Friday, 2 December 2016

Farewell Nico

Archivnummer: M52885
Photo: Paul Ripke

So Nico has retired…

… a very unusual move for a new and not yet crowned world champion, but not unique.

Nico’s statement left no doubt that he has now achieved the goal that had pushed him on, and led him and his family to make significant sacrifices to get to the top. Having reached that peak, it's enough.

I laud his honourable decision and I'm not that surprised by it having met him two or three times. He always struck me as a real gentleman, and his devotion to his wife and family were very evident in those manic post-race minutes.

Archivnummer: M52876
Photo: Paul Ripke

Archivnummer: M52890
Photo: Paul Ripke

We all at UKMT wish him well and are convinced he will go on to do something else in motor sport, even if his driving days are over.

His observations on Lewis’ superiority are telling and confirm the common view that Lewis is the better racer even if he lacks some of Nico’s finer sensibilities.

So who now will pitch for that seat?

Pascal Wehrlein perhaps if Mercedes want a German driver?

Young lion or old hand?

Perhaps even a Spanish driver? A certain Senor Alonso could jump at it and reuniting Fernando and Lewis would make an amazing driver pairing, just ask Stirling Moss who his two favourite drivers are! It would be his dream team. Another Fangio and Moss era for the Silver Arrows?

Graham Benge

02Graham Benge interviewing Nico a long long time ago!

Winter Driving Tips from UKMT's technical chaps....

Looking back to 2010, we gathered some good advice from our technical chaps regarding the more modern quirks that winter turns up…..


We catch up with our technical chaps to see if they have any thoughts about driving in the current snow and ice..... and here's what they said!

Auto Transmissions:- Some have a Snow button function, in short the Autobox ECU forces the box to shift-up to a higher gear and will not allow a low gear like 1st or second to be selected when the "Snow Button" is pressed. The philosophy being that if you gradually move off by tickling the throttle in a high gear there will be less chance of wheel spinning and losing traction, more importantly you will begin to move forward slowly and safely.

ESP:- If your transmission does not have this function or you may have a manual transmission the "Traction Control" function of your ABS/ESP should kick in. What is this then..................modern vehicles have a number of ways of providing you with traction control "Wheel spin prevention in low traction conditions" How do you know it's working, when traction control kicks in the ESP light will flash on the dash board, you can press the throttle as hard as you want the system reduces engine power. There are many ways by which the transmission, ABS and engine ECU's prevent wheel spin, the most common are:- Cutting the fuel delivery to the injectors, ABS braking the wheels or a combination of these in very quick succession.

Diesel engines:- Modern HDI (High Pressure Direct injection) still have heater plugs but rarely use them due to their high combustion efficiency and ability to start in cold conditions. In recent years manufacturers have removed the heater plug light from the dash board therefore in very cold conditions like we are currently experiencing you will need the heater plugs but will not necessarily have an indication on the dashboard of their run or heat duration. Advice is with HDi engines in very cold weather switch on ignition for a few seconds before cranking the engine to allow heater plugs to run a cycle.

Old Diesel engines Direct or Indirect injection:- Will all have heater plugs and a dash light to indicate their run cycle, when the weather is very cold let them run for three cycles, i.e switch on ignition, let the plugs run a cycle, watch light on dash go out then repeat another two times. Do not use ether type sprays into the induction system, they wash critical oil off the piston rings for first time start and rapidly increase cylinder bore wear. This is like pouring salt in wound, the engine is already a poor starter due to piston ring & bore wear, diesel engines rely on the heat generated on the compression stroke to start. Spraying these ether aid starters into the induction system accelerates the wear process, which is why motorists say that an old diesel engine becomes addicted to these ether spray starting aids.

Check YOUR car before driving this Winter

Graham Benge takes us through a quick list of checks we should ALL be doing before driving this winter.

  • Rear lights
  • Numberplates
  • Tyres
  • Windscreen wipers
  • Washer fluid
  • Headlights
  • Wing mirrors

Date Change - Goodwood Festival of Speed 2017


Following the changes to the 2017 F1 calendar this week, Goodwood have today announced that the dates for next year’s Festival of Speed will now be:

Thursday 29th June to Sunday 2nd July

If you’ve already bought your tickets, don’t panic, they will still be valid without you having to make any changes.

For more information visit

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Formula One 2017 dates

The FIA has announced confirmed dates for next year’s F1 season:

  • 26 Mar - Australia
  • 9 Apr - China
  • 16 Apr - Bahrain
  • 30 Apr - Russia (Sochi)
  • 14 May - Spain (Barcelona)
  • 28 May - Monaco
  • 11 June - Canada
  • 25 June - Azerbaijan (Baku)
  • 9 July - Austria (Spielberg)
  • 16 July - Britain (Silverstone)
  • 30 July - Hungary
  • 27 Aug - Belgium (Spa)
  • 3 Sep - Italy (Monza)
  • 17 Sep - Singapore
  • 1 Oct - Malaysia
  • 8 Oct - Japan (Suzuka)
  • 22 Oct - USA (Austin)
  • 29 Oct - Mexico
  • Maybe 12 Nov - Brazil (Sao Paulo)..?
  • 26 Nov - Abu Dhabi

Disappointingly, notably missing is a German location… Neither Nurburgring (whose turn it is to host the event) or Hockenheim have firmed up a deal. Remembering how much money talks in the sport, this possibly isn’t surprising.

On a positive note, the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal IS on the calendar, despite rumours that it was far from certain.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Kicking off The Grand Tour…

Well, everyone else has made comment about the newest car show to hit our screens, so I guess it now has to be our turn!

With generous helpings of tongue in cheek humour, stunning photography, and a three-way competitive edge throughout, this “new” show took all the elements that made Top Gear such a success and repackaged them for The Grand Tour. Those of us who are avid credit watchers will note that to achieve this task, many members of the team who were behind Top Gear “of old” have also participated in this new production, and it looks like the experience has shone through.

Obviously, for legal reasons, The Grand Tour must be seen as a different format to Top Gear, but I doubt any fans of the “old” show would be disappointed by the familiar elements that have been carried across… Bickering between the presenters, fast cars racing other fast cars, smoking tyres while drifting round corners, timed laps on a new track with amusingly named sections… They’re all there…

Here at UKMotorTalk we have often debated the old question “Is Top Gear still a car programme?”. Arguments usually include “no, it is an entertainment show that includes cars”, and “yes, it is an entertainment show that includes cars”..!!

There can, however, be no doubting from this opening episode of The Grand Tour that cars are still very much central to this “new” format, starting, as it did, with “The Holy Trinity” McLaren/Porsche/Ferrari shootout that was promised before the demise of Top Gear.


The complex energy recovery systems of the 950hp LaFerrari, Porsche’s 918 Spider with its integrated two electric motors, and the mind blowing technology of the McLaren P1 go head to head (to head!) on the Algrave International Circuit in Portugal. I won’t spoil the result….

So, where does it go from here…? Johannesburg next week… and we believe Rotterdam, Lapland, Whitby, Stuttgart, Nashville, Dubai and Loch Ness are also on the tour.

Fingers crossed for episode two…

Friday, 4 November 2016

Goodwood 2017 tickets – On Sale Now!

Yes, apparently it is that time of year again…
Are you ready to start filling in your 2017 diary (or digital equivalent) yet…?
Goodwood is now selling tickets for the Festival of Speed and the Revival for 2017, and assuming that there are no big FIA calendar changes, they will be:
  • Goodwood Festival of Speed: Thursday 22nd to Sunday 25th June 2017 Now changed to:
  • Goodwood Festival of Speed: Thursday 29th June to Sunday 2nd July 2017
  • Goodwood Revival: Friday 8th to Sunday 10th September 2017
Tickets for both of these events are available now from the Goodwood website or by more traditional telephone… 01243 755055
Another Goodwood date worth noting:
  • 75th Members’ Meeting: Saturday 18th to Sunday 19th March 2017. Tickets currently only available to GRRC Members, though a limited number become available to the general public from 2nd January 2017.
Meanwhile, to distract you until then, enjoy a few minutes sitting alongside Karun Chandhok racing in an Austin A30 on a wet Goodwood circuit at this year’s Revival….