Tuesday, 11 July 2017

24 Hours in 24 numbers

The 24hrs of Le Mans – arguably the biggest motorsport event of the year – has now been and gone, and proved to be an exceptional event. A new qualifying lap record, two LMP2s on the podium, and a record win for Porsche, to name just a few notable events, saw the 85th edition of the 24 Hours marking itself as one that will be talked about for some time to come.

The Automobile Club de l-Ouest recently posted a summary of this year's event, taking a unique look at Le Mans through 24 numbers … so we thought we'd pay tribute to Le Mans and the ACO with this infographic – they're all the rage, don't you know! So, here's the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans in 24 numbers.

As with all things Le Mans 24hrs, it's a BIG … if you can't read the image below, click here to see a REALLY BIG version.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Audi's new 'volts wagon' … and Mercedes' AA Class

This month sees the debut of Audi's all-new A8 range, the first in the Brand's history to feature electrified drivetrains as standard. Featuring a 48-volt primary electrical system, these new A8s promise a new level of refinement, performance, and – of course – economy.

The new volts wagen from Audi – The all-new Audi A8 range will be the first in the brand’s history to feature an electrified drivetrain as standard. Its combustion engines will be equipped with mild hybrid technology based around a 48-volt electrical system which features as the primary electrical system for the first time. 

The A8's hybrid drive comprises two main components: a watercooled, 48-volt belt alternator starter (BAS), and a lithium-ion battery that acts as an accumulator. The BAS complements a conventional pinion starter, which is used only for cold starts, while the lithium-ion battery (stowed in the luggage compartment) has a 10Ah charge carrier capacity.

BAS's advantage becomes clear when approaching roundabouts or red traffic signals. If the traffic signal turns green during braking, while the vehicle is coasting to a stop or if a gap appears for the driver to move into, and the driver releases the brake, the combustion engine is started immediately. There's no delay in acceleration, thanks to the belt alternator starter, which is permanently connected to the combustion engine.

The fourth-generation A8s feature a new noiseless coasting mode, available between 34mph and 99mph, which switches off the engine altogether, for up to 40 seconds, giving zero-emissions. The moment the driver steps on the throttle, the BAS swiftly and smoothly restarts the engine. 

The new A8's stop/start function has been improved, too. It's now active from 14mph, and it can even distinguish between different traffic situations. If the road is clear, the BAS starts the engine promptly, so you can drive off swiftly. After a long standstill, or if the drive wants to turn up the aircon, the engine start up switches to extra smooth and silent mode. It even has predictive starting: if the vehicle in front of you moves off, the engine starts even if the brake is applied.

Of course, one of the big factors in hybrid tech, is the recuperation or regeneration of energy, and the A8 comes with some sophisticated management just for this. On-board computers process route data, front-facing camera views, and various sensor data, and calculates the best time to coast or recuperate (the system can even recuperate energy if you get too close to the vehicle in front). The upshot, is that fuel consumption is reduced by as much as 0.7 litres per 100 kilometres.

The new Audi A8 debuts on 11th July, at the first Audi Summit, in Barcelona, Spain. 

Further information on powertrain development at Audi is available at

Of course, Audi isn't the only German manufacturer to look into electrical power … Mercedes-Benz are also on the case, as this video highlights … possibly …


Thursday, 6 July 2017

10 mins = 2 long

We love cars – you know that. We also love animals. Sometimes, the two go very well together … sometimes, not … 

Hubble & Hattie, our imprint specialising in all things animal, has highlighted some important points about leaving pets in cars in hot weather, over on it's blog. Seeing as we're all about all things automotive, we thought we share some of its wise words with you here …

Not just dogs! This cockatiel nearly came
to an untimely end, left unattended and
without cooling in a local car park
(it was fine in the end).
Days out just aren't the same without our furry friends in-tow. When it's REALLY hot, it's best to leave your pet indoors, where it's shaded and cool (Hubble & Hattie have another brilliant post on just this, here). But, if you do have to take them with you, never EVER leave your pet in a warm vehicle.

Many people believe that leaving a pet in a car on a warm day, is fine, as long as the windows are open, and it's parked in the shade.

Don't be fooled: it's a highly dangerous situation for dogs and other small animals, even when 'normal' temperatures are resumed.

Automotive glass acts like greenhouse glass, trapping heat, and with an external temperature of 22ºC, the heat inside a car can rise to 47ºC within the hour.

On hot days, opening the windows simply won't make enough of a difference in a static vehicle. Dogs pant to cooldown, but heat and humidity make this less effective, and eventually, when the mercury gets to 40ºC, panting stops working. By then, it's likely to be too late.

According to DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs), distress and suffering occurs for pets when temperatures go above 25ºC for more than a few minutes.

Just 10 minutes … 

Wind down the window a crack, and pop into the shop for a few moments and Fido will be fine, no? No. Ten minutes is long enough to cause soft tissue and brain damage in dogs.

Just 10 minutes.

Here in Dorset, temperatures recently peaked around 30ºC. Think about that for a moment. In those temperatures, less than ten minutes in a hot car could be enough to cause permanent brain damage, and eventual death.

And it's not just cars: caravans, campers, and mobile homes can reach unbearable temperatures inside on hot days.

Here's Sergeant Harry Tangye, from Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, with some advice for the hotter days …

He looks okay … his tail is wagging!

Heatstroke in dogs is very serious, but there are early warning signs to look for. Heavy panting, barking, whining, and excessive salivation are the first signs. Of course, some dogs bark and whine more than others, but seasoned dog owners can usually spot the signs of distress, even in an unfamiliar dog, and even if a dog appears 'happy' to see you.

In hotter temperatures, these symptoms may only last a few minutes: glassy eyes, and unresponsiveness soon follow. By this time, cells have started to die, and seizures, coma, and death are likely to follow. There is no time to waste.

I'll break the window …

So, what if you do find a dog trapped in a hot car, and it's clearly distressed? Do you smash a window? Break in?

In the UK, only a Local Authority inspector or a Police Constable have the legal power to enter a premises (including vehicles) for the purpose of assisting an animal that is, or is likely to be, suffering.

Any member of the public who breaks into a vehicle, or attempts to, to assist an animal, would be subject to an investigation for the offence of Criminal Damage. It's possible that such an action could be classed as 'reasonable,' depending on the condition of the animal. UK law states that you have a 'lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances.'

But, if Fido is fine, and you cause damage, you'd best get a lawyer!

Who ya gonna call?

The RSPCA seems like the first organisation to contact – BUT, it may not be able to attend quickly enough to help. Just as importantly, the RSPCA do not have powers of entry. Don't ask them to break in: they would be committing an offence, just like you or I.

If you're in a public carpark, such as a supermarket or store, ask the Manager to make a call over the store tannoy, requesting the owner immediately attends to remove or check on the dog.

If the dog is already showing signs of distress, dial 999 and report it to the local police.

Calmly give them as much information as you can: where you are, how long you've been aware of the pet in the car, whether the animal is responsive, showing signs of stress etc, and the car details, along with any efforts you may have already made to contact the owner, or otherwise help.

Once you've alerted the Police, call the RSPCA. Tell them that you've already called the Police, and give them the same info. Let them know what the Police are planning to do, or when they're likely to arrive at the scene.

They won't get here in time!

Sometimes the Police just won't be able to get to you in time to help the animal directly. If you think that it will be too late to save the animal by the time the Police arrive, and there is no other option left, ensure you do the following:

  • Tell the Police of your intentions
  • Take photos or a note of the car and licence plate
  • Take photos or videos of the dog
  • Take names and numbers of any witnesses

Even if you, personally, aren't taking direct action, it's worth doing this should you find yourself in such a situation, and remember …


Try to ensure that a crowd doesn't gather around the car, if possible, and that voices – and tempers – are kept low and calm. 

If the owner returns, and they become agitated, try to stay calm: being argumentative only results in more stress for everyone … including the dog. Tell them that you were concerned for the animal, and engage them: be as civil as you can, and wait for the Police to arrive.

If an animal has been removed from a vehicle, move it to a shaded area. Give it some water if you're able. Soaking a chamois or t-shirt in water, and rubbing this over them can help to cool them, as can fanning them, or spraying water over their coat.

DO NOT GIVE ICE CUBES IN THIS SITUATION; this can cool them too quickly, leading to complications. 

This (ever so slightly) tongue-in-cheek video from PETA offers some sound advice …

There is no law prohibiting the leaving of an animal in a hot vehicle, but there is a law against animal cruelty. In the UK, under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, if an animal becomes ill or dies from being left in a hot car, the person responsible could face six months in custody, and a fine of up to £20,000.

Wondering what it would feel like to be stuck in a hot car on a hot day … why don't you try it? Park-up, and leave the car with the windows open a crack, and see how long you last. Don't forget, you can sweat to cool down – your dog can't, so he'll be feeling it 10 times worse than you. Just look how NFL Arizona Cardinals' player Tyrann Mathieu got on, when he tried to sit-out the heat for PETA … 

We hope you never need the above advice, but, should you come across an animal in distress in a vehicle, you know what to do.

You can keep up with Sgt Tangye on Twitter – @DC_ARVSgt – or on his blog at https://dcarvsgt.wordpress.com, whilst you can head over to the PETA UK website http://www.peta.org.uk

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Circuit Historique de Laon, Julian Parish, and … uh … Lederhosen!

Anybody who knows author and 'Drive Guide Guru,' Julian Parish, knows he's a busy man. Whilst Julian has been spending many hours undertaking extensive research for some great forthcoming books, he's still managing to make time for a spot of commentating …

Last week, was no exception, as Julian attended the 26th Circuit Historique de Laon. Taking place over three days, this year saw around 750 cars of all ages and eras tour the city, taking in the sights, and entertaining the crowds.

Fine weather – and fine cars – saw the start of proceedings on Saturday, with a rally around Laon, taking in a stop at Gueux and finishing at Parc Foch with a concours d'élégance and a glass of champagne. Sunday saw the highlight of the weekend, the closed street run. Over 6kms of street were closed to traffic for the run, which incorporated a hill climb (complete with hairpin bends), giving spectators plenty of opportunity to see some fine cars in action. The event was rounded-off with a final Monday morning drive up to Lens, and then home to England for the many British participants.

Here's a few pics of Julian in action, commentating, and giving away copies of the France guide to competition winners … and the senator-mayor of Laon, Antoine Lefèvre  resplendent in Lederhosen! A big 'thank you' to Drive Guide's Dutch friend, Annemieke Dekkers, for taking the photos.

If you missed seeing Julian at Laon, he will be back in action as part of the commentary team at the Grand Prix Historique de Bressuire on June 24/25.

The Essential Guides Twin Pack

In case you missed it, we have a fantastic Twin Pack offer for Julian's Essential Guides. For the price of the France guide alone, the Twin Pack offers both the France and Europe guides in one package. That's a saving of £10.99 … checkout the Twin Pack over at Drive Guide's website …

Get France: The Essential Guide for Car Enthusiasts AND The Essential Guide to Driving in Europe for just £14.99!

Friday, 9 June 2017

Heading to France or Europe this Summer? YOU NEED THIS!

Seeing as Summer is here, and many of you will be heading off for your hols, what better, we thought, than offer something to take with you … or even inspire your holidays? We've combined both of Julian Parish's Essential Guides in one fantastic offer.

Hot on the heels of the New Edition of France: The Essential Guide for Car Enthusiasts, comes this superbly practical Twin Pack. For just £14.99 – that's the price of just the France guide alone – the Twin Pack also gives you the Europe guide, too. That's a saving of £9.99!

Not only do you get comprehensive coverage of over 200 car-themed things to see and do in France, but you also get all the information you need to stay safe, well, and have fun in over 50 countries across Europe.

Whether you're heading off for your hols, or maybe planning that Euro tour of a lifetime, Julian's guides are the best place to start … the ONLY place to start, as far as we're concerned – but, then, we are a tad biased!

Of course, it's also the perfect gift for Father's Day (Sunday 18th June … you haven't forgotten, have you?), whether or not Dad is going for a trip over the channel, detailing some superb destinations for days out, celebrations, historic rallies and places to visit.

You can get the Essential Guide's Twin Pack now, over on our shop, here, for just £14.99 (exc P&P).

The Essential Guides Twin Pack

Two fantastic books for the price of one! France: The Essential Guide for Car Enthusiasts New Edition, and The Essential Guide to Driving in Europe, combine to give you over 200 things for the car enthusiast to see and do in France, with all you need to know for a safe and enjoyable trip to 50 countries in Europe.

From planning a touring holiday, or taking a business trip, to enjoying a special journey across the channel with friends or a club, this invaluable double-pack will help you plan your trip, check information on the road, and enjoy some of the finest automotive-themed destinations in France.

France: The Essential Guide for Car Enthusiasts

This fully updated second edition is divided into five regions – Paris & the Île-de-France, Western France, Southern France, Central France & the Alps, and North-East France – each containing a wealth of detailed information for the auto enthusiast. With sections on museums, classic and modern car shows, automobilia, buying car parts, historic and modern motorsport events, and race circuits, each entry is illustrated in full colour. 
  • 200 things for the car enthusiast to see and do
  • Based on the acclaimed first edition, comprehensively updated for 2017
  • Places and events throughout the year and in every region
  • Explore where to see great cars on display
  • Learn how to take part with your car
  • Find out how to drive on 50 circuits
  • Discover where to buy motoring art, books and parts
  • Easy-to-use layout with practical information for each entry
  • Extra information online: latest dates, one-off events and satnav data
  • Of special interest to all owners of French cars

The Essential Guide to Driving in Europe

Providing all you need to know to prepare for your trip, cope with the unfamiliar, and stay safe while enjoying your trip, this guide covers everything from winter driving, towing a caravan, travelling with pets, and taking a classic car overseas, to what what to do in the case of a breakdown or accident. Covering Western Europe (including France), Southern Europe, Northern Europe, and Central & Eastern Europe, 50 individual countries are covered, and all the information is based on extensive local research, and includes comprehensive details of speed limits, drink/driving rules, motorway tolls, mountain passes, and other local regulations. Extensive illustrations help you recognise and understand unfamiliar signs, whilst more than 25 port maps guide you safely to terminals in the UK and on the Continent.

  • All you need to know for a safe and enjoyable European trip
  • Helps you plan your trip and check information on the road
  • Reassurance for the first-timer … and the latest facts for regular travellers
  • General guidance on driving abroad, and country-specific information
  • Specific advice: driving in cities, towing, winter driving …
  • What to do in an emergency: breakdowns, accidents, car crime …
  • Comprehensive coverage: specific information for 50 European countries
  • Speed limits, local rules, and motorway tolls in each country
  • Extensively illustrated with 200 photos, plus road signs and port maps (UK & Continent)
  • Includes UK information for visitors from USA and Australia
You can find out all about the guides, Julian Parish, and Julian's other fantastic books, over at the Drive Guide website … click the pic below.

Monday, 15 May 2017

An essential checklist to driving in France

With the release of 'France: The Essential Guide for Car Enthusiasts – New Edition' by Julian Parish there will no doubt be a lot of budding explorers ready to dive into the automotive world of France, but are you prepared? I have picked out a number of key points to remember when traversing the wonderful landscape of one our closet allies.

Drive on the RIGHT hand side:

Bit of a simple one, if not blindingly obvious, but you would be surprised how many people forget this key point when zooming off the ferry to start one's journey.

Have ALL your driving documentation to hand:

The French police will be a lot happier if you have all of your relevant paperwork to hand if your unlucky enough to be pulled over for whatever reason. This includes; driving licence, insurance documents, MOT and the V5 Log Book.

Essential Items:

There are also a few items that drivers in France are required to carry which include; Warning Triangle, Hi-Vis Vest, GB Sticker, Spare Bulbs, Breathalysers.

Legal driving age:
An important thing to note for any of you younger readers newly passing their test is that the legal driving age in France is 18, not 17 like in the UK.

Drink drive limit:

While its probably tempting to stop at one of those scenic restaurants to enjoy a glass of red wine, the legal drink drive limit in France is a lot lower than over here and one cheeky drink could put you over the limit and run you a fine of €4,500

Know the road types:

  • “A” White Text/Numbers & Blue Background = Autoroute (Motorway)
  • “N” White Text/Numbers & Red Background = National Roads
  • “D” or “RD” Black Text/Numbers & Yellow Background = Departmental Roads
  • "C & R" Black letters on a White Background = Communal/Rural Roads
  • White Signs = Municipal 
  • Green Signs = Forestry

Speed camera alerts:
While it’s completely normal and legal to have speed camera alerts on our sat-nav systems in France it’s quite the opposite, you could be fined up to €1,500 and even risk having your vehicle taken away. You may need to contact your sat-nav manufacturer for a software or database update to remove French camera data.

Low emission zones:

Much like our own country, France has its own low emission zones in the following cities; Paris, Lyon and Grenoble.

Hopefully this small guide will be helpful to all those planning on hunting through Julians expert guide.

To purchase France: The Essential Guide for Car Enthusiasts – New Edition (£14.99 + P&P) please visit: 

Monaco Grand Prix: Yachts, Millionaires and F1

The sight of huge million dollar yachts moored in the Harbour of the tiny independent city-state of Monaco, which adorns France’s Mediterranean coastline, is widely commonplace. It’s the summer resort for the uber rich, nothing in Monaco is done by half measure. 

Monte-Carlo, which is Monaco’s major district, is home to the world-famous Place du Casino a gambling haven for billionaires with never ending bank accounts and has been quoted as making Monte-Carlo as “an international byword for the extravagant display and reckless dispersal of wealth”

Monaco is also famous for another reason, the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix, which since 1929, has been held annually through the streets of Monaco. The Circuit de Monaco takes six weeks to complete which then takes a further three weeks to completely remove. It is an incredibly challenging circuit with viciously tight corners, elevation changes all coming together on a very narrow track, again going by the extravagant and outlandish nature of this city-state a boring, easy, run of the mill race just wouldn’t do.

(Source Image: http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/start_3_monte_2010.jpg)

Getting tickets to this event can cost up to £3,000 for the higher tier ‘Yacht VIP Package’, although there are more reasonable ticket prices hovering around the £50-100 mark for more standard viewing locations, either way for visitors from across the pond the trip as a whole, including; flights, accommodation, dining out etc. will not be a cheap one. (Looking at current package deals a 3 night break from London will cost £1299 which includes travel, hotel and the ticket)

It is in most people eyes a once in a lifetime trip, and of course for F1 fans the ultimate experience, forget Silverstone from the British Grand Prix, this is the track you want to see people like Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel manoeuvring those gruelling corners and narrow straights. Also for the 2017 F1 Monaco GP Jenson Button will be returning as a on-off, which will be an exciting treat for fans. 

The 2017 F1 Monaco Grand Prix will take place from Thursday the 25th of May until Sunday the 28th of May with the following Practice/Qualifying/Race times;

Practice 1 Thursday 10:00 - 11:30
Practice 2 Thursday 14:00 - 15:30
Practice 3 Saturday   11:00 - 12:00
Qualifying Saturday    14:00 - 15:00
Race Sunday              14:00 - 16:00

The track itself is 3.337km long, of which 78 laps will be completed at total distance of 260.286km, the fastest lap from the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix was set at 1:17.939 by Lewis Hamilton driving for Mercedes.

                                         (Source Image: https://www.formula1.com/en/championship/races/2017/Monaco.html)

The history of this world renowned circuit goes back to the first Grand Prix on the Circuit De Monaco which took place in 1950 ,which was won by Juan Manuel Fangio racing with Alfa Romeo. Some other notable winners include the late Ayrton Senna who won it six times, Graham Hill and Michael Schumacher who won 5 times and more recently Nico Rosberg who won the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Monaco Grand Prix, and last year which was won by Lewis Hamilton.

(By Instituto Ayrton Sennaderivative work: Karpouzi - This file was derived from:  Ayrton Senna with toy car.jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28920168)

Ultimately The Monaco Grand Prix is a massive deal in the world of auto-sports, an event every F1 driver dreams of winning and a must for any F1 / motorsport fan to visit at least once, and even for non-motorsport fans just experiencing the sheer atmosphere and spectacle of monstrously fast machines speeding past ludicrously expensive hotels and yachts with the price tag worth more than the GDP of some smaller countries is something you cant see anywhere else.

France has a wealth of other events, museums and places of interest, if this is something that you would like to explore more extensively you may want to pick up the recently released 'France: The Essential Guide for Car Enthusiasts – New Edition' for £14.99 + P&P

To purchase please visit: