Friday December 2nd, 2011 15:34 The 5 Best Tracks to Drive in the UK

1. Brands Hatch Circuit, Fawkham, Longfield, Kent

Brands Hatch is one of the most charismatic circuits in the UK. In fact, Nigel Mansell scored his first Grand Prix victory there, also winning the final F1 race at Brands in 1986.

It’s a natural amphitheatre and boasts a 1.2 mile Indy configuration, offering fantastic views of all the action. Its Grand Prix circuit is still one of the biggest challenges in UK motor racing! Brands Hatch’s unique combination of dips, cambers, fearsome corners and hills means it is still one of the world’s favourite racing circuits.

Race notes:
A short lap which never gives you time to rest. A great circuit to drive!

  • Best overtaking opportunity: Clearway

 

2. Donington Park Circuit, Castle Donington, Derby

Those passionate about Formula One motorsport will best recall the European Grand Prix 1993, where Ayrton Senna’s first lap became one of the most famous in Grand Prix history, when he passed five cars to win the race. The torrential conditions set the scene for what many believe to be the finest display of skill in Formula One – ever!
Donnington is a circuit of two halves – a very technical series of sweeping bends, followed by a series of short straights, separated by slow corners.

Race notes:
Lovely smooth and flowing circuit. Craner Curves and the Old Hairpin are the best corners.

  • Best overtaking opportunity: Redgate

 

3. Rockingham Motor Speedway, Mitchell Road, Corby, Northamptonshire

Rockingham Motor Speedway is the UK’s first purpose-built banked oval circuit since Brooklands, officially opening in summer 2000. It’s also Europe’s fastest banked oval racing circuit, with the unbeaten lap record for the 1.5 mile oval set at 24.719 seconds by Tony Kanaan in his Ford/Lola Champ Car on 22nd September, 2001 – with an average speed of 215.397mph!

Rockingham offers multiple in-field circuit configurations, featuring hairpins, straights and chicanes with ample passing and run-off areas.

Race notes:
A unique track with some great overtaking places. The first lap is always exciting.

  • Best overtaking opportunity: Turn 1

 

4. Silverstone Circuit, Towcester, Northamptonshire

Silverstone is the most famous race circuit in the UK at present, holding prestigious races like the Formula 1 Grand Prix and The World Super Bike Championship.

Built on an old military airport in 1948, Silverstone was a high-speed track with long straights and quick curves. Over the years the track layout has undergone several changes but has retained most of its character. There are 4 layouts of the circuit at Silverstone, including a new ArenaGP Circuit, National, International and Stowe Circuit. Offering a combination of fast corners, long straights and some slow sections, Silverstone is a good challenge for any driver.

Race notes:
4 track layout. One of the fastest MotoGP circuits on the calendar!

  • Best overtaking opportunity: Stowe

 

5. Thruxton Motorsport Centre, Thruxton, Andover, Hampshire

The circuit, like most race circuits in the UK, was originally an old airfield used during the war.
Its race circuit is one of the fastest in the country with legendary high speed corners and reputation where circuit drivers can really test their skills. It lays claim to being one of the longest in the UK at 2.4 miles per lap. It’s also believed to be the fastest race track in the UK.

Race notes:
Massively fast place, like no other!

  • Best overtaking opportunity: Club Chicane

 

Contributed by Wish.co.uk – to find out more about their driving experience days click here

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Wednesday November 30th, 2011 12:26 5 Classic British Family Cars

British car manufacturing has been in the doldrums for many years. The major manufacturers have all been swallowed up by overseas companies, or have disappeared completely. Whilst there are still many manufacturing plants in the UK, most of the vehicles that emerge from them are designed elsewhere.

For many years however, Britain was the world’s foremost car manufacturer and many iconic designs were produced and exported around the world. This includes models such as the Jaguar E-Type, Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and the Aston Martin DB5. Just as commonplace though are some of the more practical family designs.

The Austin 7

This was one of the first classic British cars, with a design that was reproduced worldwide in various guises. Ultimately it was to change the direction of the industry by successfully introducing the smaller car design that became popular with the general public. Many different versions were produced, including Saloons, Cabriolets, Sports cars and even vans with nearly 300,000 vehicles in total between 1922 and 1939.

Morris Minor/Morris 1000

Over 1.3 million Morris Minors were produced between 1948 and 1971, and this was the first British car to break the 1 million sales mark. It had been designed by Alec Issigonis, who later designed the Mini, to be an affordable car for the working classes and it was undoubtedly one of the main catalysts of the post-war motoring boom.
Today, the Minor is well remembered with a thriving community of clubs and groups dedicated to restoring and remembering these family classics. In fact, the Minor lives on, with production continuing in Sri Lanka.

Mini

The Mini is perhaps the most iconic of all British cars and one of the most influential cars ever designed. First made in 1959, production continued until 2000 during which time it became a movie icon, a rally star as well as being one of the most popular cars ever made.
The revolutionary design for the time made it possible to create a very small car that still had room for four passengers, and was a direct response to the fuel rationing that had come about after the Suez Crisis. That it had such longevity is testament to Alec Issigonis, the head designer, and his team.

Ford Cortina

Another classic family car that also saw success in motorsport, the Ford Cortina was introduced in 1962 to replace the Ford Consul Classic. The racing and rally versions, built in conjunction with Lotus, were very successful, winning championships in touring cars and a number of rally victories in the late 1960s.

During the 1970s, it became one of the bestselling British cars right up until it was replaced by the Ford Sierra in 1982.

Rover P6

The Rover P6, introduced in 1963, was voted the first ever European Car of the Year in 1964 and also won awards for its safety features. Imagine that, a British car lauded as Europe’s finest! More than 300,000 vehicles were made before production ceased in 1977, Rover having introduced the SD1 as a replacement.

Mark Chalcraft is a writer with an interest in all things motoring. He is writing on behalf of 4Wheelz, who provide driving lessons in Birmingham for learners who aspire to one day own a classic British family car. Or possibly a Ferrari.

In: Family cars, GeneralNo Comments

Monday November 28th, 2011 12:27 New Concept Cars

We realize the future of the automobile will be greener, however, what happens to drivers who love rev-matched downshifts and the coordinated shriek of pistons, valves and cams? Who knows what the future of car performance is, nonetheless, a survey within the automobile industry has come up with some great new automobile concepts. Automobile manufactures use auto-show concept cars that are usually one-of-a-kind prototypes. Just think of your typical haute-couture fashion show, with outlandishly designed outfits to capture the audience’s unswerving attention.

These automobile prototypes are built by hand in order to encapsulate the thoughts of the press and public with eccentric automobile models of what is in store for the future. Some designs seem practical, and others are pure fantasy, not even the Jetson’s era would fathom. Nonetheless, some of the bigwig automakers are pursuing concept cars that may turn out to really be worth something. Some of the automobile concepts are vaguely camouflaged as future possibilities and other present ideas from a technological standpoint that CEOs want to road-test with the press and the public.

Let’s take a look at some of the future concept automobile models:

Maserati Kubang

Maserati Kubang:
Even though the Kubang will be assembled in the same plant as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the chief bits will be created specifically for Maserati’s new SUV. Included is a new production of Maserati engines, created by Paolo Martinelli. The new engines will be secured to an eight-speed mechanized transmission along with Modena-engineered functioning brakes, suspension and navigation.

Toyota FT-CH

Toyota FT-CH:
The Toyota’s concentrated efforts with the FT-CH concept indicate that they want to increase its utilization of gas-electric hybrid technology to a wider group of vehicles. The company hinted that it plans to introduce eight new hybrid modes in the coming years, and plans to sell one million hybrids per year.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Mazda MX-5 Miata:
Kijima’s future point-of-view is to take the MX-5 back to the essentials. The planning for the new concept of the Mazda MX-5 Miata began a few years ago, with the company’s goal to decrease fuel consumption by 30% and lessen the weight by 8%. The new MX-5 will be suited with a 1.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine producing approximately 125 Hp with mileage upwards of 50mpg, including a six-speed manual transmission. During the meantime, the American model will still utilize the 2.0 liter engine.

Ford Mustang 2015

2015 Ford Mustang:
The 2015 Ford Mustang suspension will be comparable to the Australian Ford Falcon. Computer managed torque vectoring could be part of the equation for future handling enhancement. The engine is geared to generate 247 horsepower from 2.0 liters.

GMC Granite

GMC Granite:
The GMC Granite is a small concept automobile with a 1.4 liter engine and a six speed transmission. The idea is more in the lines of a square type four-cylinder urban mini-wagon.

BMW M5

BMW M-5:
The BMW M-5 is known for its powerful engine. The future model will have the same 4.4 liter twin turbo V-8 that generates 555 horsepower and 500 pound feet torque. The 2012 model will utilize an automatic start-up utility together with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission as well.

Jaguar 2012

Jaguar C-X16:
To lighten the weight of the Jaguar C-X16 copious sums of aluminum is utilized including all the body panels. Most of the power comes from a highly-charged, straight-injected, complete aluminum 3.0 liter V-6 recognized 375 Hp and 332 ft. lbs. of torque. The C-X16 includes a push-to-pass function that is activated by a steering wheel installed feature. This feature utilizes an electric motor to go with the gas engine with over nine-seconds of added enhancement. Jaguar states that the C-X16 needs only 4.4 seconds to go from 0-60 mph; the highest speed is 186 mph.

Jarod Matthews is a writer providing information about Car Tax Bands and advice on obtaining a vehicle tax band for your car.

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Wednesday November 23rd, 2011 17:32 The World’s Top Cars for Toughness and Reliability

When most people buy a new car, they’re looking for something that looks cool, is in their price range, and will suit their needs – you won’t see a family buying a two-seater, for example. However, there’s one selling point that’s becoming increasingly important these days, and that is reliability.

With winters getting harsher, and incomes getting smaller, tough, reliable cars are becoming preferable to sportier models. How does your car stack up compared to the toughest cars ever built? The following cars have all scored highly on reliability tests, and have had a minimum of warranty issues over the last ten years:

Toyota

The Toyota RAV4 is a four wheel drive that’s fun to drive. If you’re looking for something sporty but hard-wearing then this is a great choice. It’s expensive to find one second hand, but worth the money.
If you can’t find the RAV4, then look for other Toyotas – several of their cars scored highly.

Honda

The Honda CR-V is a flexible, easy to drive, 4×4 that doesn’t eat up the entire road. It’s easier to find a low cost used Honda CR-V than its Toyota counterpart, and it’s a perfect suburban car. Honda is another brand that generally scored well.

Land Rover

The Land Rover Defender is in a class of its own. It’s a tough, iconic vehicle that most definitely means business. Land Rover service fees will add to the total cost of ownership, but if you want something that you could take on safari, then this is definitely the vehicle for you. The 400 and the 75 models also made it on the reliability list.

Volvo

The Volvo XC90 has definitely proved itself as a serious, heavyweight vehicle. It looks great inside and out, is smooth and powerful, and performs well on all kinds of services. As an added bonus, it’s not an expensive car to pick up second hand, and Volvo service costsare good value considering the kind of performance you’re getting for your money. The S/V40 also scored well.

Nissan

This may come as surprise, but the Nissan Micra does well on the reliability stakes. You couldn’t take it up mountains and across bumpy fields, but for day to day driving it’s a tough, roomy, and reliable car that’s easy to drive and cheap to own.

Nissan Micra

All of the vehicles listed above are relatively new ones, simply because they’re the ones that statistics are available for. That’s not to say that older vehicles are any more or less reliable. If you’re looking for a cheap, hardwearing car that will serve you and your family well for many journeys to come, then don’t dismiss an older model just because of its age.

There are many old models that have good reputations, and that are perfect for someone with a little know-how when it comes to maintaining a vehicle. However, if you’re the type that just wants to buy and drive, a newer vehicle that is still under warranty is a much better choice.

This article was written by Amy Fowler on behalf of Main Dealer Discount who offer access to discounted servicing for most makes and models of vehicle.

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Thursday November 17th, 2011 11:42 How to jump you car and ‘get some air’!

Here’s some tips on how to jump your car and get all four wheels off the ground. You’ll be gliding through the air in no time, if you manage to find the right jump for it!

Jumping red mini

1. Find the perfect road

First off don’t try this on the road. You’ll have to find a private road or track to try this on.

Milbrook Proving Ground is famous for having a large hill in its track which if hit right is perfect. If you’ve seen Casino Royale, then the bit where Bond’s Aston Martin rolls was filmed there. Chalmondy Pageant of Power’s hill run also has a nice bump (pictured above).

You’ll want a long stretch of long and wide road after the bump, so that if you lose control you’ll have plenty of room to come to a safe stop.

Green jumping car

2. Choose the right car

Go for the wrong car and you could cause some serious damage. Cars with a really low front splitter, like a Ferrari 458 or even a new Audi A1, could have their whole front bumpers ripped off if the angle of landing is too steep.

Ideally you want a car with suitable suspension, such as a rally car. That way the shock of landing will be absorbed fully.

3. Get your speed right

Hitting the bump at the right speed is imperative for doing a clean jump. Too slow and you won’t get it off the ground, too fast and you’ll go far too high and risk crashing.

White Bentley jumping

4. Don’t expect huge ‘air’

Without a properly built ramp or jump then it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to get more than a few inches off the ground. Don’t think it’ll be just like it is in the movies, it’s probably best for your car that it’s no higher anyway!

This was a guest post from James Hind, editor of carbuzz.co.uk, a revolutionary site that helps you choose which new car to buy.

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Wednesday November 16th, 2011 23:11 BMA Calls for Smoking Ban to be Extended to Private Vehicles

The British Medical Association (BMA) has called on the UK government to extend the current ban on smoking in public places to private vehicles.

After an extensive period of research, the BMA believe that there is compelling evidence that shows just how exposed non-smokers are to the effects of second-hand smoke in vehicles. According to the BMA’s review, the restrictive and enclosed environment of motor vehicles leaves drivers and passengers exposed to 23 times more toxins than you would get in one of those smoky bars we used to frequently frequent.

Of those at risk, it is unsurprisingly children who are most at risk. This is because they absorb more pollutants than adults. A child’s immune system, in comparison to an adult’s, is also under developed, and this means that they lack the necessary defences to combat the effects of second-hand smoke.

The BMA’s Director of Professional Activities, Dr Vivienne Nathanson, said: “The UK made a huge step forward in the fight against tobacco by banning smoking in all enclosed public places but more can still be done.” She continued: “We are calling on UK governments to take the bold and courageous step of banning smoking in private vehicles. The evidence for extending the smoke-free legislation is compelling. The current UK Government prefers voluntary measures or ‘nudging’ to bring about public health change but this stance has been shown to fail time and time again.”

Unsurprisingly, since the BMA’s call there has been some push back from those opposed to extending the current parameters of the smoking ban.

Simon Clark, the director of the Forest, a smokers’ pro-choice lobbying group, said: “Legislation is a gross over-reaction. What next, a ban on smoking in the home?”

While there are undoubtedly health benefits from extending the ban to cover motor vehicles, you would have to think that it would be an incredibly tough ban to enforce. Should smoking in private vehicles be banned? What do you think?

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Tuesday November 15th, 2011 12:49 Car Insurance Tips for Geeks

Geeky girl

Auto insurance is something you must understand before you can effectively cover your insurance needs. Most people can satisfy their needs with a basic full coverage auto insurance policy that has liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage. Car rental, emergency road service and uninsured motorist are worth considering depending on individual circumstances.

  1. Liability Insurance covers the other vehicle and passengers if you have an at fault accident.
  2. Collision covers your vehicle and passengers if you have an at fault accident.
  3. Comprehensive covers your vehicle against most other types of incidents including damage caused by hit and run, weather related damage and theft.
  4. Car rental pays for you a rental car while yours is out of commission because of a claimable accident.
  5. Emergency road service pays for car repairs made on the roadside or for tow charges to the nearest garage or dealer.
  6. Uninsured motorist covers your vehicle and passenger if an uninsured driver causes an accident.

In most cases, the law requires liability insurance coverage and if a financial institution has an outstanding loan on the vehicle, they usually require full coverage. Insurance companies collect statistical data on a daily basis. These statistics are contributing factors to the premium you will pay. This information consists of data that tells the insurance company what areas of the country have the most claims and those that have the largest number of serious accidents.

Geek woman

Data shows the age group and sex that have a higher number of accidents and the areas with the highest number of weather related claims as well as much more collected data. You have no control over these premium-setting circumstances. There are circumstances directly related to the amount of premium you pay that you do have some control over. The following tips will help you get the best discounted insurance rates possible.

  1. Multi-vehicle discount- Insuring all your vehicles with the same company will discount the premium.
  2. Multi-insurance discount- Purchasing all your insurance needs from the same company nets a discount.
  3. Deductibles- The higher the deductibles are the cheaper auto insurance rates will be.
  4. Driving record- The best discount given is for a good driving record with no tickets or chargeable claims.
  5. Vehicle type- Some vehicles are more costly to insure than others because of theft, involvement in accidents, safety features and other factors.
  6. Credit history- Good credit indicates a responsible driver and results in better rates.
  7. Miles driven- The more miles you drive the higher insurance rates will be.
  8. Driver training- Any safety drivers course will result in a discount.
  9. Memberships- Ask about membership in organizations because many will provide a discount for you.

When you understand auto insurance terms and what they mean it is easier to calculate your needs. You can buy insurance direct, through an agent or a broker. Direct is cheaper, but you eliminate the expert that can help with questions and claims at any time. Most people find that having an agent or broker at their disposal is worth the cost. Go online to an insurance comparison site and find companies that fit your needs at an affordable price. Research any company you are interested in doing business with to make sure they are solvent and pay claims fairly and quickly.

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Sunday October 23rd, 2011 13:04 Electric Vehicle Sales Still Struggling in UK and Europe

 
Sales of electric cars in the UK are still struggling, according to new data released by the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

Last month, data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) suggested that sales of electric cars in the UK were significantly poorer than had been both hoped and anticipated, and it seems that there has been little improvement since then.

The Office of Low Emission Vehicles’ data reveals that only 308 models were bought using the government’s grant scheme in the third quarter of the year.

The government’s grant scheme offers buyers of low emission vehicles a grant of £5,000, but the quarterly statistics have shown a distinct reluctance on the part of UK car consumers to switch towards green cars. In the first quarter of the year, only 465 were registered. Things were even worse in the second quarter, with only 215 EVs registered.

The electric car grant scheme has a total fund of £43 million – a figure large enough to cover 8,600 EVs – but at this slow rate it will take years to reach that full amount. At the moment, under £4 million of this grant money has been spent.

At a time when the UK’s economy is struggling, you would think that a £5,000 grant would act as a great incentive for UK drivers, but clearly more work has to be done to encourage people to switch to low emission vehicles.

The move towards universal electric car chargers is the type of thing that will hopefully assure drivers that switching to an electric vehicle will not prove to be more hassle than it’s worth.

It’s not just in the UK that electric vehicle sales are struggling. Belgians get a subsidy of just under €11,000 euros, yet only 85 electric vehicles were purchased there in the first half of 2011. In Norway, where a grant of €17,524 is offered, only 850 EVs were purchased over the same period.

Hopefully the fourth quarter will show an improvement in green car sales, but with so much economic uncertainty, people need to be made much more aware of these grants and subsidies.

, , , , , In: Car news, General, Green CarsNo Comments

Friday October 14th, 2011 11:25 Survival Guide to Successfully Shipping Your Beloved Car!

Whether you’re moving to the other side of the country or abroad. Sometimes you would prefer not having to drive your car all the way to your destination, in cases such as these its wise to use a car transporter. In this article we will discuss the major factors that should be considered when trying to ship a car.

Patience: The most important factor for people to understand about the process of car shipping is that this industry is not like the postal service. Pick-up and delivery dates are estimates at best. Problems such as breakdowns, traffic, and weather all contribute to delays. A lot of patience and forward planning is required.

Finding the right Transporter: Always do your research before committing to car shipping firm. Websites such as uShip allow you to view prospective transporters feedback and reputation, so you can ensure the transporter you pick is safe and highly recommended.

Car Shipping Method: Open or Closed: 
Open trailers are either partially or fully exposed to the elements. There are many different types of open trailers, ranging from small three car carriers to the large 11 car carriers that you frequently see on the motorway. Closed trailers are protected from the elements, and your vehicle is basically shipped in a mobile garage, however, this is more expensive.

Check to see if you are properly insured: 
Your car should be insured against all the usual things by the car transporter. Everything relating to the car shipment should be in writing. It is likely that your personal car insurance policy may cover your vehicle in transit.

Before Pick-up

Steps to prepare your Car for Shipping
: Wash your car thoroughly even if will be shipped on an open trailer. You want to be able to note any chips, dings, nicks or other cosmetic damage accurately.

Don’t top off your gas tank, keep it low, in between 1/8th to 1/4th of a tank as this saves quite a bit of weight which the auto transporters appreciate.

Always transport convertibles with the top up and secured.

Make sure the battery is charged, that the tires have proper inflation and top off all of the fluids on the vehicle.

Do a Thorough Vehicle Inspection: Note its condition in order to ensure any claims of vehicle damage are accurate and can be ensured, make a complete report of any pre-existing damage your vehicle may have. You may want to go as far as taking pictures (and dating them) of the vehicle prior to shipping it.

Vehicle Pick-up

Meeting The Truck: Be On Time
Make sure you are on time to meet the driver and that your meeting spot is set well in advanced and easy to get to.

Releasing Your Car: Do the Paperwork Be sure to receive an original inspection report. This report provides pick-up and delivery information, the car’s current mileage, and most importantly documents the condition of your car at time of pick-up – pre-existing scratches and dents, cracked glass/mirrors, general paint condition, etc. Keep this report and use it when you receive your vehicle.

Vehicle Delivery

Be On Time: 
Make sure you are on time to meet the driver and that your meeting spot is clearly defined and easy to get to for both parties. Remember the size and maneuvering restrictions of the truck.

Accepting The Car: What to Look For On Delivery
When your car arrives, make sure that you do a complete inspection of the vehicle with a copy of the original inspection report in hand. Look for any damage that was not noted in the original report.

These are just a few tips to remember that helped me when I had my car shipped, and I hope they can help you.

Amar Patel

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Thursday October 13th, 2011 11:12 Compare New Cars When Looking To Purchase

The most worrying experiences for people in this day and age usually involve cash. Financial security is something that many people are concerned about and one of the most daunting procedures for those of you worried about money is buying a new car. Over at Oneswoop.com you can carry out comparisons to be sure to find the best value deal at the lowest price possible.

When you decide to buy a new car you should be confident and certain of what you want. More importantly you should know that you’re getting it at the price that suits you! That’s why you should utilize the services provided by Oneswoop.com and make sure that you compare new cars by price.

Before purchasing a car it’s important to also request quotes as this will help you make your final decision, safe in the knowledge that you’ve got a brilliant deal. Doing this is really simple and only requires a few mouse clicks and keystrokes, you’ll have an amazing quote in no time at all.

You can even arrange a test drive in a new car, a very popular option. There’s no fuss or hassle, just another straightforward form for you to fill in online and then you can be driving around in your dream car, straight from a local dealership. This is a great way to assess what cars you’re interested in after comparing new car prices and getting quotes.

Take a look at all the available deals and browse around the site, make sure to take in all of the information that is listed so that you can find the best deals. Make sure to thoroughly compare prices and find the ideal car for you, at the perfect price!

Information provided by www.oneswoop.com – the free car price comparison website that brings you the very best new car prices.

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