Lewis Hamilton might have won his latest British Grand Prix at the weekend, but the very future of the event itself is under threat.
Meanwhile Jaguar has announced another SUV, while Hyundai has gone all sporty on us.
It also turns out that most of us think we’re worse drivers than we were when we passed our test.
And Mercedes has unveiled a pickup truck. We definitely weren’t expecting that.
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The British Grand Prix is under threat
Silverstone may have been packed to the rafters at the weekend to see Lewis Hamilton take victory at his home race, but its days look to be numbered.
The Northamptonshire circuit looks like it could host its final British Grand Prix in 2019 after its owners, the British Racing Drivers’ Club, triggered a break clause in its 17-year contract. It says that it has become too expensive to hold the race, with costs escalating every year.
The BRDC has intimated that it wants to renegotiate with F1’s commercial rights holder, Liberty Media, but it says that won’t happen. Around 140,000 stream into Silverstone every year, making it one of the best-supported on the calendar and also one of the most popular sporting events in the UK. But, despite that, it was set to again make a loss this year of around £4 million, despite being sold out.
With Silverstone currently being the only track in the UK that qualifies to host F1 and no obvious alternatives currently in the wings, it looks likely that there could be no British Grand Prix for the first time since 1950 in the near future.
Jaguar has announced its new SUV
Jaguar has announced its new SUV – the E-PACE.
It’s a five-seat compact performance number and allows drivers to personalise throttle, steering and transmission settings. It gets lightweight suspension, all-wheel drive and torque vectoring for all-surface traction.
Despite its name the E-PACE isn’t an electric SUV, it’ll be the first Jag to be powered by Ingenium petrol and diesel engines, including the 150PS diesel emitting a low 124g/km and the sporty 300PS petrol, which will get you to 60mph in 5.9 seconds. The looks are inspired by the beautiful F-TYPE.
Jag said: “Established Jaguar design principles ensure the E-PACE is immediately recognisable as the sports car of its class. Our new compact SUV combines the interior space, connectivity and security that families expect with the kind of proportions, purity of design and performance not usually associated with such a practical vehicle.”
It’ll be priced from an entirely reasonable £28,500.
Hyundai has gone sporty
Hyundai has announced the dawn of a new era – its first high-performance car.
The i30 N is the first model in the N line-up and it has been developed at the Nürburgring, with the ‘N’ apparently symbolising a chicane. The i30 N gets a four-cylinder 2.0-litre T-GDI turbo petrol with 275PS and 353Nm of torque. It also gets electronic limited slip differential, electronically control suspension, rev-matching, launch control, high-performance tyres, a lap timer and more.
There are five different drive modes and the option to configure for everything from daily driving to track performance. A variable exhaust valve system will make for an ‘emotional’ soundtrack, says Hyundai.
Looks-wise it’ll have aggressive front and rear bumpers, large air intakes and red lines, with a rear spoiler, dual exhaust, 18 or 19-inch wheels and sports seats.
Quite a lot of us think we’re worse drivers than we were when we took our test
A substantial 57 per cent of British motorists think they are a worse driver now than when they first passed their test.
Research from Young Driver, a provider of pre-17 driving lessons, revealed that only 43 per cent felt they were better behind the wheel now than when they first ripped up the L plates. In fact, well over a third (39 per cent) of drivers thought they’d struggle to pass their test if they had to retake it now – rising to a worrying 46 per cent of over 55s.
More women than men also thought they would fail if they were to take a test tomorrow (42 per cent vs 36 per cent). More than 2,400 drivers were questioned in the study.
Kim Stanton, who heads up Young Driver, said: “Most drivers know they’ve picked up bad habits along the way, which is why they probably feel like they’d fail if faced with an examiner. “In reality we know experience makes a safer driver, and this is borne out in road safety statistics. Shockingly, one in five newly qualified drivers has an accident within six months of getting on the road. With 400,000 17-21 year olds passing their test every year, that’s 80,000 potentially avoidable accidents within this vulnerable group.
“Almost 1,300 17-24 year olds are killed or seriously injured in road accidents each year – a much higher proportion than that age group accounts for in terms of the total number of road users.”
Young Driver says that research has shown that teaching young people to drive from an earlier age and over a longer period of time can halve the accident rate for a newly qualified driver in that dangerous first six months – dropping from one in five to one in 10. One of the reasons experience is so beneficial is it can help many skills behind the wheel to become automatic, allowing the driver to focus more on being alert to any potential dangers.
Mercedes surprises us all with a pickup
Yep, really. If there was an award for the manufacturer you’d least expect to bring out a pickup truck, Mercedes-Benz would surely be up for it. However, if you’re a posh builder it’s time to rejoice – here’s the X-Class.
The Germans have billed it as ‘the Mercedes among pickups’ and what better way to describe it, really. There will be three versions – Pure for classic ‘robust’ use, Progressive for those wanting a more quality feel and Power for those who, get this, want a ‘high end variant for urban lifestyles’. There will be a shedload of accessories and power from both four and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, topped by a V6 diesel with 258hp next year. Merc says it will drive like one of its cars on the road while being capable off of it.
Priced at 38,000 euros in Germany, it comes to the rest of Europe in November 2017 and goes global after that.