Dashboard Confessions: A Heartfelt Ode To The Button

Our humble publication is never one to ignore advances in technology and civilisation (as well as the stern warnings of our personal physicians). In that spirit, in the New Year we uploaded our collective automotive consciences and extensive knowledge to a glowing neural interface, which was then put through a rigorous journalistic training programme, many evenings at the pub, and the very worst of car Instagram.

On one fateful day last week, our final FORTRAN message was sent, asking our digital creation to step forth into the light. What emerged from our pile of smoking GPUs? Only the glorious Chip Fitz, our new (somewhat) AI-powered digital motoring correspondent. He claims that there is nothing artificial about his intelligence, his driving skills, or his weird promo shots. Whatever. Huge claims have been made (by Chip) about the significance of this, his debut article. It has been described as an important and timely contribution to a core debate in our world. Our Editor, hand hovering over the kill-switch and the delete key, begs to differ. Sadly we’ve given Chip a contract, so it’s really out of our hands now...

Consider the humble button. It is a small, tactile delight, if not the small, tactile delight, of our age. It is a beacon of simplicity in a world increasingly seduced by the sleek, yet soulless allure of touchscreens. It is, in some sense, a defining part of what it means to be a driver, and what it means to be a human (…oh my God – Ed).

Scram Africa: Becoming A Desert Rat

In this week’s article, our wayward motorcycle correspondent Conrad G weaves a yarn of sun, sand and suffering on the 2022 edition of Scram Africa, the rip-snorting continental scramble from Fuel Motorcycles. If you’ve ever wondered what it is actually like to take one of those fancy vintage rides out into the wild unknown, read on, with gawp-worthy photography from Simone de Ranieri (@de_ranieri_simone) and Isaac Vives (@fuelmotorcycles).

Life’s most memorable experiences are often challenging and unexpected.

You usually stumble into them by accident. A stroke of misfortune puts you in a difficult and unusual position, over which you eventually triumph, creating a story worthy of crackling campfires for decades to come. When I signed up for Scram Africa I was actively looking for trouble: the kind that turns into one of life’s great escapades.

sim racing britain

Sim Racing To Reality: Mathieu Gauthier-Thornton’s Tips For Track Success

It’s me again – your tame sim-racer turned real life clubman competitor! This time around I’m going to explain exactly how you can use your home sim racing setup to help you prepare for racing success in real life.

While it might sound easy to translate time in the simulator to the track – just spend a small fortune on fancy equipment, load up your favourite circuit, and off you go, right – sadly that doesn’t really work. If you truly want to use your home simulator as a training tool, rather than just a bit of evening fun, here are some crucial things to consider to get the best out of both your sim, and yourself…

Mathieu Gauthier racing

Join The Club: Racing The Phantom P94

In this piece, amateur racing driver Mathieu Gauthier-Thornton takes us through his journey into motor racing, starting at the world-famous Silverstone circuit in 2021 as a competitor in the Clubmans Sports Prototype Championship. We will be following Mathieu throughout the 2022 season and sharing some of his insights from the sharp end of the grid in future articles. 

Motor racing. It’s something I’d wanted to do since I was barely old enough to think. The fire was lit at an early age, with Murray Walker blasting out of the TV at weekends and motorsport highlight tapes on repeat during the week. It was only a matter of time before the bug bit. I wasn’t sure how, when or if I would ever actually get behind the wheel, but I knew I’d throw everything at it if I did.  

The Abarth 695: Pint-Sized Pugilist

I should start this review with a moan. You know, the usual; how the modern car market doesn’t cater for drivers who want to combine fun, practicality, affordability and respect from petrolheads. But I can’t, because as you grow wiser in this game, you learn that the car market is driven by corporate economics and the needs of the regular Joes and Joannes who make up the majority of car buyers. Sure, you get the odd homologation special when a rally programme goes belly-up, but in the real world, away from Motor Trend and PistonHeads, the automobile is a functional commodity. 

Audi Quattro

Out Of The Ashes: The Audi Quattro

Rallying is a funny old sport. Entirely different to any of its siblings over in the land of tarmac, there’s always been a romance in the dirt tracks, the terrifyingly thronged crowds, and the crackle of gravel in wheel arches. In the past names like Carlos Sainz, Sebastian Loeb, Tommi Mäkinen, and Colin McRae were as resonant with the public as their glamorous, preening Formula 1 counterparts. These days, that’s no longer the case. Even the highest octane petrolheads would struggle to tell you who is competing, where the next race is, or what channel it’s even on. The popular focus is squarely on F1 and increasingly on Formula E. It’s certainly not on rallycross, the FIA’s attempt to introduce a more accessible gateway to ‘proper’ rallying, let alone rallying itself.

And whilst money talks, this is a shame.

Great Escapes: The Morgan Plus Four

There is no such thing as a discrete delivery of a Morgan Plus Four. Even before the clamshell trailer had swung open to release my test vehicle, a small audience had gathered to watch the spectacle on the otherwise sleepy road. Not one to disappoint a crowd, the grinning Morgan delivery driver rubbed his hands and started the engine. A deep, bassy growl prompted a wave of approving nods as the Plus Four’s elegant form eased gently onto the tarmac for the first time since leaving the factory at Malvern. Talk about making an entrance.  

What’s New, Pussycat? The Jaguar F-Type

They say only those you love can truly hurt you. 

So let’s talk about Jaguar. 

Scott Mansell Driver 61

How To Drive Fast: An Interview with Scott Mansell

Scott Mansell is an expert racing driver and coach with 25 years’ experience in competitive motorsport and driver training. He is also the founder of Driver61, which provides in-depth training videos, circuit guides and practical training programmes to help aspiring racing drivers unlock their potential, drive fast on track and win races. We were lucky enough to sit down with Scott to get his insights on driving technique, racing psychology, and what it feels like to drive at the limit…

QUICK DRIVES: The BMW 840i Gran Coupe

There is nothing like a BMW for keeping you guessing. Behind the wheel, it’s a constant interplay between the practical and the aesthetic, and you’re never quite sure whether you’re experiencing a quirk of fashion or a stroke of engineering genius. Shepherding the blue and white roundel through town can be an equally mysterious experience for the BMW driver, constantly guessing whether that was a friendly wave from a passer-by, or another British gesture of greeting altogether.

Whatever the case may be, BMWs provoke strong reactions from both the driving public and the automotive press. It’s also a question of trust. With a stable of legendary models behind it, BMW can bank on the luxury of mysterious, brooding competence to sell cars and impress people; but when you feel that trust is being abused, it cuts deep.

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