Couple driving

A fifth of British people HATE their partner’s driving

Couple driving

Is your dearly beloved a danger behind the wheel? Don’t feel bad if you feel that way. According to a survey of 2,000 British motorists, as many as 26 percent are scared to get in a car with their partner.

So, what kind of irksome behaviour behind the wheel could prompt your partner to fear riding shotgun?

The female contingent is accused of everything from hesitancy at junctions and being in the wrong gear, to leaving “you could get a bus in there” kerb-side gaps when parking. Braking too hard and too late is apparently an issue, too.

What about the boys? Gents get grief for having a lead foot on some of the more free-flowing roads the UK has to offer. Guys also allegedly drive a bit close to the car in front and have unsettling bouts of road rage.

Couple driving

On average it takes just 28 minutes of a car journey for tempers to flare between couples; 69 percent say every drive contains a row of some sort. Unfamiliar roads, trips to the supermarket and journeys of more than two hours in general are said to be confrontation black spots. 

More than a fifth said that they hate the way the other person drives, with 40 percent saying they regularly berate their partners for bad driving.

In terms of judging oneself, as many as 74 percent of men say they’re better drivers than their partners. That compares to just 43 percent of women who have similarly high opinions of their driving skill.

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Mission Motorsport

Mission Motorsport: how racing helps give soldiers a second chance

Mission Motorsport

There’s no organisation quite like Mission Motorsport. The Forces charity uses cool cars to help returning soldiers rehabilitate and reintegrate. With support from the likes of the Royal Foundation, The Endeavour Fund and Help for Heroes, Mission Motorsport takes a passion for cars and uses it to make a real difference for combat veterans in need.

It’s not all larking about in ATVs and blasting up runways in a supercharged Jaguar, though. We had a chat with founder James Cameron about all things MM. Here’s a potted account of what they have and all the great stuff they do.

A petrolhead toy box

Mission Motorsport

We trundle into an industrial estate not unlike any other. Large, nondescript units line the sides of the road: a body shop, a construction firm, then two liveried Jaguar F-Type SVRs – one in ‘Tron’ style, another covered with poppies. A unit like any other, only complete with a petrolhead toy box to rival the best of them – this was definitely the place. Apparently, it used to contain diggers. Much cooler now with a couple of Mazda MX-5 race cars and a Polaris RZR buggy…

James is unmistakably a man of the Forces. A firm handshake, directness and a room-filling demeanour that has you both at ease and at your fullest attention. He could only have been military-hewn.

We’ll sum him up with a component-parts explanation of his @TankSlider Twitter handle. It involves a snow-covered cobbled expanse and a Challenger tank. That combination resulted in this now-respectable charity director lumbered with three months of extra duties during his time in the Royal Tank Regiment. James is as fun to be around as he is serious about his cause.

What is Mission Motorsport?

Mission Motorsport

“A lot of it is about jobs, but a lot of it is about getting people to find a life-purpose and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Some need a living, some need a sense of self and vocation”.

The public face of Mission Motorsport is perhaps the smallest facet of the charity itself. The cars, the yearly Race of Remembrance, the events, all have been garnering publicity and interest from prospective patrons since 2012. The magic of Mission Motorsport, however, is what it does for its beneficiaries.

The challenges returning servicemen and women face are difficult to comprehend. What was once home can seem like an alien world, family can seem like strangers, help can feel like a hindrance. Mission Motorsport is about giving returning veterans who have suffered in service – physically or mentally – vocation, purpose and a family.

Mission Motorsport

“The shiny and stupid stuff is to get them off the sofa and get them engaged,” says James. “Then you’ve got them on the hook, so we can go and do things to benefit them in the long run. There’s value in giving someone a day out, but the longer-term impact matters more.”

On-site, there are facilities for training in multiple motoring and engineering skills. One unit has workbenches with gearboxes, engines, differentials and more for dissection, examination and reassembly. A room beside that is where beneficiaries learn engineering theory.

Supported by the Endeavour Fund, Mission Motorsport can deliver up to a level-three diploma in light vehicle engineering. A two-year course for the average college-joiner is usually much less for a service-leaver, due to the experience they can carry over.

Mission MotorsportLantra training courses for working and driving off-road in the country are now offered, too. Plus, ex-soldiers can study what James calls the “shinier stuff”: City and Guilds-verified qualifications, which are more academic in focus.

The end result is more than 130 job-starts for people as a direct result of the work Mission Motorsport does. Not only that, the communication MM has with companies like Jaguar Land Rover changes the way they look at a CV. The real value of military experience is translated into a civilian context.

The potential effect is exponential, with thousands of returning servicemen and women getting a proper chance at securing the job they’ve applied for.

More shiny stuff

Mission Motorsport

You could be forgiven for spending the whole day meandering around the MM premises. Around every corner, you find something more ridiculous and amazing – with an equally mad story to match.

We’ve mentioned the F-Types, which are generously loaned by JLR itself. They see regular demonstration and high-speed experience duty at events like VMAX. “That car has done over 180mph for 18 beneficiaries this year” says James of the poppy-liveried SVR.

Inside are two Mk3 Mazda MX-5s, one in sprint racing spec and another in endurance spec. A unit across the way has shelves full of enough spares to rebuild both twice over.

Joining them, there’s an absolutely mad Polaris RZR buggy and, of all things, a pair of Citroen C1s. Of course, this is Mission Motorsport, so these C1s are endurance prepared. One of them has seen action at Spa Francorchamps and three Races of Remembrance.

In between the two units is the Lightning McQueen MX-5, a Bowler Defender, a Land Cruiser brought back from Afghanistan and a pair of Land Rover Discoverys.

Across the way in another unit are some more absolute gems, including a custom Land Rover Defender with a rip-snorting V8 and special controls for amputees, called Fenton. “Fenton, like the Polaris next door, is just about having really good fun. It’s the reaction we look for.”

Behind that is a fully race-ready Honda CR-V – yes, a CR-V – as built by Synchro Motorsport, Honda’s in-house race team. After a beneficiary found employment at Honda, MM was keen to keep Synchro on the grid at the Race of Remembrance and shout about the achievement. With the Type Rs getting too quick for the event, the logical thing to do (sort of) was have them race-prep an SUV. Laugh all you want, but it ended up on the podium at the Mission Motorsport Invitational event.

Right at the back is a car very far from home. A Ford Falcon as used for skidding and practical workshops, it came over, along with a lot of spare parts, back when Ford of Australia shut-up shop.

Less glamorous but no less important, a tatty BMW 3-series Compact also serves as an ECU and diagnostics cadaver for beneficiary training.

There’s also a Lancia Delta in the midst of some wrapping work. The cars are liveried in-house, with car wrapping just one of many motoring and motorsport-focused vocations MM can introduce and train veterans in.

As an example, they sent a couple of beneficiaries out on work experience. One went to Caterham F1 and another to Touring Cars. Instead of coming back, they both got full-time jobs. In a business, that’s lost talent. At Mission Motorsport, that’s something close to job done.

Plans for the future

Mission Motorsport

It wouldn’t be overstating the case to say James has huge plans going forward. The future is as bright as the coming undertaking is Herculean.

With the rise of the EV in the automotive market, demand is increasing for people trained to work with high-voltage systems. That demand, it’s predicted, won’t be met by the existing civilian UK population. What’s been identified isn’t just areas where veterans can contribute, it’s a growing chasm in the job market – one that military high-voltage training (on submarines, tanks and other heavy-duty machines) can readily fill. All that is to come, when MM moves to new and expanded facilities.

Full details of that endeavour will follow soon. For now, we hope we’ve given you an insight into the magic of Mission Motorsport, beyond that famous poppy-liveried Jag.

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Air con features

Air-con and Bluetooth top list of most-wanted car features

Air con features

New research from Kwik Fit reveals exactly what we want in our new cars. And, with a super-hot summer still fresh in our memories, air conditioning tops the list.

Second place also on the list also comes as no surprise: Bluetooth phone connectivity. It seems keeping in contact and connected comes second only to keeping cool.

Seasonal woes are a rolling theme on the list of most desired car features. A heated windscreen, of all things, takes third. We’re clearly mindful of the coming cooler weather and the icy mornings that come with it.

Sat-nav and parking cameras take fourth and fifth respectively. We want to know where we’re going and we don’t want to damage our cars parking up when we get there. Fair enough.

bluetooth features

What we’re not so keen on are voice control, sunroofs and head-up displays. Research indicates that 70 percent or more of us wouldn’t stump up the cash for these features.

Our aversion to voice control and head-up displays is interesting as manufacturers are keen on developing and pedalling these at the moment. As for sunroofs? It’s interesting how what was once a desirable feature finds little favour today. 

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Celebrities and their cars

Celebrities and their cars

This is Simon Cowell at the wheel of a Morgan Plus 4 ahead of another season of The X Factor. Along for the ride are former judges Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw, with Cheryl Cole/Fernandez-Versini/Ann Tweedy in the front. A cool celebrity car? The onlookers seem impressed. Read on to discover more about celebrity car culture.

Prince Harry’s Jaguar F-Type

Prince Harry created the Invictus Games for wounded servicemen to take part in an Olympic Games-style competition. It’s an enormous success – and, from the inaugural event, has been well-supported by Jaguar Land Rover. Here’s Harry behind the wheel of a Jaguar F-Type roadster.

Paul Hollywood’s Ducati

Great British Bake Off star Paul Hollywood is an unashamed petrolhead. He races Aston Martins, has a garage full of supercars and is also a committed bike nut. His favoured ride is Ducati: here he is choosing his next superbike.

Mary Berry on Paul Hollywood’s Ducati

Former Great British Bake Off judge and baking legend Mary Berry also tried out Hollywood’s Ducati for size. Her views on it are not on record but, if you ask us, it perhaps suits her better than her former colleague…

Katie Price’s Range Rover

Everyone’s seen Katie Price’s pink Range Rover. It’s one of the most distinctive celebrity cars, and Katie takes every opportunity for a bit of publicity.

Jay Leno’s McLaren

Here, American TV host Jay Leno is seen with his McLaren 12C.

Puff Daddy’s Bentley

Sean Combs, better known as rapper Puff Daddy or P Diddy, likes his bling. Here he is posing in a Bentley.

Paris Hilton’s Bentley

You know what they say about money and taste? Here’s Paris Hilton’s pink Bentley Continental GT to prove it.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Jeep

Arnold Schwarzenegger is known for liking his Hummers, but here he is in a retro Willys Jeep. Awesome.

Charlie Sheen’s Mercedes-Benz

This was actor Charlie Sheen’s Mercedes-Benz S-Class, until he stuffed it in a ditch. D’oh.

Jeremy Clarkson’s Range Rover

Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson is known to be a fan of Range Rovers. Here he is with a modified Overfinch version.

Jay Kay’s Lamborghini

Old Italian cars aren’t the most reliable, as Jamiroquai star Jay Kay discovered when he broke down on London’s King’s Road in his Lamborghini Miura.

Wayne Rooney’s BMW i8

Here’s former Man Utd and England ace Wayne Rooney in a BMW i8. He was forced to sell the car when he was given a two-year driving ban after he was caught drink-driving in Cheshire.

David Beckham’s Porsche

Followed by bodyguards, David Beckham gives wife Victoria a lift home in this Porsche 911 Cabriolet.

Deadmau5’s Ferrari

Music producer Deadmau5 wasn’t satisfied with a regular Ferrari 458, so he wrapped it to create a unique Nyan Cat-inspired “Purrari”. Ferrari didn’t like it, threatened legal action, and it was replaced by a McLaren 650S Spider.

Kim Kardashian’s Bentley

Tuned by Platinum Motorsport, Kim Kardashian’s Bentley Continental GTC was a serious bit of kit for cruising the streets of Beverly Hills.

Rowan Atkinson’s Rolls-Royce

Comedian Rowan Atkinson loves his cars, so it’s no surprise that he’s owned quite a variety. Here he is with a Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe.

The Queen’s Bentley

Do celebrities come any more famous than her Majesty The Queen? This is one of her two Bentley State limousines, created by the Crewe manufacturer ahead of the 2002 Golden Jubilee.

Chris Evans’s Mercedes-Benz

Chris Evans is one of the UK’s most famous petrolheads. Here he is parked outside the BBC Radio 2 studios in a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series. Soon, he’ll be parking outside the Virgin Radio studios.

Carol Vorderman’s Vauxhall Ampera

In 2014, Carol Vorderman took delivery of a ULEV. No, that’s not a Countdown conundrum, but an ultra-low emission vehicle. In this case, the Vauxhall Ampera.

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Mercedes-AMG ONE

Mercedes-AMG One – new F1-derived hypercar gets a name

Mercedes-AMG ONEMercedes-AMG is one step closer to bringing its F1-derived hypercar to fruition. After being spotted testing not long ago, the new car now has a name: the Project One concept has become the Mercedes-AMG One.

It’s not exactly an ‘AM-RB-001 to Valkyrie’ kind of name transformation, but ‘One’ refers to the car’s strong links with Formula 1 racers.

The car is purported to be fitted with a derivative of Mercedes’ 1.6-litre turbocharged hybrid F1 engine. Even though the maximum revs will be pegged back, it’ll still need to be rebuilt every 30,000 miles…

Mercedes-AMG ONE

The One is currently going through testing to refine its sophisticated active aerodynamics. Note the extended active louvres over the front wheels on the car, pictured here with Merc F1 ace, Valtteri Bottas.

What’s more, prospective customers will be able to get an early taste of this long-awaited hypercar. A mobile showroom Mercedes calls ‘The Future of Driving Performance’ allows for cockpit tests and equipment demos. They’ll be able to go through colour specifications and material samples, too.

Now the One has its name, the countdown begins to cars being ready for delivery. Can we have a go, Mercedes? Pretty please?

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2019 BMW i3 42.2 kWh

2019 BMW i3 electric car gets a battery boost and a longer range

2019 BMW i3 42.2 kWhBMW has given its i3 electric car yet another battery update, meaning it now has around twice the electric capacity than it did at launch just five years ago. The 42.2 kWh battery of the 2019 i3 is almost 30 percent larger than today’s model, too.

The firm says this gives it an everyday driving range of more than 160 miles – and that’s according to the super-tough WLTP test, which is much stricter than previous electric car measurements.

According to the more lenient old NEDC tests, the 2019 i3 now has a range of almost 225 miles.

2019 BMW i3 42.2 kWh

Back in 2013, the i3 used 22.6 kWh batteries, while the 2016 update took capacity up to 33 kWh. The latest boost to 42.2 kWh (more than a current-gen Nissan Leaf) shows the fast pace of electric car battery development.

Both 170hp BMW i3 and 184hp BMW i3s get the new battery packs, which don’t take up any more space than today’s cells. It means the 7.3-second 0-62mph time of the base car, and 6.9-second acceleration of the i3s, can be enjoyed with more confidence you won’t have to recharge en route if you do so.

2019 BMW i3 42.2 kWh

With a BMW i Wallbox, charging is fast: an 80 percent charge takes 3.2 hours. Use a regular domestic socket, though, and the same state of charge will take 15 hours. Bigger batteries take longer to recharge, see…

The i3 can, however, used 50 kW fast chargers. Here, an 80 percent charge takes just 42 minutes.

To herald the new batteries, BMW has tweaked the i3 elsewhere. Buyers of the base i3 will now be able to equip it with an i3s-style sports back, which lowers it by 10mm, widens the track and adds on 20-inch alloys and black wheelarches.

2019 BMW i3 42.2 kWh

Adaptive LED headlights are a new option alongside the standard LED lights, and BMW’s added two new body finishes and some fresh interior colours. The iDrive system has also been updated.

2019 BMW i3 42.2 kWh

BMW hasn’t said when the battery-boosted i3 and i3s will go on sale, nor how much they’ll cost, but expect to see them at the Paris Motor Show next week. Motoring Research will be there and bring you more when we get it.

Retro Porsche 935 edition

Retro Porsche 935 racer reborn as £750,000 track-day special

Retro Porsche 935 editionPorsche has stunned motorsport fans by recreating one of its racing legends as a modern day retro homage. The new Porsche 935 is inspired by the 1978 935/78 Le Mans racer that was famously nicknamed ‘Moby Dick’.

Revealed at the exclusive Rennsport Reunion event in Laguna Seca, California, Porsche calls the Martini-liveried car a gift to motorsport fans – and 77 people with £750,000 to spare will actually be able to buy one.

Retro Porsche 935 edition

Loosely based on the Porsche 911 GT2 RS road car, the new 935 edition has a fully bespoke body made from carbon fibre composites, with a super-elongated streamlined rear among its most dramatic features – carrying a gigantic (and functional) rear wing, it sees the retro racer homage stretch almost 4.9 metres long – almost as long as a Range Rover Sport.

And at 2.03 metres wide, it’s actually wider than a Range Rover…

Retro Porsche 935 edition

It has the same vented front wings as a Porsche 911 GT3 R racing car, aero wheels that reference the 935/78, side mirrors from the modern Le Mans-winning 911 RSR, titanium exhausts referencing the 1968 Porsche 908 and modern motorsport-spec LED lights on the sides of the rear wing similar to the modern 919 Hybrid LMP1 racer.

Retro Porsche 935 edition

It’s simply incredible: “Because the car isn’t homologated [and thus not road-legal],” said Porsche motorsport vide president Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, “engineers and designers didn’t have to follow the usual rules and thus had freedom in development.”

Retro Porsche 935 edition

Inside, it’s similarly epic. If you squint, you can see the 911 base – but it’s well hidden by a full race makeover, including a carbon fibre steering wheel and display from the 2019 911 GT3 R racer.

Retro Porsche 935 edition

There’s a full racing roll cage and bucket seat, an optional passenger seat and a gorgeous laminated wood gearknob similar to classic racers like the 917 and 909 Bergspyder. Like modern endurance racing cars, air conditioning is standard.

The engine? The same 700 horsepower 3.8-litre flat-six twin-turbo as fitted to the road-going GT2 RS. It has the same seven-speed PDK gearbox too; at 1,380kg, performance should be similar (as in, 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds).

The gigantic 1.9-metre wide, 400mm deep rear wing may cap top speed, but it will make the car phenomenally able through corners – and more balanced at speed.

Retro Porsche 935 edition

This stupendous racing homage is one of the final hurrahs for the current 991-generation 911. It’s been revealed at the Rennsport Reunion to mark 70 years of Porsche sports cars, and 50 years of the Martini brand in motorsport.

The 77 customers will receive their cars from June 2019 at “exclusive delivery events” – one of which, we’re sure, will be timed to coincide with the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours on June 12th.

Moby Dick may not have won the world’s most famous endurance race back in 1978, but this 2018 celebration is every inch a winner in our eyes…

Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy Test Session

Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy electric racers test for first time

Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy Test Session

The first batch of drivers have been announced for the forthcoming Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy, as part of a test session at Silverstone race circuit.

Held to help the new racers become accustomed to their new electric I-Pace machines, the official test day saw a global field starting to be assembled for the race series.

Intended to act as a support race for the 2018-19 FIA Formula E Championship, the I-Pace eTrophy will be contested across ten rounds at nine different locations.

Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy Test Session

One of the first teams to be unveiled was Rahal Letterman Lanigan, a US-based outfit which has competed in IndyCar, Global Rallycross, and the American Le Mans Series. Their cars will be driven by Bryan Sellers, and British-born Katherine Legge who has spent much of her career racing in the USA.

Simon Evans, the younger brother of current Formula E racer Mitch Evans, was another driver making a debut at the test. Having an older sibling already competing in electric motorsport could be a useful bonus, and Simon believe that the two will be “pushing each other on” as the season progresses.

A Brazilian pairing of Cacá Bueno and Sérgio Jiminez also joined the grid at Silverstone. Bueno is a five-time Stock Car Brasil champion, and the duo will form the official Jaguar Brazil Racing team.

Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy Test Session

The promise of equal machinery and a world stage should hopefully produce dramatic racing, and showcase Jaguar’s EV technology.

Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy Championship Manager, Marion Barnaby, seemed impressed with the on-track action, commenting: “This week’s test confirmed the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy is shaping up to offer exciting, close and really competitive racing. The standard of drivers is high and with five continents already represented on the grid it is going to be a truly international series.”

More driver and team announcements will be made in due course, with further test sessions scheduled ahead of the opening race in Saudi Arabia on the 15th December.

NCAP Renault crash

Indian Renault Lodgy scores ZERO stars in crash test

NCAP Renault crash

Much fanfare is given to the safest cars on the road but we wonder, what is the least safe new car money can buy? It’s fair to say markets outside Europe and America are playing catchup in terms of safety. That’s where campaigns like Safer Cars for India come in, to call out cars that are just not up to modern standards.

The zero-star cars

The latest candidate for least safe car in the world? Meet the Renault Lodgy: zero-star adult occupant Global NCAP safety-test alumni. Yes, that’s right, zero stars. That result is, in fact, no surprise, given the standard Lodgy’s lack of the most basic safety amenities.

Seatbelts, made mandatory in the UK in 1983, are an option on the Indian-sold Renault MPV. The worst thing is that this isn’t unique to the Lodgy. Cars from Volkswagen, Honda, Renault, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Ford and more do not come as standard with airbags. Needless to say, most of these cars also score zero stars for adult occupant safety.

The lack of strength in the Renault’s structure is plain to see, too. There are bends evident as far back as the rear door, while distortion of the front footwells is also evident. There’s also a lack of Isofix anchorages, meaning that any child seats need to be secured with the adult seatbelts.

“The zer- star Renault Lodgy is extremely disappointing,” said David Ward, Secretary General of Global NCAP

“Global NCAP had hoped that Renault had learned from the difficult experience they had with the Kwid. It’s time now for Renault to make front airbags standard across their entire Indian product range.”

Improvements

It’s not like such campaigns haven’t done any good at all, though. The Suzuki Maruti Vitara Brezza is celebrated, with four stars achieved. The Suzuki, among other Indian-developed cars such as the Tata Nexon, is evidence of steady improvements being made.

Time to play catch-up, Renault India. Standard airbags all-round would be a start.

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Distracted man driving

Male drivers four times more likely to be distracted by attractive pedestrians

Distracted man driving

A survey conducted by The Car People has revealed what millennial drivers get most distracted by – and the disparities between genders. The findings are telling; boys, the jig is up! One in five men admitted to being distracted at the wheel by attractive pedestrians. That compares to just one in 20 women who admitted to wandering eyes when on the road.

What else distracts us when driving?

Both men and women find mobile phones and passengers the most distracting. A massive 37 percent of both men and women admitted to phone-based distractions when driving. A respective 27 and 30 percent said talking to other occupants in the car had their attention diverted.

In third place for distraction for men is adjusting the car radio (25 percent), while children fighting in the car is third for women (26 percent). Vehicle controls and attractive pedestrians come in at fourth and fifth for men. Mirror-watching and sat nav directions came fourth and fifth for women.

While it’s at least interesting – and vaguely amusing – to contemplate what distracts us when driving, it’s important to remember the dangers of not giving the act your full attention. Driving has never, and will never be, a multitasking-compatible activity.

distracted driving

“We all know mobile phones are a massive distraction for both male and female drivers behind the wheel, however, it is concerning to see how many other things distract us when we’re driving along that we can’t consciously switch off from” said Jonathan Allbones, director at The Car People.

“Hopefully our research will encourage people to think about their driving habits and ensure that more people are focussed on what is happening on the road ahead of them, instead of factors inside the car and on pavements.”

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