I will try my best to provide detailed info on various cars and what is like to live with them, I have already produced a few for Jaguar-car-forums, I will do my best to be unbiased, but it will be hard for some cars. I will re-produce press releases and copy from other motoring news.

Friday, 24 July 2015

McLaren previews this weekend's F1 race at the Hungaroring in Hungary.

Grand Prix Preview Hungary 2015
Facts & Stats: Hungaroring
The Circuit
After the fast sweeps of Silverstone, Formula 1 heads to the slowest permanent circuit on the calendar next weekend. The Hungaroring is tortuously twisting and narrow, and has few fast corners. To be competitive, a car needs to have aerodynamic stability and good traction.

The Hungaroring was the first circuit in the world to be built specifically for F1. It was completed in just nine months ahead of its first grand prix in August 1986 and it’s been a permanent fixture ever since. Only six tracks on this year’s schedule have staged more grands prix than this 4.381km/2.722-mile track.

With an average speed of just 190km/h (118mph), the Hungaroring rewards low-speed traction. However, grip levels are poor early in the weekend because the asphalt is usually very dusty and slippery. This makes life very difficult for the drivers during Friday’s practice sessions, until some rubber has been laid down on the racing line.

As you’d expect on a track where overtaking is difficult, the start of the race is crucial. It’s advantageous to line up on the clean side of the grid, and the run to the first corner is 610 metres – the fourth longest of the year – so there’s a lot of jostling for position on the approach to Turn One.

The combination of old and abrasive asphalt, and high track temperatures, provides a hostile working environment for the tyres. For this reason, Pirelli are taking their Soft (Option) and Medium (Prime) tyre compounds to the race. It’s the first time this combination has been used since the Bahrain Grand Prix in April.

McLaren is the most successful constructor at the Hungaroring. The team has won there 11 times, which is more than one-third of the races staged at the track. It was also in Hungary that the team’s 2015 race drivers scored their maiden F1 wins, Fernando Alonso in 2003 and Jenson Button in 2006.
Vital Statistics
Hungarian Grand Prix
24th - 26th July
Race distance 70 laps (full world championship points awarded after 75% distance/53 laps)
Start time 1400 (local) / 1200 (GMT)
Circuit length 4.381km/2.722 miles
2014 winner Daniel Ricciardo
2014 pole Nico Rosberg 1m22.715s (190.674km/h)
2014 Fastest lap Nico Rosberg 1m25.724s (183.981km/h)
First race 1986
Don't put the kettle on... The Hungaroring has a short pitlane; it takes only 16s to complete a pitstop and that opens up a lot of strategy options. For the last two years the race has been won with three pitstops, so stay tuned on laps 9-12; 30-33 and 50-55.
Full throttle 55 per cent
Fuel consumption 2.1kg per lap, which is high
Brakewear Medium. There’s a significant braking event into Turn 1, where deceleration exceeds 5g, but only 14 percent of the lap is spent on the brakes
Weather Usually, it’s very warm at this time of year – 25-30 degrees. It’s unusual to see rain, but that’s what happened last year (and in 2011 and ’06).
DRS zones Two – on the approach to Turn One and, again, on the approach to Turn Two
Top speed 305km/h on the approach to Turn One
Safety Car likelihood Low. There were two Safety Car periods last year, but, statistically, there’s still only a 10 per cent chance of a Safety Car
McLaren at the Hungarian Grand Prix
Wins 11 (1988, 1991, 1992, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012)
Poles 8 (1988, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012)
Fastest laps 5 (1988, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005)
Team Talk
#14 Fernando Alonso
Age 33 (July 29 1981)
GPs 242
Wins 32
Poles 22
FLs 21
Fernando Alonso
It’s funny to think that both Jenson and I won our first grand prix in Hungary. That, of course, makes it a special place for me, and a venue that’ll always hold good memories for me. I really like this place; it’s a track that you really have to attack to get a good laptime, and, although it’s often thought of as a slow circuit, the sweeps around the back of the circuit are all really satisfying, and require a lot of commitment. 

The left-hander at Turn Six, in particular, is a really great corner – approached blind over a crest, and really hard to nail perfectly.

“I think the team is looking forward to this race: the track will offer us a reasonable opportunity to showcase our steady progress, and I’d like to think that, if everything runs smoothly, we could have a less difficult weekend.”
#22 Jenson Button
Age 35 (January 19 1980)
GPs 274
Wins 15
Poles 8
FLs 8
Jenson Button
“It’s going to be a nice feeling to return to the Hungaroring with Honda power behind me, having last won a race for Honda at this very track back in 2006. Obviously, I have a place in my heart for this place – any driver’s first grand prix victory is a special event – but, that aside, it’s a place I’ve always enjoyed.

“Although my race at Silverstone was extremely disappointing, Fernando’s points finish was well deserved. There’s been absolutely no let-up on the technical side – having personally seen the effort that’s been going on at MTC, and heard about the work that’s being done at Sakura, I know we’re slowly but surely getting there.

“Of course, that’s difficult to substantiate without decent results, but let’s hope we can go into the summer break feeling confident about the second half of the season.”
Eric Boullier
Racing director, McLaren-Honda

“Last weekend’s sad news about Jules Bianchi means that the grand prix circus heads to Budapest with heavy hearts. We’ll all remember his life in our own personal way, but Formula 1 will come together on Sunday to silently and respectfully mark his passing. 

“The weekend’s news has firmly put things into perspective, but we head to Hungary keen to shake off the poor luck we’ve encountered in recent races.

“It’s been a source of great frustration to see new components and upgrades destroyed before they’ve had the chance to be race-proven, through a series of first-lap accidents. However, the unshakeable belief and optimism of Fernando and Jenson has set the example for the whole team: they are remarkable assets, and their commitment during these times is incredibly valuable.

“Honda, too, has shown a commitment that remains admirably undiminished. Together, we are showing the fighting spirit and resilience that will see us continue to improve our performance and reliability as we move back to the front.

“I hope that our performance in Hungary will scratch the surface on the performance and potential that lies within our organisation – it would be great to go into the break feeling re-energised about the races ahead.”
Yasuhisa Arai
Chief officer of motorsport, Honda R&D Co Ltd

“The Hungaroring is a twisty track that’s mostly made up of continuous slow- to mid-speed corners and various elevation changes that makes it very difficult to overtake. Each corner is technical and tight, but there is a certain flow to it that makes it different from a stop-and-go circuit.

“Due to its lack of long straights and full-throttle sectors, this track is less strenuous for the power unit compared to most circuits. However, the frequent undulation requires more precise energy management and deployment at lower gears and corner exits. Getting our energy management settings right will be crucial throughout the weekend.

“Our goal is to end the first half of the season with precise energy management and full use of the ERS to enable the drivers' skills to shine through at this circuit.

Prices and Specification announced for the new, latest generation, Volkswagen California

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has announced pricing for the latest generation California, ahead of UK dealers starting to take orders for the new campervan from 3 August and first deliveries before the end of the year. Prices start at £37,657 (RRP OTR inc VAT) for the Beach model. Continuing a campervan tradition which spans more than 60 years, the Volkswagen California is the only vehicle in its class to be designed, engineered and built in-house.

The new California is available in two trim levels – Beach and Ocean – and with a choice of three 2.0-litre engines ranging in power from 102 to 204 PS. All are EU6 compliant and feature BlueMotion Technology modifications to give fuel consumption and emissions figures which have been lowered by up to 15 per cent. A 4MOTION four-wheel drive version is also offered in conjunction with the 150 PS or range-topping 204 PS powerplant.
Entry to the California range starts with the Beach model which offers up to seven seats and sleeping space for four. The bench-seat easily folds to convert to a two-berth bed across the width of the vehicle, while a manual pop-up roof gives access to a further double bed. 
A fold-out table and chairs are cleverly stored in the sliding door and tailgate, while an integrated awning makes for a comfortable and practical camping experience. The Beach is available with a 2.0-litre 102 PS TDI engine with a five-speed manual gearbox, and a 2.0-litre TDI 150 PS with a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG transmission.
The California Ocean replaces the SE model from the previous generation, with prices starting from £47,840 (RRP OTR inc VAT). Customers can choose from two engines with either 150 or 204 PS and six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG gearboxes. 4MOTION four-wheel drive variants mean the ultimate ‘home from home’ can go further and wider afield. The Ocean also adds an electro-hydraulic pop-up roof with lighting, plus a kitchenette with two rings, a fridge and sink.
The new generation California adds a host of safety, comfort and convenience features. These include a Driver Alert System, Brake Assist and an Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, as well as the option to add innovations such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Front Assist and City Emergency Braking for safer and more relaxed cruising. 
In the cabin the California gains a new ‘premium’ dashboard (optional on Beach) with wide centre console and car-like feel, plus the latest infotainment system, DAB digital radio, Bluetooth and new multi-function display. A new cupholder as well as new fabrics, leathers and plastics enhance the ambience inside.

The Aston Martin Vulcan to be demonstrated at the 24 Hours at Spa this weekend, with two flying laps.

The highly-anticipated Aston Martin Vulcan will attend the showpiece of the Blancpain Endurance Series, the TOTAL 24 Hours of Spa, this weekend (25 July) and will demonstrate its abilities as the ultimate track-only machine as it completes two flying laps of the world-famous circuit.
With its 800-plus bhp powertrain developed in conjunction with Aston Martin Racing, the 7.0-litre V12 Aston Martin Vulcan will be driven by works driver Darren Turner (GB), who has been involved in the design and development of the car from its inception. Turner has more than 20 years experience in developing racing cars and relished the opportunity to put this track-knowledge into Aston Martin’s most extreme sportscar.

“It’s been amazing to have been involved in this project from the beginning,” said Turner. “From the conceptual sketches through to working with the designers on driver ergonomics, it is a fascinating process to be part of.
“It was very early days for the car when we first ran it at Goodwood Festival of Speed, but we certainly made a good impression and now we get to show the car in its most natural environment. I’m looking forward to our laps prior to the race and then being able to watch one of the best 24-hour events on the calendar.”
In the 24 Hours of Spa, two of the top Aston Martin Racing customer teams will contest the PRO-AM class with their V12 Vantage GT3s.
Leonard Motorsport AMR will field Stefan Mücke (DE), Stuart Leonard (GB), Michael Meadows (GB) and Tom Onslow-Cole (GB) and Oman Racing by Motorbase will race with its regular Blancpain Endurance Series line-up of Jonny Adam (GB), Ahmad Al Harthy (OM) and Dan Lloyd (GB), as well as welcoming Aston Martin Evolution Academy driver Jonathan Venter (AU) to the team.
“At Leonard Motorsport we have a very strong driver line-up and a good chance of a podium in the PRO-AM class,” commented Mücke. “I’ve had pole with the V12 Vantage GT3 here a couple of years ago and I’ll be aiming for the same again this year to give us the best chance of staying out of trouble at the start - in this event we are wheel-to-wheel racing from start to finish.”
Also returning to the 24 Hours of Spa is Scotsman Adam, who took British GT Championship victory at Spa just a fortnight ago in the Beechdean AMR V12 Vantage GT3. “Although I’ve had pole positions and wins at Spa previously, I’ve never qualified in this event before, so I’m looking forward to that new challenge. The top 20 shoot-out is exciting - it really is a list of the top GT drivers in the world so the competition is fierce. The V12 Vantage GT3 is ‘tried-and-tested’ and that gives you a lot of confidence going into a 24-hour race like this.”
The V12 Vantage GT3 has already had great success in long-distance endurance racing around the world this season, with podiums at Dubai 24 Hours, Bathurst 12 Hours and Daytona 24 Hours, and Team Principal John Gaw is hoping to get a similar result in Europe’s largest event.
“We have some of the top teams in GT racing running V12 Vantage GT3s,” Gaw commented. “And, they are having great success in some of the toughest endurance challenges around the world. Both Leonard Motorsport and Oman Racing by Motorbase are capable of getting a class podium finish at the 24 Hours of Spa and we are looking forward to supporting them.”
The 24 Hours of Spa starts at 1630hrs on Saturday 25 July and fans can watch live on the Blancpain Endurance Series YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/GTworld
The Aston Martin Vulcan laps will take place on Saturday 25 July at 1410hrs.

New Kidston Trophy attracts world’s largest field of pre-war racers at the Silverstone Classic.

  • New Kidston Trophy attracts world’s largest field of pre-war racers
  • Bentley Boy Glen Kidston famously won Le Mans in 1930
  • 12 classic Bentleys to compete at inaugural Silverstone Classic event
The largest field of pre-war race cars ever assembled will compete at the Silverstone Classic this weekend in the inaugural Kidston Trophy – named for legendary Bentley Boy and Le Mans winner, Glen Kidston.
Among the 57 competitors will be 12 of the rarest and most valuable Bentleys in the world. This stellar ensemble includes several Bentley 3 Litre models, and a collection of 4½ Litre racers including a legendary Supercharged ‘Blower’.
Apologies for the quality of the pictures, they are rather old, and of not good size and initial quality.
Glen Kidston and Bentley Chairman, Woolf Barnato, famously won the 1930 Le Mans 24-Hour race in the Bentley Speed Six ‘Old Number 1’. This was the second year in succession that the Speed Six had taken the chequered flag and the fourth year in a row that a Bentley was victorious.
Richard Charlesworth, Director of Royal Relations & Heritage, said: “For one of Bentley’s most famous characters to be honored like this, at such a major classic car event, is wonderful. Kidston lived to race and his triumph at Le Mans alongside Barnato in 1930 will forever be remembered as the crowning glory of the Bentley Boys era.”
The Silverstone Classic takes place 24 to 26 July, with the Kidston Trophy contested at 12:00 on Saturday 25 July.
Glen Kidston: Bentley Boy
Adventurer and aviator Glen Kidston was one of the original Bentley Boys. A former Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy, he was famously torpedoed twice in the same morning during World War 1.  He later became a submarine commander but when not at sea he set records as an aviator and motorcycle speed trialist.
Kidston died less than a year after his Le Mans win when the de Havilland Puss Moth he was flying crashed during a dust storm over the Drakensberg Mountains in southern Africa. A memorial to him stands at the crash site – an aluminium propeller set in stone designed to warn passing aviators.
Silverstone Classic – 25th Anniversary
The annual Silverstone Classic is firmly established as ‘The World’s Biggest Classic Motor Racing Festival’. The packed weekend event features more than 20 races covering the full glittering spectrum of motor sport history, full scale live music concerts, aerial displays and interactive driving activities.

What new car buyers really want, new survey tells all.

  • carwow conducts UK-wide survey ahead of September registrations to discover new-car buyers’ top 10 most important considerations
  • Performance and brand fall outside the top 5, while design and style fall outside the top 10
  • Colour features in the top 3, alongside price and fuel economy
carwow the UK’s largest new-car buying platform has conducted a national survey to discover the top 10 most important considerations of new car buyers. 

carwow data shows that August is the busiest research month for car buyers in the UK, ahead of new registrations in September. The survey, of UK-based Google users, shows that the top 10 most important considerations are:
1.   Price
2.   Fuel economy
3.   Colour
4.   Insurance grouping and cost
5.   Safety
6.   Performance
7.   Manufacturer
8.   Size
9.   Quality
10. Engine size

James Hind, carwow CEO, said: “carwow is a business built on putting buyers first, by empowering customers with all the information they need before they buy a car. This is why we conducted the survey – to make sure we are providing the buyers with exactly what they want.  We were most surprised to discover that performance, brand and design fall someway down the list of top considerations. 
He added: “Colour, on the other hand, which barely gets a mention in traditional car reviews, is actually the third most important thing for new-car buyers. This is the kind of information used to make carwow as absolutely up to date and relevant for our customers, particularly in this most busy period for new car buyers.”
Following the new survey results, carwow will launch a New-Car Buyers’ Car of the Year awards. Based on the top 10 buyer considerations revealed in this survey, the new awards will counter the traditional assessments based on performance and design, to become a true buyer-empowered list of the cars that really deliver what new-car buyers want. More details will be announced later in the year.
With carwow, buying a new car is as easy and hassle-free as it should be – car dealers compete over buyers, offering consumers the car they configure at a great price. And because carwow only works with the best-rated dealers in Britain, the customer experience comes with satisfaction guaranteed. 
With more than £300m in car sales through the platform so far, and buyers making savings totalling over £40m, (on average £3,600 per car), both car retailers and consumers are benefitting from the carwow revolution.