the intercom.

The Mclaren’s 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 sounds functional rather than musical. But by God, it’s quick. Response is instant and full-throttle gearchanges feel razor-sharp. The speed just keeps building, too; I see nearly 150mph on the Hanger Straight before hauling on the anchors again for Stowe. Only here, a long fourth-gear corner, do I find myself wishing for a little more oomph.

Stick to the scriptPure McLaren at Silverstone

“Brake. Wait for it. Now turn. Steady on the gas. Hug the inside. Now straighten the wheel. And go for it. Fourth gear. Fifth gear. Brake, brake, brake.” Having James’s commentary in my ears seems oddly reminiscent of my misspent youth playing Colin McRae Rally. As a P1 blitzes past, I try to focus solely on his instructions. And the more closely I follow them, the smoother -– and faster – I get.

Smoothness is, of course, the key to driving fast, but that doesn’t mean the 570S can’t be provoked. A couple of times, I overcook my entry-speed into a corner and feel the track-oriented Pirelli P-Zero Corsa rear tyres sliding gently wide. Then as my confidence increases, I push harder, even managing a dab of opposite lock through Becketts.

Slip versus gripPure McLaren at Silverstone

Surprisingly, James seems to approve. “That’s what I like about the 570S: it’s playful”, he says. “The 675LT has a lot more aero, including the active airbrake, and that ultimately makes it much faster. But it doesn’t move around like the 570S. This car is great fun on-track.”

That’s high praise indeed from a man more used to GT3 cars – even if McLaren is signing his pay cheque today. And, for what it’s worth, I concur. I do three sessions in the 570S and each one passes in an adrenalised blur. Silverstone is largely flat and featureless, making it a difficult circuit to learn, but with James’s help I keep the racing line, braking later and getting steadily faster. By the time I pull into the pitlane for the third time, mouth dry and face flushed, I’m convinced I’ve got the hang of it.

Driver demo timePure McLaren at Silverstone

Then James and I swap seats; it’s time for my ‘driver demonstration’ laps. He clears his throat, pulls the wheel in close and conversation stops. Out of the pitlane, he buries the throttle then – oooof! – brakes so hard I nearly headbutt the windscreen. We’re carrying far more speed through the corners now, the car shimmying on the limit of grip. I brace myself for the left at Brooklands, but the brutality of James’s braking still hurls me forward. Racing drivers don’t know the meaning of mechanical sympathy.

I clamber clumsily out of the car: half-euphoric, half-exhausted. A pit crew swarms around, checking levels and deflating hot Pirellis. My first track day is over, but already I’m determined to book another. If you’d like to attend a Pure McLaren event, there are six more this year to choose from. They aren’t cheap – at around £1,000 – but it’s an experience you won’t forget.

Thanks to Salon Privé and Pirelli for their help with this feature