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The Motorists Guide

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  1. Hackable software in the driver’s seat

    Cars and computers have an increasingly close yet complicated friendship. Specialized software now connects to everything from the brakes to the steering wheel to the door locks to the radio. And in newer models, it likely connects to the Internet too. So what are the chances that your car is going to get hacked? What kind of havoc could a car hacker wreak? And what are automakers doing to make their cars, including those designed to drive autonomously, more resistant to hackers? READ THE ARTICLE HERE https://www.the-parallax.com/2017/12/08/car-hacks-enigma-interviews-2/?utm_source=parallax&utm_medium=toaster-infoad&utm_campaign=q12018
  2. Electronic Engine Tuning Guide

    Why tune your engine? What’s the best method to tune your car? What are the overall benefits? Electronic engine tuning is the modern method of obtaining more horsepower from the engine without replacing any parts. Many years ago, tuning a petrol engine was carried out by replacing Carburettors, Exhaust and Inlet Manifolds and tweaking the Distributor in order to liberate more power. This of course led to a variety of problems that maybe you didn’t have previously, including having to ‘tune the engine’ on a regular basis, reliability, poor starting, difficult to drive in traffic and on occasions resulting in destruction of the engine. The problem that existed with tuning an engine with traditional methods was that the engines were very rarely able to generate, and handle much more power beyond standard and generally involved having much more involvement with strengthening the mechanical components within the bottom end and also lightening components to get it rev higher. Additionally, Diesel engines were not able to be tuned apart from maybe adding a larger turbo and water injection. Nowadays, engines are designed to handle more power than they sent out of the factory with. Vehicles in standard form are produced with a specified power output in order to comply with strict production, emissions and tax regulations and also to enhance reliability and durability. There is, however, a potential ‘window of opportunity’ provided by the manufacturers, allowing the owner the potential to squeeze out some additional horsepower with no resulting damage to the engine, and in most cases allowing the improved torque to enhance the overall driving experience. It’s not all about horsepower increase, it’s the torque benefits that allow improved driveability and provide more flexible gear changes. Torque increase can also lead to improved towing capabilities and load carrying without necessarily putting excess strain on the turbocharger. The more torque, the more pulling power! Will you get your money back and how long will it take? Economy is an important factor to consider the decision to spend money in order to save money. With increased torque, more flexible gear changes and increase pulling power should all lead to less throttle required and therefore better economy figures. With up to 20% fuel economy increase claimed for the DTUK system, it shouldn’t take too long to reclaim the financial outlay if the annual mileage is quite high. Are there any downsides? With electronic tuning (or fine tuning) of the engine, there are no mechanical parts to wear, drift out of calibration and all of which should contribute to maintaining overall vehicle reliability. What methods are there for achieving more power from your engine? Remapping the ECU – where a computer is connected to the vehicle ECU and a programme is downloaded which overrides the original ‘map’ with a revised one to increase the power/torque. Another method is to install an electronic chip (EPROM) inside the ECU which overrides the original ‘map’ to provide more power/torque. And yet another method is to plug in a Tuning Box which is interfaced with the injector wiring to fine-tune the fuel injection to allow additional fuel into the engine. All of these methods have their benefits and drawbacks with considerations such as cost, transferability of the tuning enhancement to another vehicle and ensuring the validity of any manufacturer warranty. Will it affect my Insurance or Warranty? It is advisable to contact your insurance company to advise them of any modifications, but more than likely with the popularity of performance enhancements to vehicles nowadays, a moderate upgrade would be recognised and quite easily listed on the policy. Failure to inform the insurers could lead to a claim being invalid in the event of an accident. Manufacturer warranty is I suppose down to individual vehicle brands but some do promote their preferred after-market Tuning specialists and accept that it is becoming a more popular trend. However, if a failure occurs with any component and that it could be remotely linked to a modification by the owner, I’m sure that could lead to a claim being declined. Tuning Box DTUK® manufactures a Tuning Box that refines the injection process by altering the injection pulse width modulation to fine tune the fuel quantity to gain more power and torque. Using a new multi-channel with dyno proven software written and developed in-house by DTUK® The system is fully adjustable for both Petrol and Diesel and can deliver up to 40% gains in power, torque and up to 20% improvement in fuel economy. Lower emissions are also promised as the engine is running smoother and more efficient, therefore, lower CO2 output. An improved throttle response should lead to a smoother drive and an improved low rev range torque and provide a smoother drive especially when towing. The system is suitable for vehicles with Automatic Transmissions and those equipped with a DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter). The DTUK® Tuning Box takes around 10 minutes to fit with minimal tools and is also transferable to another car if required. Installation All DTUK Systems have been designed to be compact and easy to fit they are supplied complete with the correct OEM wiring loom and connectors for the vehicle application and can be installed with the minimal of mechanical ability thus making it an ideal DIY project, most units can be fitted in around 10 minutes and they come complete with full support. Once the engine cover is removed, it is easy to then gain access to the fuel injector electrical connections. It is then necessary to remove the connectors and interface with the Tuning Box wiring loom, ensuring the connections are in sequence and not crossing over. Also, be careful not to position the wiring over the fuel injector pipes or any other wiring loom as electrical interference may occur. Connect the Tuning Box to the wiring loom connection and then connect to the vehicle Battery (ensure positive lead is securely routed away from earth points, unlike in the photo!) Ensure the Tuning Box is secured in a dry area within the engine bay and away from any electrical units that may cause electrical interference. Place inside the waterproof bag supplied with the kit. Review of DTUK Tuning Box How did it perform? Once installed, I never want to remove it! Not that I ever had much of an issue with the performance from the Honda in the standard form, but since driving it with the Tuning Box installed, I would categorically state that I could never go back to how it was in standard form. The increase is from 103Kw (140PS) to 128 Kw (175PS) and torque has changed from 340 Nm to 420 Nm, which is a very noticeable increase. The performance was instantly noticeable from the moment of installation with improved acceleration but also more importantly, the smoothness of torque delivery has dramatically changed the way the car drives. Longer gear changes are a result of the improved torque curve along with the decreased fuel consumption. On average, it has improved in the short term by around 10-12 %. I say in the short term, because the CR-V has a defective clutch that occasionally slips when put under too much load (common fault with Honda diesels). Once the clutch is replaced, then the consumption should decrease even further. On one end of the Tuning Box are some serial jumpers which you can move around to increase or decrease the power output. I have personally left it ‘out of the box’ as the settings appear to be more than adequate for my requirements. However, it does allow you to alter the settings to achieve the desired output to suit both the car and driver.
  3. Author: Brian Laban (2016) Publisher: Crowood Press Hardback, 12 Chapters, 208 pages Retail Price: £25.00 A very well laid out book detailing the history of the XK range of Jaguars with many black & white and colour photographs, illustrations and supporting data. The Author has successfully covered the range of XKs from the inception in 1948 to the E-Type, with each chapter chronologically detailing the marque and history of the manufacturer’s technological evolution within that era. The Jaguar XK was incredibly successful in racing and this has been covered in detail with particular mention to the 24 Hours of Le Mans race when Jaguar dominated the Motorsport world in the 1950’s. The ‘Racing Cousins’ such as the Lightweight E-Types and the Lister Knobbly have also been covered with sufficient detail without going too in-depth to become a specialist publication of each variation. There are plenty of books available about each of the specialist racing Jaguars to satisfy the enquiring reader’s curiosity. At the end of each chapter is a summary of the specifications of each model from that particular era with technical and performance information. Overall, this book delivers a definitive overview of the variety of XK’s produced over a 22-year span. You can purchase this book from Transporterama : Buy the Book here
  4. Nearly 50% of all cars that fail an MOT do so because of small faults that could be avoided by simple, at-home car maintenance. These problems are easy to correct, and fixing them before taking the car in for its MOT could help you pass first time and avoid garage costs To help, Ring, the automotive specialist in bulbs, wipers, battery care and tyre care, has some advice on the simple things that can be done to avoid an MOT fail. Lights and signalling – 17.8% failure rate 4.5m cars fail because of lamps, reflectors and electrics every year. Doing a quick bulb check before you take the vehicle to the garage could avoid an MOT fail. Make sure you check all the exterior bulbs – this includes the side light, indicator, tail light and number plate lights. The registration plate lamp being out accounts for 4.5% of MOT fails. When it comes to headlamps, there are plenty of options out there, including upgrades to help bulbs last longer or put more light on road for safer driving. We recommend you always replace bulbs in pairs, to ensure the light output is equal from both headlights. Ring stocks a range of bulbs, including long life versions, and for headlamps, try the new Xenon150 bulbs (nationwide – SSP £39.99), which put up to 150% more light on road without compromising on life. Tyre condition – 7.5% failure rate Well maintained tyres are essential to ensure safe driving – and neglecting them could mean a failed MOT. The legal requirement for tyre tread on passenger vehicles up to eight seats is 1.6mm, but studies show that when the tread drops below 3mm, stopping distance begins to be significantly affected. Checking tyre tread is easy and requires a simple depth gauge. However, to ensure your tyres are both safe and helping cut down fuel consumption, drivers need to check the pressure as well. For a digital gauge that gives accurate readings on a large backlit screen, records the correct pressure and has an integrated LED light, Ring suggests the RTG7 Programmable Digital Tyre Pressure & Tread Depth Gauge. This is easy to store in the car and easy to use, wherever you are. Available nationwide, SSP £24.99. While there is no legal requirement for tyre pressure, under- or over-inflated tyres will reduce the traction between the tyre and the road, making driving less safe and less fuel efficient. For easy pressure top ups, try the Ring RAC635 Digital Tyre Inflator, with preset for accurate inflation. This industry-recognised inflator can inflate a 13” tyre from flat to 35PSI in under 3 minutes – making tops up quick and simple. Driver’s view of the road – 6.8% failure rate Cracks in the windscreen and worn wipers are a big reason for vehicles to fail. As wiper deteriorate gradually, drivers often don’t realise they are no longer clearing the windscreen effectively. Choosing and fitting the right blade can seem tricky, but Ring’s new range of Ultravision Wiper Blades (SSP £9.99 to £13.99) make blade selection easy. The unique, patent-pending clip fits 95% of the car parc, meaning that drivers just need to know the blade length for their vehicle to select the correct blade. The clip adapts to fit the seven most common wiper arms. Henry Bisson, Marketing Manager at Ring, says “Motorists could be making savings by carrying out basic checks and maintenance at home, but often they don’t realise that these minor faults could cause an MOT fail. What’s more, having well-maintained tyre, blade and lighting are driving safety essentials, so making sure they are regularly checked and replaced when necessary is critical.” For more details on Ring’s range of bulbs, wiper blades and tyre care, visit www.ringautomotive.com Original article source: http://www.drivn.co.uk/avoid-common-mot-fails/
  5. Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)

    Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF) Many cars registered after 2007 will have a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) factory fitted in an attempt to lower diesel soot emissions. The introduction of the DPF is aimed to deliver an 80% reduction in diesel particulate (soot) emissions. This appears to be a great idea but in reality the system has many problems and the most common one is the particulate filter warning light illuminating, indicating a partial blockage of the filter. Different driving styles are required to keep the DPF system functioning correctly. One of the major issues surrounding this is with urban stop/start driving where the filter cannot regenerate sufficiently and the system becomes blocked. HOW DOES IT WORK ? The DPF is designed to trap the soot generated by the engine and burn it off whilst driving. Once collected, it is burnt off at high temperatures by a process called 'regeneration'. This regeneration is generally carried out passively while driving at sufficient speed (such as a motorway run) which will raise the exhaust gas temperature to burn off the soot emissions. If 'passive' regeneration does not work sufficiently to keep the DPF clear then 'active' regeneration will be required. This is when the engine electronics take over to run a programmed running strategy to clear out the DPF by introducing a post-combustion process to raise the temperature. Sometimes, the DPF active regeneration gets interrupted and cannot complete the process under normal urban driving conditions. This may bring on the DPF warning lamp on the dashboard indicating that the filter is partially blocked. Instructions are usually included in the drivers' handbook to instruct on how to drive and for how long to fully clear the DPF. WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF IT BECOMES COMPLETELY BLOCKED ? Generally, a blocked DPF can mean very expensive repair bills. If the filter system block ups to an unacceptably high level, then the vehicle will need to be taken to a garage for a forced regeneration. This can result in a very expensive replacement DPF being fitted. Another problem that can arise is that of 'washdown' of the cylinder bores. This is when fuel being introduced in the active regeneration stage washes down the cylinder bore and mixes with the engine oil, therefore diluting it. Two further problems can arise from this....poor compression, which can prevent the engine from starting and running efficiently. Also, the engine can become a 'runaway' which quite simply means it will suck up the oil and fuel mix from within the sump and burn it, which in a diesel engine will run the engine (even with the ignition switched off) to an ungoverned speed by consuming the oil and ultimately run to destruction! IS IT WORTH GETTING THE DPF REMOVED ? In the long run, it may be worth having the DPF removed from your vehicle if you only drive the car locally or for short distances. Removal involves cutting out the DPF and replacing it with a straight through pipe. Additionally, the engine management computer will need remapping to enable the car to run with new settings to bypass the DPF. This generally improves performance and also improve the overall fuel efficiency.
  6. Nextbase 412GW Dash Cam Review

    The Nextbase 412GW is the latest offering in a new range of Dash Cams from Nextbase and features WiFi and a ‘Click & Go’ powered screen mount Other new features include Quad HD 1440p resolution, recording at 30 frames-per-second, via 140-degree wide angle, six-element sharp lenses made up of six layers of glass to provide amazingly clear images to capture the important information such as number plate and road sign detail. Combined with High Dynamic Range (HDR) to improve the contrast of an image while maintaining superb clarity in both bright and dark lighting conditions. The 412GW is equipped with a 3” LED screen with touch buttons for ease of access. In the event of an accident, the 412GW can be instantly accessed to capture all the evidence which can be used in the event of a claim. SOS Data Protection prevents any crucial events from being deleted, while the inbuilt GPS receiver provides essential data such as speed and accurate location, which may be required by Insurers or the Police in the event of an accident. Another new feature is the addition of built-in WiFi to review, download and share footage instantly to your mobile phone or tablet by using the Nextbase Cam Viewer app (available on IOS and Android). The app is your personal mobile storage for recorded footage that you may want to keep and share with friends and family and if required, to forward to an insurance company or even the Police. Using GPS receiver and G sensor to record location, speed and force data to help provide important vehicle impact information. The powered ‘Click & Go’ screen mount is a new innovation which allows the camera to be permanently powered and easily removed if required. Utilising magnets and powered touch points, allowing the camera to be free from wires. The mount can be powered with either the supplied 12 volt, 4-metre power cable connected to an auxiliary power socket. Alternatively, the mount can be permanently hard-wired by using a Hardwire Kit (optional) specifically designed to be used with the comprehensive range of Nextbase Dash Cams. The user can choose from various options within the menu system, such as switching the Audio recording on/off, Video length (2, 3 or 5 minutes), Parking Mode, Resolution, Exposure and many other functions. Easy to use control buttons are flush to the screen and touch-sensitive, with illumination for easy navigation in dark conditions. As can be seen in the above photo, in daylight conditions the quality of the image is superb with massive amounts of detail, even the name of the hotel in the distance can be read clearly Images captured in poor lighting conditions are still incredibly crisp and clear with superb clarity of stationary objects When fitted in a Honda CR-V, the 412GW had to sit lower down on the screen with the suction mount due to the top middle section having a painted section. With the size of the Dash Cam and the lower position, it was found to be a bit too intrusive on the drivers’ visibility, but by using the self-adhesive mount provided it was able to be repositioned further up the screen behind the mirror. It’s worth bearing in mind that a Dash Cam should not be fitted in the swept area (Drivers’ windscreen wiper zone) to obstruct visibility. Overall, the 412GW performed incredibly well in all lighting conditions with easy to use controls and features. It really does seem to be a fit-and-forget driving aid, and hopefully, not one that will need to be used in anger. Technical Information Dimensions: 10.9 x 5 x 1.8 cm (W x H x D) (37mm incl. lens) Storage: Supports SDHC and SDXC Micro SD Cards up to 32GB (Class 10 recommended) to provide up to 4 hours of recorded footage before entering a new recording loop Battery Life: up to 30 minutes’ back-up in the event of an accident Recommended Retail Price: £129.00 Nextbase 412GW Dash Cam More Information
  7. Are Hybrids slow and boring?...we think not!

    The general perception of Hybrid cars could be along the lines of being owned and driven by environmentally-conscious, vegetarian, middle-aged Geography teachers....however, this is not the case. Toyota has done well to destroy this myth by demonstrating the speed and durability of their race cars, having been tried and tested over the few years and in some of the most demanding environments, such as the Le Mans 24 Hours. Toyota Gazoo Racing in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) Launched in 2012 and now entering its sixth year after five seasons of incredible competition and growth, the FIA World Endurance Championship has matured into one of the world’s most entertaining and respected motorsport series. Tracing its history back to 1953, when the World Championship for Sports Cars was launched, it became the Endurance Championship in 1981. The current WEC series was born out of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, which was also organised by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), and ran for two years from 2010-2011. All entrants join together to battle it out at iconic circuits such as Silverstone, Fuji Speedway, Nürburgring, Spa-Francorchamps and the cornerstone of the championship, the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans. To improve the odds of winning in the Le Mans 24 Hours and display its commitment to endurance racing, Toyota will enter three TS050 HYBRIDs in the races at Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans. TS050 HYBRID The TS050 Hybrid is Toyota’s third car since joining the championship in 2012. It features a 2.4-litre, twin turbo, direct injection V6 petrol engine, perfectly suited to the current championship regulations due to its limiting of fuel flow to the engine. Toyota expects to make good use of technology and know-how gained from its WEC campaign with turbo engines increasingly in use for road cars. This is combined with an 8MJ hybrid system which uses regenerative braking, like that featured in many Toyota road cars. Energy from front and rear motor-generators is recovered under braking and stored in a high-powered lithium-ion battery. It is then released as a boost for maximum performance and efficiency. Event 1 – Silverstone The Gazoo Racing team successfully negotiated challenging weather conditions to get their 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship campaign off to the best possible start and bring home the win in the #8 TS050 Hybrid of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima. For Davidson, winning at his home circuit, in front of a crowd of more than 50,000 spectators, was the perfect way to bring the #8 crew to the top step of the podium. He said: “It’s amazing to finally get our first win together. We had to work really hard for it though but did a great job both individually and as a team. We read the conditions correctly and made the right call on strategy in difficult conditions. We couldn’t be prouder to win this one.” The team is now preparing for the second round of the season, the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, taking place from 4-6 May. This race will be the first in which Toyota Gazoo Racing enter three hybrid-powered LMP1 cars, with the new line-up of Stéphane Sarrazin, Yuji Kunimoto and Nicolas Lapierre competing in the #9 TS050 Hybrid.
  8. Tesla’s stock prices may have dropped out of their highest orbit in recent weeks, but one of its sports cars is set to take a trip into outer space on Tuesday. And it’s bringing a passenger along for the ride. Elon Musk posted a new image of the old Tesla Roadster his rocket company SpaceX is using as a dummy payload on the maiden flight of its Falcon Heavy rocket, and it now has (what’s hopefully) a dummy wearing one of the company’s prototype space suits in the driver’s seat. THE 2020 TESLA ROADSTER IS AN ELECTRIFYING SPEED MACHINE Musk calls him Starman, and he previously said the car would be playing the David Bowie song with that title during the launch. There’s even a miniature version of the red roadster and driver mounted to the dashboard. Several cameras appear to be mounted to the vehicle, so it’s likely that video of its insertion into what Musk said will be a “billion year elliptical Mars orbit” will be released afterward. If the Florida launch is successful, the Falcon Heavy will become the most powerful rocket in and above the world. Space X plans to land all three of its reusable boosters, two on land and one on a drone ship at sea.
  9. Winter Driving

    Road safety and breakdown organisations are urging motorists to take extra care as winter weather is here! Road journeys are more difficult and treacherous when there is a fall of snow. GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging drivers to make good use of some simple safety tips in order to reduce the chance of risk, delay and difficulty – and to avoid putting additional strain on the emergency services and breakdown providers who are likely to be at full stretch in winter weather. Hints and Tips for safer motoring in Winter conditions Don’t drive if you don’t really need to. The easiest way to avoid trouble from winter conditions is not to venture out in the car. If you do have to make a road journey, then please ensure your car is properly equipped for the likely conditions. That’s because if you do experience a breakdown, you will most likely have to wait longer until help arrives. If bad weather threatens or has already arrived, then postpone your journey and eliminate the risk of becoming stuck somewhere. Listen for weather updates, and plan your travel accordingly. Prepare a set of essential items, including a shovel, fully charged mobile phone, torch, ice scraper, food, water, jump leads, first aid kit, warm clothes and a supply of sand or gravel to assist with grip if your wheels are spinning. Keep your speeds down, leave plenty of space between yourself and the vehicle in front, give room to snowploughs and gritter trucks, and be ready for sudden, rapid deteriorations in conditions. Remember that driving in winter conditions can be hard work, so ensure you build in breaks on your journeys. Take a look at the GEM e-Book on winter driving. It’s available for download free of charge from http://www.motoringassist.com/winter-driving/
  10. Book Review: Toyota Land Cruiser

    The complete history of one of the most famous 4x4s of all time The Land Cruiser is Toyota’s longest continually produced model. From its start as a utility vehicle built during a period of economic gloom and uncertainty after the Second World War, it is now a well-equipped, luxurious and highly capable prestige SUV. This book covers all the changes that have taken place over the years to provide a complete history of the Land Cruiser’s extraordinary heritage. The coverage includes the Land Cruiser’s outstanding success in some of the toughest environments of the world, and what it takes to modify it to meet the toughest of conditions. The author follows the extensive range history of the Land Cruiser from its earliest models, through the utility models, right up to the prestigious versions that exist today. The author draws on his considerable experience of both on-road and off-road testing to provide his informed professional judgement on this extraordinary vehicle. The first chapter deals with the origins of the Land Cruiser and how Military and Economic circumstances lead to the birth of a legend. The second chapter looks at the Land Cruiser range and how it varied over the years to accommodate the commercial and private markets. The third chapter looks at a specific model, the FJ40 and how it has evolved over the years to become one of the best 4WD vehicles ever built. The final chapter deals with modifying the Land Cruiser for expeditions, safari holidays and world speed record events! All in, this book is a fascinating read for any Land Cruiser enthusiasts and comprehensively covers the models from 1951 to present day. Numerous diagrams, data charts, photos (colour and mono) are used throughout to break up the written content making it easier the reader to pick up and put down as required and digest as much or as little information as desired. A very informative and attractively laid out book at a reasonable price! BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION Publisher: Amberley Publishing Publication: 15th December 2017 RRP: £14.99 ISBN: 978-1-4456-7173-4 Size: 234 x 165mm Binding: Paperback Extent: 96 pages Illustrations: 150 illustrations Rights: World, all languages Also available in Kindle, Kobo and iBook formats THE AUTHOR Nigel Fryatt is editor of the UK’s only multi-marque four-wheel drive publication, 4x4 Magazine. He has been a motoring journalist for over thirty years, having edited Sporting Cars, Cars and Car Conversions, and was also launch editor of MiniWorld, The Golf and Land Rover World. He has contributed to numerous international motoring publications. Nigel has been Publisher of IPC’s Specialist motoring titles and also Publisher at CH Publications and he is now a freelance editor and author. Besides editing 4x4 Magazine, he is currently a columnist and regular contributor to Classic Car Buyer.
  11. Car Review: Lexus LC500 Review

    OVERVIEW The LC500 is available as a 5.0 litre V8 which is bred from the race-track or if you are after something a little less aggressive and eco-friendly then look no further than the LC500h which is powered by a 3.5 litre V6 and hybrid motors. Available in standard trim, Sport or Sport+ versions are offered with very little difference in price between them. The LC500 that we road tested was the 5.0 litre V8 with Sport+ Pack. ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN The 5.0-litre V8 engine that Lexus has chosen to power the LC500 is a great choice to provide the flexibility for a smooth GT cruiser and also to propel the car to immense speeds in very little time. Combined with an excellent transmission, there is very little to complain about on the performance front. Utilising a 10-speed transmission which is controlled by Magnesium Paddle Shift and incorporates a manual ‘M’ mode for driver control and selection of the gears. Additionally, there is also the Drive Mode Select function which switches between Eco, Comfort, Normal, Custom, Sports S and Sports S+ modes to further enhance the drivers’ experience. Moving onto the chassis, an adaptive variable suspension featuring multi-link design engineered from scratch to provide excellent vehicle response and super-sharp handling but maintaining a superior ride comfort and stability. Adaptive Variable Suspension is used to control the damping forces on all shock-absorbers with the ability to manage 650 different variations of suspension settings. EXTERIOR The most definitive aspect of the LC500 has to be the exterior styling with its distinctive coupe body and futuristic lighting. Combine this with the fact that the body is not just stylish but also lightweight and extremely strong. Ultra-high tensile strength steel, lightweight aluminium and Carbon-Fibre Reinforced Plastic are used throughout the car ensuring high-rigidity throughout. The roof is available as either a glass panoramic or Carbon-Fibre infill (depending on model specification). Both roof panels are made to complement the styling of the LC500 and even incorporate the lines of a traditional Japanese sword on the rear edges of the chrome plating. There is a retractable rear spoiler and this extends automatically at speeds above 50 mph to provide extra downforce and stability at high-speed. The Sport+ Pack version has side aero intakes to reduce turbulence around the rear wheels to further improve handling. LED Headlights are an ultra-compact style fitted with triple-projector LED units which allow for a short front overhang which is crucial for high-speed handling. The rear lamps are also LED which are inspired by the afterburners of a Jet Fighter aircraft and have a holographic effect which also incorporates a sculptured metal frame that follows the Lexus ‘L’ motif throughout. SAFETY FEATURES The Lexus LC500 is designed with high-speed performance in mind, but safety features, both passive and active, are also a major design element of the car. A pop-up bonnet, activated by sensors mounted in the front bumper ensure that in the event of a collision with a pedestrian, the impact raises the bonnet and by allowing more space between the hard components of the engine compartment and the pedestrian, the level of injury is reduced. To protect the vehicle occupants, eight airbags are fitted, driver, passenger, head, knee and curtain shields running the full length of both cabin sides. INTERIOR The interior of the LC500 is no less spectacular than the exterior styling. Lexus has directed their design on an interior specifically focused on the driver. The steering wheel is crafted by a Takumi master and when grasped seems to instantly instil a feeling of confidence within the driver. Already, the overall feeling of the cars’ demeanour is coming through when seated in the comfortable and supportive sports seats, and this is even when it is parked with the engine off. All of the controls and driver interfaces are positioned to hand and are designed to be easy to operate when driving. The instruments are positioned to allow the driver to view them at all times and are in line with the natural view of the road ahead with very little distraction. The interior temperature is carefully monitored and adjusted to provide the occupants with the optimum environment for comfort and wellbeing. The Climate Concierge system features pioneering Nanoe® technology to release negatively charged particles into the cabin area to purify the air and deodorise the seats. The overall effect is to moisturise the skin and hair whilst leaving the occupants relaxed and fresh throughout the journey. Entertainment is provided by the usually high standards from Mark Levinson® Premium Surround system with GreenEdge™ technology and incorporates 13 speakers throughout the car. Designed specifically for the LC range, the system delivers a digital home-theatre experience and is further enhanced as an optional extra by Clari-Fi™ which rebuilds sound lost in MP3 digital compression. Boot space is sufficient for two weekend bags and other small items but you would be restricted to carrying a great deal more. The vehicle Battery is beneath the cover within the boot floor. TECHNOLOGY A Lexus wouldn’t be a Lexus if it wasn’t for the quality of build and the technology that is utilised to enhance the driving experience. The LC500 is no exception and the list of standard equipment is quite extensive. The driving data is very clearly displayed through a multi-function display panel and also through an optional, extra-wide (174mm x 48mm) ‘Head-Up Display’ on the windscreen. Information such as safety warnings, navigational guidance and engine readings are clearly displayed for the driver to review without compromising the view of the road ahead. The Premium Navigation system is built-in to the dashboard and features a split-screen 10.3” display with the input being made through either voice command or through a TouchPad with Remote Touch Interface. Driver warning systems such as tyre pressures monitoring, parking proximity and traffic sign recognition are clearly displayed within the vehicle using visual and audio to highlight the alert. Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert feature within the LC500. Radar devices mounted in the rear bumper detect vehicles in adjacent lanes that are not visible in the door mirrors. If the driver is indicating to change lanes and should another vehicle enter into the blind spot, a warning signal appears in the mirror along with a buzzer to warn the driver. The Rear Cross Traffic Alert functions by alerting the driver to another vehicle manoeuvring behind. ROAD TEST SUMMARY The Lexus Owners Club have been very fortunate to be offered the opportunity to road test the LC500 and this is our unbiased opinion of what we consider to be one of the best performance cars to roll off the Lexus production line. The version used for road test was the Sport+ Pack with the V8 engine. First thoughts when entering the car is that it is an easy to get in and out of which sometimes is not the case with other GT coupes. Once settled in the comfortable and supportive sports seat, the engine is started via push start button and foot applied to the brake pedal. Engage ‘D - Drive’ or ‘M - Manual’ through the selector and whichever mode suits your style of driving. The default mode is ‘Comfort’ with Eco, Sport and Sport+ on offer in the model we had. Pulling away and driving in built-up traffic conditions presented no issues to the car which drove sedately as any other Lexus, but when approaching a Motorway and entering the slip-road, well that’s a completely different kettle of fish. The engine and transmission are swift to deliver the power with absolutely no delay encountered. However, in Sport or Sport+ mode, the response time is even less. Power delivery is incredibly smooth and with gear changes made automatically or through the paddles, there was no bucking experienced as is the case with some other performance cars. As the soundtrack from the LC500 V8 engine via the tuned exhausts, well there is not much that can overshadow it. Something that was noticeable during the drive was that the cabin was incredibly quiet, even with the windows down, there was not any noticeable wind noise or draught, apart from the noise of the V8 when unleashed. The economy is not one of the main reasons for the decision to buy the V8 LC500, but on road test with varying styles of driving and traffic conditions, the LC delivered between 21.6 and 27.6 mpg. Carefully driven with very little traffic to hinder your journey you could probably achieve around 24.6 on average. Handling comparisons have been made with a Porsche 911 and the LC500 was deemed to be ‘not as responsive’. This is probably the case but the wheel certainly felt positive and grounded during application into bends. The suspension delivered a very smooth ride over a variety of road conditions and never faltered with delivery into corners. The transition between driving modes was noticeable with the dampers tightening considerably more so when placed in Sport or Sport+. Interior space is designed as a 2+2 seater but as is the same with all performance GT Coupe’s the rear seating, although adequate for younger children would be less suited to adults unless the seats were positioned further forwards. Driver controls are perfectly positioned for operation in normal driving circumstances. The Lexus touch panel is conveniently placed to control various functions is intuitive and easy to use, and the car also features a voice control to facilitate the operation of some features. The steering wheel also housed quite a few function buttons for Cruise Control, Audio, Lane Control, Telephone and Voice Control as is standard layout on many Lexus models. Above the instrument panel and housed in the binnacle are two rotary controls which operate the Driving Modes on the left-hand side (Comfort, Eco, Sport, Sport+) and on the right-hand side, there is Traction Control which has the option of ‘Off’ or ‘Snow’. But one of the best features available to the driver is the colour Head-Up Display displayed on the lower part of the windscreen. Providing useful information about speed and navigation along with other selectable data to the driver, this is definitely a very useful feature. Would we buy one? Most definitely, yes! However, which version would we choose? For the number of extras that you can acquire that would seriously enhance the drive and also the resale, the Sport+ Pack is the way forward. Considering the marginal cost between the options, the Sport+ pack is not much further to stretch and in our opinion would give so much more back in return. There is, however, a tough decision that has to be made and that is do you go for the V8 or the Hybrid? That would have to be a personal choice but with only 0.3 seconds on the 0-60 mph time between them, it’s definitely going to be a tough choice. TECHNICAL INFORMATION Engine 5.0 litre V8 petrol Transmission 10-speed Automatic (Rear Wheel Drive) Engine Power (bhp / kW) @rpm 477 / 351 @7100 Mpg (Combined) 24.6 0-62 Mph (secs) 4.4 CO2 Combined (g/km) 263 Above information based on LC500 with 21” wheels COST (effective as of September 2017) LC500h – from £76,595 LC500h Sport Pack – from £80,595 LC500h Sport+ Pack – from £85,895 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Special thanks to Snows Lexus, Hedge End for the loan of the Lexus LC500 used for road test For more information about the LC500 visit: http://www.snowsgroup.co.uk/lexus/ http://www.lexusownersclub.co.uk/forum/lexus-owners-club.html/lexus-reviews/lexus-lc500-review-r2/
  12. Product Review - XCP Protection Maintenance Fluids

    XCP have a range of Maintenance Fluids in the automotive and DIY market and have product placement with some major players in the automotive arena. The XCP range is quite unique, and this is mainly because of the properties of their products being vastly different to that of their competitors, making it safer to use with its higher flash point when using it on hot engine parts, very useful when spraying onto a hot exhaust manifold bolt in order to loosen it. We carried out a review for the products on an Alfa Romeo, which like most cars, is stored outside without cover all year round. Therefore, the resulting corrosion is quite minimal due to air being constantly circulated around the exposed parts. However, there are some linkages that are tighter than they should be, hinges and joints that aren’t as loose as they should be and general surface corrosion to take care of. So which product to use first? We opted for the Multi-Purpose spray to start with and then apply the Rust Protection on those parts that require a rust inhibitor. Finally, the Lubricate and Protect Maintenance Spray was used to seal in the newly freed-off and cleaned parts. How did we test the products? The test vehicle used for the lubricants was a 2006 Alfa Romeo GT with over 100k miles of British road use. It goes without saying that this is an ideal vehicle for any test evaluation, especially as it was used to dismantle original front suspension components. So how did the XCP Multi-Purpose Maintenance Spray perform? Prior to freeing off the seized components that were earlier identified, it is necessary to ensure that the fluid can enter between the two surfaces. The spray was of a high enough pressure to penetrate, and it would seem to have quite an effective capillary action necessary to find its way deep enough into the surface areas. After giving the components some time for the fluid to penetrate, the fasteners were undone with very little effort and noticeable traces of the fluid having travelled down through the threads. Prior to reassembling the components and fasteners that did not require any thread locking application, a liberal spraying of the Rust Protection spray was applied to any areas that you do not wish any corrosion setting in. Time will tell how effective this treatment is. Lubricate & Protect Maintenance Spray Anyone who has ever owned an Alfa Romeo will know how irritating the suspension creaking noises can be. Dry bushes are usually to blame and because of this, the suspension components were spayed with this spray prior to refitting. Once again, time will tell how effective this has been. Rust Protection Maintenance Spray To finish off any repair work and whilst you’re in the area it’s handy to liberally spray the Rust Blocker in the general area to ensure that no corrosion sets in with the salt deposits during the Winter months. Again, time will tell as to how efficient this spray is at preventing any corrosion. Summary Overall, it is most definitely a very impressive pack of Maintenance Sprays that seem to cover all eventualities that you would encounter when working on vehicles. Would we have some in the toolbox for the vehicles that come through for repair….Yes, most definitely! Product & Company Overview XCP produce a range of products to provide the highest standards in maintenance, lubrication and rust protection. They have a noteworthy list of credentials including Edd China, the AA (who in 2012 selected XCP™ ONE™ as their preferred multipurpose spray) and the Honda Racing British Super Bike Team. XCP products beat market leaders including WD40, ACF50 and PlusGas when it comes to performance (loosening & lubricating) and are safer to use as the liquids themselves are non-volatile and non-flammable. VIDEO CLIP XCP advert starring Edd China VIDEO CLIP Product flammability tests
  13. Spa Six Hours

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    More than 650 historic racing cars for this major annual rendezvous of clubs and classic cars enthusiasts alike. If you want to dream, remember, discover or merely admire the machinery, this Spa Six Hours meeting offers a quite unique and illustrious spectacle which annually attracts millions of an ever growing number of spectators. As from 9:00 am on Friday 16th September, cars will line up at the Eau Rouge grid and take to the track for their respective qualifying sessions. In the first instance it will be the turn of Spa One Hour followed by the Masters 70s Celebration cars and then at 10:45 am the prestigious sports cars of the Woodcote Trophy & Stirling Moss Trophy. A visit to the 'Maison de la Fédération Belge des Véhicules Anciens' (FBVA), located close by in the lounges of the Eau Rouge, is a definite must with the traditional coffee being offered upon presentation of the voucher to be found in the Rétro Classic News. Before 11:45 am, time to head off to the F1 stands where the mechanics will be busy bringing Masters Endurance Legends to life, about to belt on down to the Raidillon. Throughout the day there will be qualifying sessions with, and not to be missed at 2:25 pm the Grand Prix cars from the '50s and '60s. At 4:15 pm don’t forget the Masters Formula One FIA Championship. In the meantime you must pop on over to the Shopping Market, where numerous stands await you. After the Pre-66 Grand Touring at 6:45 pm, the qualifying sessions for the Six Hours endurance race can start. More than one hundred Touring and Grand Touring cars will head off from the endurance stands, with an never ending ballet of starts, returns to the stands, checking of set-ups and driver changes right through until dusk. Saturday 09:00 am Start of the first race of the morning, with everything taking place at the F1 stands; namely the fabulous grid of Grand Prix Cars. Why not watch the setting up of the starting grid from the F1 terraces accessible to one and all. Each race is immediately followed by the prize giving on the F1 podium with the presentation of the trophies, the flowers and champagne with which to spray the fans. Back to the Eau Rouge in the 'Maison de la Fédération Belge des Véhicules Anciens' or head on off to the Parking F1 to admire the arrival of the thousands of classic cars, to have a chat with their proud owners and to share one's passion for the Oldtimers. Two small trains will be on hand to run you around the paddocks and back to the Eau Rouge for the start of the Touring cars or alternatively why not pop into the Maison FBVA for a light snack? But undoubtedly the most impressive will be the grid set-up for the SIX HOURS with the Paddock Girls at 3:30 pm. The best vantage point will from the terraces of the endurance stands. Following the slow speed formation lap the start will be given for this thrilling six hours race to be followed from the stands prior to watching the on-going refuelling sessions bellow the paddocks. Once the race is into its rhythm time to meet up with friends in the paddock area and to enjoy something to eat here or there. At 10:00 pm, the finish of the race with the prize giving held on the endurance podium in front of hundreds of spectators mingling with the mechanics and drivers. Sunday as from 09.00 am, more races with Spa One Hour, the gorgeous Jaguar Classic Challenge and the two races of the Formula 1 single-seaters of the '50s and 60s, as also those of the '70s and '80s. At 3:40 pm, the start of the Touring cars of U2TC brings us back to the Eau Rouge for a welcome at the Maison FBVA. A further visit to the paddock area to browse over the stalls set-up in the Shopping Market and to lay one's hand on a book, a souvenir, a rare item. Link to website for more information http://www.spasixhours.com/?lang=en
  14. Oulton Park Gold Cup

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    Historic Touring Car Challenge & Tony Dron Trophy The Oulton Park Gold Cup is the circuit's signature event - and much more than your average historic race meeting, with a plethora of themed off-track entertainment. Off-track attractions currently confirmed are shown below - much more will be added over the coming weeks so check back soon for additional 2018 content! Website Link for more information http://www.oultonparkgoldcup.com/whats-on/
  15. Thruxton 50th Anniversary Celebration

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    2018 sees Thruxton celebrate its 50th anniversary. To mark the occasion, a two-day event will celebrate everything Thruxton, with on-track action and off-track attractions. Already confirmed to race over the two days: Historic Touring Car Challenge/Tony Dron Trophy Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy/Stirling Moss Trophy HSCC Guards Trophy Sports & GT Cars HSCC Historic Formula Ford 1600 HSCC Super Touring Cars HSCC Libre - HF2, CF3, FF2000 etc M7RC Mini Se7en M7RC Mini Miglia Link to site for more information http://thruxtonracing.co.uk/racing/50th-anniversary#tab-tickets
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