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Fan-tastic: First look at Gordon Murray’s T.50 ‘ground effect’ hypercar

Gordon Murray T.50 supercar McLaren F1 successor

Gordon Murray’s T.50 hypercar has been partially revealed, with a rendered image and a declaration that Gordon Murray Automotive (GMA) is collaborating with an F1 team to work on aerodynamics.

The T.50 is set to be something of a greatest hits album for Murray’s automotive output. As we now see, it really does have a large fan out-back, much like the one on his famous Brabham F1 car.

Spanning 400mm, it will accelerate air out from the underside of the T.50 and suck it to the ground. In theory, like the Brabham, it could also handle some of the engine cooling.

 

Gordon Murray T.50 supercar McLaren F1 successor

This will all be refined in collaboration with the Racing Point F1 team. The plan is to create the ‘most advanced and most effective aerodynamics ever seen on a road car’.

GMA says it will have six distinct aerodynamic modes, which optimise the fan as well as the performance of other active devices and the underbody aero.

Gordon Murray T.50

Aside from that, the T.50 is set to take everything that makes Murray’s 1992 McLaren F1, considered by many as the greatest car of all time, to the next level. That means a high-revving (12,100rpm) 4.0-litre Cosworth-developed V12, a manual transmission, a central driving position and a class-leading weight of 980kg thanks to carbon construction.

The engine will benefit from ram-air effect, which means the faster the car goes, the more power it can generate. In combination with a 48-volt integrated starter-generator (possibly hybrid?) system, it’ll put out 700hp in ‘Vmax Mode’.

Given the F1 held a speed record at more than 240mph for a number of years, we like the sound of that.

‘The purest possible form’Gordon Murray T.50 supercar McLaren F1 successor

So what about the styling? If you look past the fan, it’s a refreshingly subtle thing. The silhouette and footprint is immediately reminiscent of the F1. As is the ram air duct up-top, flanking engine bay windows and a wraparound cockpit. That fan means there’s no need for jutting spoilers, ailerons and slashed bodywork, affording it a clean aesthetic.

There’s a whiff of Ferrari in the lights and exhaust placement, and that’s no bad thing. We like what we see so far. Yes, even the fan.

“We were highly focused on achieving the purest possible form for the T.50, an objective we’ve achieved through world-first engineering innovations and active underbody aerodynamics,” said Gordon Murray.

“We will reveal the completed design at the T.50 supercar’s global debut in May.”

Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 – how long must we wait?Gordon Murray T.50

Just 100 people will be lucky enough to take delivery of a T.50. Customer uptake is reportedly encouraging, even at an entry price of ‘in excess of £2 million’. The first deliveries are scheduled for January 2022 – just over two years from now. The car will be unveiled in full in May of next year, as physical aero testing begins.

“We’ve been taken aback by the enthusiastic reaction of buyers from across the globe,” Murray continued. “The first customer deliveries will take place in January 2022, on schedule, with every customer who has already been allocated their T.50 receiving their car that year.”

Driving in London at Christmas: how to avoid charges

Christmas congestion charge

We are well into the festive period now, to the point that you’re not even allowed to complain about Christmas music.

For shopping, social occasions and more, many will be driving into London over Christmas. If that means you, here’s what you need to know about charges and when to pay them.

Congestion Charge at ChristmasChristmas congestion charge

Be selective about your visits to London and you won’t need to pay the Congestion Charge. For starters, you never need to pay between 6pm and 7am. Weekends are also free, as are Bank Holidays.

Two of those Bank Holidays are Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The difference here is that these act as goal posts for a fallow period for the Congestion Charge. Driving into London from 6:01pm on Christmas Eve until 6:59am on January 2 is free of the charge.

It’s worth remembering that outside of this period, weekends fall on 21-22 December, and 4-5 January. So if you’re all tied up between Christmas and New Year, there’s still hope.

Congestion charge – what you’ll pay

If you need to pay, there are still ways you can save. Forward-planning can save you a couple of quid, useful for a winter-warming brew.

Signing up for Congestion Charge Auto Pay will mean you pay £10.50. If you pay in advance, or by midnight on the day of your visit, it’ll set you back £11.50. But if you wait until midnight the next day, the full £14 is payable. Motorbikes, mopeds and bicycles are exempt from the Congestion Charge.

Christmas congestion charge

Not paying the C-Charge when it is due will incur a fine of £160. If you pay within 14 days of the charge being issued, a 50 percent discount will be granted, for a fine of £80.

The ULEZ and Christmas

The Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) covers the same area as the Congestion Charge, until it expands in October 2021.

Unlike the C-Charge however, it doesn’t have off days. If your vehicle isn’t ULEZ exempt, you will need to pay, regardless of when you are in London.

Find out whether you’re liable to pay the ULEZ charge with our guide.

Doctors and priests among most dangerous drivers

Britain's most dangerous drivers

New car insurance data reveals which professions make for the most dangerous drivers on UK roads – and the safest, too. The analysis was based on 7.8 million enquiries to MoneySuperMarket over the past 12 months.

By counting up offences per 1,000 drivers in specific professions, the data established which drivers pose the most risk.

Concerningly, medical advisors came fifth, with 2.75 driving offences per 1,000 drivers. Perhaps more worryingly, depending on your faith, is that priests are fourth, with 2.76 driving offences per 1,000 people.

Britain's most dangerous drivers

Beginning the top three however, there’s a significant jump up to more than four offences per 1,000 drivers. Tyre technicians and car dealers score 4.05 and 4.06 respectively.

By far the most dangerous, however, are loaders – people who load and unload goods in places like warehouses. They have a dangerous driving rate of 7.21 offences per 1,000 drivers.

By the same metric, some of the safest drivers are lawyers, headteachers, demolition workers and veterinary surgeons. Also included in that list, perhaps surprisingly, are professional footballers. Along with the above, they typically have zero convictions for dangerous driving.

The lowest offence rate more generally is for those who are 65 or older, with 0.02 offences per 1,000 drivers. The highest, rising in a linear fashion as the age groups get younger, is 20-24 year-olds, with 0.49. Only beyond 40 years old does the rate dip below 0.1 offences. 

Britain's most dangerous drivers

“Our research goes to show that you can never make any assumptions about drivers and their behaviour,” said Emma Garland, data scientist at MoneySuperMarket.

“If you feel that your driving is putting yourself or others at risk, you should consider some refresher lessons to improve your driving skills and knowledge of the Highway Code. If you’ve got points on your licence you might find that you’re faced with higher than normal car insurance premiums. We’d recommend shopping around to try and find the best level of cover for your needs.

“Whatever your situation, it’s crucial you ensure you have the correct level of cover at all times.”

Ford Mustang Mach-E

Is blue Europe’s favourite new car colour?

Ford Mustang Mach-E

You heard it here first. Our man Richard Aucock returned from the LA Auto Show with a bold prediction that blue will be the colour to be seen in next year.

Grey might be the dominant automotive hue in 2019, but blue is likely to steal its crown in 2020.

In Europe, grey leads the way with a 22.1 percent market share, followed by white (21.8 percent) and grey (21 percent). It wouldn’t take a big shift for blue to grab the top spot.

Indeed, blue leads the way in a couple of segments. It’s the most popular colour for small cars (24.5 percent market share) and medium cars (28.6 percent).

Why are we so confident that blue will lead the way in 2020? Let’s consider the evidence, darling.

The website Who What Wear has included blue in its seven biggest colour trends of spring/summer 2020. Of faded denim, it says: ‘This blue shade is as reliable and dependable as your go-to pair of jeans. The approachable hue conveys comfort and ease and looks chic when paired with bold and vibrant colours’.

Lexus LC Convertible

Meanwhile, the paint industry says blue is set to be a ‘seasonal cornerstone, with the sea a main source of influence’.

In Los Angeles, Lexus unveiled the stunning LC 500 Convertible in Structural Blue, while Grabber Blue Metallic is one of three colours available on the Mustang Mach-E First Edition models.

Blue is a ‘safe haven’

Just don’t expect blue metallics to come cheap. Manufacturers will be quick to jump on any trends, charging extra for premium blue hues.

“Blue is a colour often associated with balance, it echoes parts of the natural world. At times of social and political unease, this colour space could feel like a safe haven. It is increasingly associated with mindfulness, environmental awareness and future mobility. Choosing blue is a way of showing optimism and openness, a desire for harmony.“ said Julie Francis, colour and material design supervisor at Ford of Europe

A14 Huntingdon bypass now open, but there’s already been a crash

A14 bypass open 2019

A 12-mile stretch of bypass south of Huntingdon into Cambridgeshire is now open, just in time for the Christmas rush. The new road runs between Ellington and Swavesey, and is a part of a 21-mile A14 upgrade between Cambridge and Huntingdon.

The road layout includes a number of new junctions along the 12-mile stretch. This includes New Ellington, access for which is now via junction 21. Junction 22 now goes to Brampton, 23 goes to Godmanchester and the A1198, 24 to Swavesey and 25 to Bar Hill.

All junctions from Girton, including the A1 junctions, keep their existing numbers.

While this section of the bypass is now open, work is ongoing in the area and there remains a 40mph narrow lane section from the Swavesey junction eastbound on the new bypass.

The old A14 is now closed between Godmanchester and the Spittals interchanges until 2022. This is to allow the construction of new link roads into Huntingdon. Locals should keep an eye out for overnight road closures linked with the project.

The rest of the works, the section between Swavesey and Milton, is continuing as planned, with completion anticipated by December 2020.

Police: follow signs, not your sat-navA14 bypass open 2019

Drivers are advised to keep an eye on signs and not follow their satellite navigation, which may not be up to date on the new layout. There has already been a crash on the new A1M link to the A14 bypass, less than 10 hours after it opened (5am, December 10). 

The incident occurred on a dual carriageway section between Ellington and the A1 at Brampton. BCH Road Policing tweeted “The first day on the new A1M/A14 and the first crash. Please follow the signs and not your sat-navs, and remember the road layout has changed”.

Numbers crunched: how a Mini is vastly cheaper now than 60 years ago

Minis more affordable now than in 1959

A Mini is more hugely affordable now than when the original car debuted in 1959. That’s despite a typical car being around 32 times more expensive today

Research by Mini shows that, if the cost of cars is compared to average UK household disposable income, drivers in 2019 are far better off. 

Minis more affordable now than in 1959

The original Mini’s £780 typical purchase cost was 307 percent of the average disposable income in 1959.The average disposable income of drivers in 1959 when adjusted for inflation is £5,474. Adjust the original Mini’s price for inflation, and you get £16,784.

By comparison, the average price of a modern Mini was around £18,139 in 2018. Yet the average household disposable income per-head is £20,504.

So the cost of the average Mini today is 88 percent of the average disposable income per-head in a household. Indeed, even if £10,000 was taken off that figure, we’d still be in a better position today than 60 years ago.

Minis more affordable now than in 1959

Around eight in 10 of all new private car registrations today are via finance, while a prospective buyer in 1959 would be looking at saving up every one of those 780 pounds.

Today, a four-figure deposit and a three-figure monthly payment will get you the keys to a Mini. Take a £2,000 deposit and £250 per-month as very generic figures: £2,000 is around nine percent of the total average cost of a modern Mini, while £250 is less than one 70th of the total price.

Adjust those amounts for the 1959 price, and you get a deposit of £70, plus monthly payments of £10.80.

Minis more affordable now than in 1959

“Over the past 60 years, how we buy and finance Minis has evolved just as much as the cars themselves,” said Phil Kerry, sales and marketing director at BMW Group Financial Services.

“Motorists now have more choice, and this will only increase over the next few decades.”

Toyota connects windscreen wipers to weather channel

Connected windscreen wipers

Your car’s windscreen wipers could soon be used to deliver more accurate weather forecasts.

Using data from connected cars, meteorologists could pinpoint localised weather conditions, helping to create a broader picture across the entire country.

This could be used to warn drivers of hazardous conditions and to enable weather-related speed restrictions to improve road safety.

In Japan, a project between Toyota and Weathernews involves the monitoring of windscreen wipers used in connected cars.

“It’s a brilliantly simple idea,” claims Toyota. Drivers activate their wipers in response to rain, and the speed of the wipe tends to correspond with the severity of the downpour.

A couple of cars using their wipers could be a case of screen washing. If numerous people activate their wipers, the reason is likely to be meteorological.

Toyota windscreen wiper

Toyota says standard rain cloud radar systems cannot always detect light showers, so its connected vehicles have the potential to identify weather that might otherwise go undetected.

Working in conjunction with the existing Weathernews observation network, which is spread across 13,000 locations, the connected wipers add another layer of information.

Used correctly, this data could reduce accidents and prepare drivers for deteriorating conditions. In Japan, there are four times as many motorway accidents in the rain as there are on sunny days.

The connected wipers can also communicate in other ways. Nearly all Toyota passenger cars launched since 2018 are equipped with an on-board data communication module.

Using Car2Car technology, cars can warn other cars about weather and hazardous driving conditions.

Say, for example, a number of cars detect ice on a bend. This information can be relayed to the cars approaching the corner, preparing the driver for danger.

Similarly, if a number of connected cars are queuing in traffic, the data can be used to divert other motorists away from the congestion.

Smart windscreen wipers won’t be able to improve the weather, but they might tell you when you need to pack an umbrella.

3D-printed RoboYogi

Jaguar Land Rover’s 3D-printed dog paw helps make cars hound-proof

3D-printed RoboYogi

Dog owners, rejoice: Jaguar Land Rover has developed a new piece of technology so its engineers can make its cars more durable and dog-proof.

A 3D-printed dog paw has been created, to replicate in the test lab a dog’s claws scratching the bumper and paint before and after walks.

Thanks to the robotic dog paw test, Land Rover is able to confirm the new Defender is able to resist more than a decade of use by dogs.

Yogi the Labrador

Yogi the Labrador, from the National Guide Dog Breeding Centre, was test dog for the project. Their paw was modelled and a 3D-printed, spring-loaded replica was created.

The engineers called this RoboYogi.

Cleverly, the use of springs meant the robo-claws can follow car design contours and evenly apply pressure across the bumper. Just like a real dog.

Yogi was then tasked with jumping in and out of the new Defender’s boot; engineers recorded their steps with pressure-mapping technology.

This data was used to correlate Yogi’s 3D-printed paw to their real one.

New Land Rover Defender

JLR’s new standard test involves 5,000 cycles of RoboYogi randomly scratching the panel 10 times, followed by a linear sideway scratch. Senior engineer Julie Nicholls admitted it’s a bespoke test that’s a little different to the norm.

“Creating globally renowned vehicles means applying a quality mindset at every stage of a product’s lifecycle to ensure we meet the needs of our customers’ lifestyles. In this case we were able to achieve it by getting a dog, printing a paw and using a robot.”

The paw was produced by the JLR Additive Manufacturing Centre, which now produces more than 80,000 parts a year, largely for prototyping and design mock-ups.

The division does actually also produce 3D-printed parts for production cars, with the extreme Jaguar XE SV Project 8 among the first to use parts from the centre.

Ducati Memorabilia: Own parts once used in MotoGP race bikes

You could own Ducati race bike parts

Ducati and Ducati Corse have launched a new project called Memorabilia. It gives enthusiasts the opportunity to buy and own genuine parts once used in Ducati’s MotoGP and SBK race machinery.

Crankshafts, camshafts, pistons, con-rods and more will be available for enthusiasts. Each part is personally certified by Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali and Gigi Dall’lgna, engineer and general manager at Ducati Corse.

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Each piece will also come with a technical description and information on who rode the bike it came from, and the season in which it was ridden.

All pieces will come mounted in a plexiglass display case, with a certificate of authenticity to accompany it. The base of each case will come with an inscription of what year and race the part was in service, and what bike it was from.

Exactly how far back the marque will be reaching for these memorabilia pieces is unknown. The parts are described as coming from bikes used in ‘recent’ years of MotoGP and SBK racing.

You could own Ducati race bike parts

Initially, you’ll only be able to buy these display pieces from the Ducati store in Bologna, Italy, or from Ducati dealerships.

From 2020, you’ll be able to order parts online too. Given that these are authentic race bike parts, needless to say, they are also limited in supply.

Expect the limited availability of these parts to also mean that they’ll cost a pretty tidy sum, too. Although for some devoted enthusiasts, there won’t be a price too high…

Electric car uptake ‘not enough in isolation’ to improve air quality

Electric cars not enough to improve air quality in isolation

New research from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has led to the conclusion that those who live in the most polluted urban environments could be losing seven months off their lifespan. Breathing the worst-polluted urban air is, according to BHF, equivalent to smoking 150 cigarettes a year. The situation is such that some don’t think that our transition to electric cars is going to be enough.

This, according to Mathew Hassell, founder and CEO of some of the UK’s largest transport management businesses, including Transport2, CoacHire.com and Kura.

“The news that the toxic air in our cities is now actively shortening our lifespan is worrying but hardly surprising,” Hassell said.  

Electric cars not enough to improve air quality in isolation

“Given that 33 percent of the toxic emissions we produce come from transport, it is here where a revolution is needed – and quickly.”

By revolution, Hassell is looking beyond each of us swapping in our petrol and diesel cars for EVs. The amount of cars overall is a problem, whatever they’re powered by, he says.

“While greater uptake of electric vehicles is seen as the solution by many, this isn’t enough in isolation. We must do more to get cars off the road, meaning that investment in areas such as Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and shared transport will be the more sustainable, viable solution to creating a greener future.”

He also highlights specific problem scenarios where pollution spikes, citing the school run. One in four cars on the road during rush hour are linked to the school run. Hassell thinks that investment in school transport would have a large impact. This to an end of getting cars off the road as above, and therefore lowering emissions markedly. The impact he says, could “rival or even exceed that of EVs”.

‘There is no safe level of air pollution‘Electric cars not enough to improve air quality in isolation

Prior to parliament being dissolved for the general election, the government introduced the Environment Bill. Among other things, it committed to emissions targets, though these weren’t as strict as those recommended by the World Health Organisation. 

The British Heart Foundation says that 11,000 coronary heart disease and stroke deaths can be attributed to air pollution every year. Jacob West, executive director of healthcare innovation at the BHF, calls air pollution a “major public health emergency” that has ”not been treated with the seriousness it deserves” and that “we will look back on this period of inaction with shame”.

Dr Mark Miller, contributing BHF researcher, said “there is no safe level of air pollution. The potential health benefits of realising these [Environment Bill] targets are enormous, allowing everyone to live healthier lives for longer”.