Thursday, 29 December 2016

Dakar 2017–Official Teaser video

Official Teaser - Dakar 2017 by Dakar

At time of typing this, the official website tells me that there are only 3 days, 15 hours, and 48 minutes to go until the start of the 2017 Dakar event… which is, naturally, no-longer taking place anywhere near Dakar!

This time the event is visiting three South American countries, Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina, and the route covers nearly 9000km over 12 gruelling days.

The Dakar attracts a special kind of person, and indeed, a special kind of vehicle…




For example, the 2017 MINI John Cooper Work Rally has a few tweaks that make it a little different to the models you buy at your local dealer. The 3 litre TwinPower Turbo Six-Cylinder diesel engine produces 340hp, and carries the 1952.5kg vehicle at up to 184km/h (114mph) over some of the toughest terrain and conditions that the event can muster.

To keep up to date with the 2017 Dakar, which runs from 2nd – 14th January 2017, visit/follow/etc:

Friday, 23 December 2016

Will YOUR car still start in 2017?

With bad weather looming, and Christmas coming, it is probably a good time to politely remind all drivers about the need to keep an eye on the health of their cars... in particular, the battery.

You use the car every day to get to work... and it hasn't given you ANY problems... All MUST be fine... Well, hopefully, yes!

Aa merged v2b
AA Busiest Day of the Year

However, it is worth remembering that not using the car as much, and perhaps making several much shorter journeys, the car's battery will not get recharged as much as on longer trips. This means that, come that first day back at work when you're running late and it is cold and raining outside, the battery might not be up to getting the car started. In fact, on the first day back in 2016 over 7000 people called the AA with that very problem.

There are, of course, things that you can do to try to avoid these issues:

  • If you use your car a few times for journeys that are at least 30 minutes long, all should be well since the car will charge the battery for you.
  • If you are NOT going to use the car, you might wish to consider using a battery charger to keep the battery topped up, or to fully recharge the day before you are back to work.

If you have two cars, but have only used one over the holidays, it might be worth having that set of jump leads handy... and remember to look up how to use them safely! UKMotorTalk's Winter Driving Tips

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.