Millions are planning festive leisure trips this Christmas

British motorists will drive 449 miles EACH this Christmas

Millions are planning festive leisure trips this Christmas

Motorists will drive 4.3 billion miles this Christmas with more than 1 in 4 planning to travel 500 miles or more.

The average driver will cover a total of 449 miles.

Nearly 6 million separate leisure journeys were estimated to have been driven on Boxing Day alone – and Friday 27th December will be equally busy, according to the survey by the RAC.

Saturday 28 December and Sunday 29 December will also see more than 5 million individual leisure journeys taken by car.

“This is very much a time of year when we tend to cover much longer distances than usual to ensure we get to spend valuable time with family and friends, regardless of where we or they live in the country, with drivers depending on their cars more than ever,” said RAC spokesman Rod Dennis.

The survey of 3,500 motorists about their festive driving plans showed that nearly 1 in 3 plan at least one long-distance trip of two hours or more.

A large proportion say they will take two or more lengthy journeys this Christmas.

Highways England customer service director Melanie Clarke added that a little planning beforehand could save a Christmas nightmare of suffering a breakdown.

“We know from experience that almost half of breakdowns can easily be avoided if motorists carry out simple vehicle checks before setting off.”

The roads are expected to be much quieter in the build-up to the New Year, adds the RAC’s Dennis.

Around 3.4 million leisure journeys will be taken on New Year’s Eve – and less than 2.5 million drivers will take to the road on New Year’s Day…

McLaren Speedtail during high-speed testing

McLaren Speedtail hits 250mph 30 TIMES during testing

McLaren Speedtail during high-speed testing

A McLaren Speedtail development car has reached 250 mph more than 30 times during high-speed testing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.

Famously exuberant chief test driver Kenny Brack consistently reached the impressive maximum speed figure in Speedtail prototype ‘XP2’.

McLaren Speedtail during high-speed testing

The tests are part of a high-speed validation regime that has already carried out flat-out runs at Idiada in Spain and Papenburg in Germany.

McLaren Speedtail during high-speed testing

McLaren is making just 106 Speedtails, each boasting 1,070 horsepower – that’s enough to accelerate from 0-196mph in less than 13 seconds.

A 1.1-litre version of the Ford Fiesta, Britain’s best-selling car, takes 13.8 seconds to reach 62mph.

Each costs £2.1 million ($2.7 million). 

McLaren Speedtail during high-speed testing

“It’s fitting that the Speedtail’s high-speed test programme concluded with multiple maximum-speed runs at a location strongly associated with pushing the boundaries of extreme performance and engineering excellence,” said McLaren Automotive CEO, Mike Flewitt. 

“The Speedtail is a truly extraordinary car that epitomises McLaren’s pioneering spirit and perfectly illustrates our determination to continue to set new benchmarks for supercar and hypercar performance.”

McLaren Speedtail during high-speed testing

The Speedtail is McLaren’s tribute to the original McLaren F1 hypercar – like that icon, it even has a centrally-positioned driver’s seat within the three-seat cockpit.

The F1 factor is also why McLaren is only making 106 Speedtails: to match the number of F1s made. 

The Speedtail is a substantial 5.2 metres long (the same as a long-wheelbase Range Rover) and is described as the most aerodynamically efficient McLaren ever.

McLaren Speedtail during high-speed testing

The Speedtail is also a hybrid: it has a petrol-electric drivetrain that self-charges when the vehicle is driven – although McLaren will also give owners a wireless trickle-charge pad to keep the hybrid system in peak condition.

McLaren says production of the first Speedtail hypercars is already underway at its Woking production centre. Deliveries will begin in February 2020.

McLaren Speedtail 250mph tests – in pictures

Accidents from driving too SLOWLY are increasing

Slow driving causing more accidents

The Department for Transport (DfT) says the number of road deaths in the UK directly related to slow driving is on the up.

According to DfT figures, 26 people were seriously injured and two were killed in 2019, in incidents where slow driving was a contributing factor. And 132 more sustained less severe injuries in slow driving incidents.

Slow driving itself is rarely the direct cause of incidents or injuries. However, there are behaviours associated with it that are dangerous. Over-ambitious overtakes, undertaking on the motorway, tailbacks and road rage can all be directly related to slow driving. Those who incorrectly merge on motorways, coming to a stop on slip roads, for example, find themselves facing cars passing by at 70mph.

Motorway speed limit 80

Although punishments are normally associated with excessive speed, you can face a fine and points for driving too slowly. In the UK, the punishment is similar to low-level speeding: three points and a £100 fine. Whether a speed awareness course is an option for motorists caught driving too slowly is unclear.

Minimum speed limits are a rarity in the UK, though some high-risk areas do have them, where it’s important to avoid tailbacks. Some tunnels will have a minimum and maximum speed limit. Mersey Tunnel, for instance, has signs to tell drivers the minimum speed limit. The only difference is the number will have a red line through it.

Minimum speed limits are more common in certain parts of Europe.

Drivers mistakenly fined for speeding

“I’m not in the least bit surprised by these worrying statistics,” said Hugh Bladon, a founding member of the Alliance of British Drivers.

“I have advocated for a long time that driving too slowly causes frustration for other people and can cause them to attempt an overtaking manoeuvre, which is the most dangerous thing you can do on the roads.”

3D Printed Lamborghini Aventador Christmas Gift

Family 3D-printing a Lamborghini gets a REAL Aventador for Christmas

3D Printed Lamborghini Aventador Christmas Gift

Lamborghini has shocked a family in Erie, Colorado by presenting them with a new Aventador S supercar. 

The unexpected arrival of the Aventador was to acknowledge the dedication of Sterling Backus, who has spent the past two years working to 3D print his own Lamborghini.

Although the real Aventador will be spending only a few festive days with the family, it will at least serve as a reminder as to what Backus is working towards.

From the screen to the street

3D Printed Lamborghini Aventador Christmas Gift

The story began when Sterling’s 12-year-old son, Xander, was playing on the Forza Horizon 3 Xbox One racing game. Xander found himself consistently picking the Aventador to use in the game.

This prompted the simple question from Xander to his father of whether they could build their very own Lamborghini to use in real life. 

Working as a physicist, Sterling Backus decided it would be a cool project to attempt, and would also help promote science and technology subjects to kids. 

Armed with a $900 desktop 3D printer, Sterling then set to work designing and printing the various parts and panels needed to create a life-sized Lamborghini replica. 

3D Printed Lamborghini Aventador Christmas Gift

Some 24 months later the project is still ongoing, with Sterling having spent around $20,000 on parts and materials to create the replica. The chassis beneath the body panels is made from steel and, unlike the V-12 engine in the real Aventador, this one is powered by a Chevrolet V-8.

Backus has been keen to point out this is not a direct copy of the Aventador, and has modified each body panel slightly with his own design touches. This should avoid any accusations of copyright infringement or intellectual property theft. 

The commitment of Sterling Backus to the project, which has been documented on his special Facebook page, has been enough to win approval from Lamborghini.

Story of authentic passion

3D Printed Lamborghini Aventador Christmas Gift

Katia Bassi, Chief Marketing and Communication Officer of Automobili Lamborghini, commented that: “Lamborghini is against any attempt at counterfeiting. However, a true story of such authentic passion deserves to be featured, which is why we chose to tell of Sterling’s and Xander’s project in our 2019 Christmas video”. 

The video tells the story of how the project came to life, along with the reaction to Xander Backus finding a real Aventador S within the family’s garage. Driving the real Lamborghini more than likely going to inspire Sterling Backus to finish the project even faster. 

Chevy Suburban Hollywood

Chevrolet Suburban is the only car to get a Hollywood star

Chevy Suburban Hollywood

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is usually reserved for the most famous movie stars. But now a car is joining them. Congratulations are in order for the biggest movie car, the Chevrolet Suburban, which has received its own Award of Excellence star.

No, it’s not an Aston Martin riddled with bullet holes, or a time-travelling DeLorean. It’s not an ocean-dwelling Lotus, nor a ghost-busting wagon. It’s an all-American Chevy SUV.

Why? Well, the Suburban has had the most on-screen appearances of any motor vehicle, since its first iteration in 1952. Across television and film, Suburbans have been in front of the camera 1,750 times.

You can watch a bulletproof, gadget-laden Chevy fight off SWAT teams with Sam Jackson behind the wheel in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And in 2020, similar models will be appearing in Black Widow.

Chevy Suburban Hollywood

“For six decades the Chevrolet Suburban has been Hollywood’s longest-working actor,” said Rana Ghadban, president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

“Appearing in classic feature films and on must-see television shows, the Suburban is a well-established industry mainstay. With the Chevrolet Tahoe also making an impact in movies and on television, it’s impressive to have both vehicles now join an illustrious group of actors and characters that are forever known as Hollywood legends.”

The Suburban is the long-wheelbase sibling of the Tahoe. If you combine the film careers of these movie star brothers, they’ve had more than 2,500 on-screen appearances. The Tahoe has an average of one on-screen appearance every year since its introduction in 1995.

New Tahoe and Suburban: made for moviesChevy Suburban Hollywood

It’s claimed the new Chevrolet models, just revealed, have been designed with Hollywood in mind.

“The popularity of Suburban and Tahoe in film was first inspired by the real-life roles they played in the military, in law enforcement and family trips around the world,” said Tim Kozub, design manager for Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe.

“Today, their role in Hollywood inspired the design of the all-new models, as we integrated the sense of capability, action, and importance associated with Suburban and Tahoe on screen.”

DIY Daytona: Buy this classic Ferrari and build it yourself

Collecting Cars Ferrari Daytona GTB/4

Would you buy yourself a classic Ferrari if you had to assemble it yourself? If so, this could be the perfect opportunity to own an iconic Daytona. 

The car was once a gleaming 1971 365 GTB/4 Berlinetta (affectionately known as the ‘Daytona’), but it hasn’t been driven since 1974.

This UK-market car, collected from the Ferrari factory in May 1971 by its first owner, was taken to the Monaco Grand Prix along the Italian Riviera. That’s the Daytona-driving dream, right?

The DIY DaytonaCollecting Cars Ferrari Daytona GTB/4

The car was driven and serviced accordingly for the following three years, but the Daytona dream soon turned to a nightmare. The story goes that it left the road and tumbled down a slope, which damaged it. The chains used to recover it then damaged it even more.

Multiple custodians took it on over the next 45 years, wanting a project. One even relieved it of its roof to turn it into a GTS/4 Spider recreation, but never followed through.

It sat fallow for 30 years until 2006, when work finally got underway on a restoration. With some expert coachwork and painstaking parts-sourcing, its bodywork is probably in better condition than when it left Maranello. Yet there’s still work to be done.

Collecting Cars Ferrari Daytona GTB/4

It’s offered now as a partially finished project, with the original V12 engine and boxes of parts ready to go. Some of the parts to be supplied with the car are brand new.

The engine will need work, but its internals are apparently in good condition. Original, too, is the instrument cluster, with a believed-to-be-accurate 26,117 miles on the odometer. 

This is a DIY Daytona, with everything needed to build a complete car. We say ‘DIY’ in a light-hearted way. You’ll almost certainly want the help of a specialist to get it across the line. You’ll need to decide what colour to paint it, though. Once complete, it should be perfect for someone who wants to drive their Ferrari, rather than simply own a garage queen.

You’ll be able to bid in this Daytona, and its associated bits, on Collecting Cars in the new year.

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Is your Volvo dirty? There’s an app for that

Volvo car wash app

Volvo will be the first car manufacturer in Europe to offer an app-based mobile washing and valeting service. The app works with the Volvo On Call digital services platform.

Volvo Car Mobile Wash is available anywhere. Well, anywhere within the M25 at first. It’s designed ‘for complete convenience and a premium-quality finish’. You choose a level of care within the app, with prices opening at £22 for an exterior wash.

That base price is likely subject to the size of your car, mind. Sorry, XC90 and V90 owners… Volvo expects the most popular option to be the mini-valet, which is £39.

A wash and health check for your Volvo

Blockchain Volvo battery ethics

One thing you’re unlikely to get with any other wash facility is a health check for your car. Tyre pressures, tread depth, screenwash, coolant and bodywork assessments are included. 

You book a date and location via the app, and you can pick a time to suit your schedule. You don’t actually need to be with the car, either, given you can unlock it remotely via Volvo On Call digital services.

Volvo car wash app

“We have designed this new service to be hassle-free for our customers and to provide them the kind of premium-quality valeting their car deserves,” said Mike Johnstone, Volvo UK marketing strategy director.

“It is another example of how we can use the technology and peace-of-mind security of Volvo On Call to make life easier.”

Driving school to teach the importance of tyres

Get a Grip tyre campaign to get young drivers educated

Tired of hearing about how important tyres are? Tough, says a driving school, which is trying to get the message across early to new drivers.

It’s believed the majority of new drivers are under-educated when it comes to tyres. Of course, what puts many off being attentive to the quality and condition of their rubber is expense. However, a high quality tyre can actually reduce the cost of ownership, as well as make the car safer and reduce your environmental impact.

Get a Grip tyre campaign to get young drivers educated

Red driving school has partnered with Michelin and Kwik-Fit on its campaign to get tyre education across to drivers. Red says 68 percent of its customers buy a car within three months of passing their test. It wants to educate students more broadly on what to prioritise when maintaining their car. Tyres, it says, should be much further up the list of priorities.

It’s a well-trodden mantra, but tyres are the most important safety feature on your car. They’re key to the function of both the steering and brakes. 

Get a Grip tyre campaign to get young drivers educated

“Michelin and Kwik-Fit play vital roles in ensuring tyre safety in the UK, and we are thrilled to be partnering with both businesses to open up the conversation to the learner driver community,” said Ian McIntosh, CEO of Red Driving School.

“The partnership recognises our commitment to promoting the highest levels of road safety for all our customers. High-quality, well-fitted tyres are a vital part of staying safe on the road.”

Auf wiedersehen, Porsche: the last 991 is finally built

Last Porsche 991 has been built

Even though the current ‘992’ Porsche 911 has been with us for more than a year, the previous 991 remained in production, albeit only the very special versions. The final 991 to be made is a Speedster, a limited model that pays homage to Porsche’s 70-year heritage, and is based on the GT3.

This Speedster is the last of 233,540 991s produced since 2011. This represents just under a quarter of all the 911s ever produced. The one-millionth 911 was made during the 991’s tenure, too. Porsche challenged its fans to spec the milestone model.

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“Porsche stands for both tradition and innovation,” said Michael Steiner, chief research and development officer at Porsche.

“This is reflected nowhere more clearly than in the core of the brand – the 911. The 911 replaced the 356 in 1963 and, in the decades that followed, our rear-engine model grew into an unrivalled sports car icon.

“The 991 generation in particular has set new standards in terms of performance, drivability and efficiency. It fills me with pride, as well as a touch of sadness, to have to send it off into retirement. For myself, I can say that the 991 has given me enormous pleasure.”

Last Porsche 991 has been built

The 991had many challenges to overcome in its lifetime. Electric steering, a lack of manual gearboxes, fires, and the arrival of turbocharging, are perhaps some of the greatest obstacles the 911 has faced.

Somehow, they did it. Some variants of the 991 will go down in history with the 911 greats. It also birthed some of the fastest 911s ever made, including a fettled version of the GT2 RS that continues to hold the production car lap record around the Nurburgring.

Last Porsche 991 has been built

The 991 was well-represented in racing as well, with the outgoing RSR winning its class at Le Mans (in the famous ‘Pink Pig’ livery, and filling La Sarthe with a searing flat-six soundtrack on the way).

The 991, with the odds initially stacked against it, will be remembered fondly.

Tesla’s 1,000mph V3 Supercharger has arrived in London

Tesla V3 supercharger in London

Tesla has begun rolling out its super-fast V3 Superchargers in Europe, with the first appearing in London at the Park Royal service centre.

This also represents the 500th Supercharger station to open in Europe, following the network’s introduction in Norway in 2013.

Tesla V3 Supercharging: what it meansTesla V3 supercharger in London

V2 Superchargers already offer an impressive rate of charging for Tesla cars. Their maximum power output was recently upgraded from 120kW to 150kW. The V3 units move things on massively, offering a peak output of 250kW.

For context, pictured is a Tesla charging at a rate of 1,021 electric range miles per hour. It shows 20 minutes remaining on the charge to get to 100 percent from 18 percent.

An important aspect of V3 charging is that power isn’t split between you and another car sharing your stall. So you get that maximum output more of the time.

Tesla says V3 can provide 75 miles of charge in five minutes, at maximum capacity, to a Model 3 Long Range. Overall, the company reckons it will halve the amount of time drivers spend charging. Average charge time at V3 stalls should be around 15 minutes, or 225 miles, which is close to a full fill-up for some lower-end cars.

Charging this quickly might sound like it could damage the battery. Indeed, there are certain preparations the cars can make before being plugged in. ‘On-Route Battery Warmup’ is a feature that rolled out to Teslas when V3 Superchargers first appeared in March. Cars that are navigating to a Supercharger will ready their batteries to the correct temperature.

Tesla V3 supercharger in London

‘We are excited to continue to build the most extensive and advanced network in Europe whilst keeping the charging experience as affordable and convenient as possible for all our customers,’ said Tesla.

‘When we opened the first European station in Norway in 2013, driving across multiple countries in a fully electric car was inconceivable and seen as a unique accomplishment. With the Supercharger network, long distance EV travel has become the new normal. Every day, thousands of Tesla owners undertake a road trip through Europe and stop at Supercharger stations.’