Whilst this is our December roundup, it's also going to be the first of 2021 so from everyone at Lockton, a very Happy New Year.
Many writers more erudite than us will almost certainly have summarised 2020 by the time you read this so we won't try to better their efforts; suffice to say that the last 10 or so months have been bizarre, bewildering and at times bordering on frightening for many.
At the time of writing, a further countrywide lockdown has been announced and looks likely to remain in place for some weeks. Lockton remains committed to working with positivity – with our clients, our suppliers and our colleagues.
Our Performance division in particular is looking forward to being able to head back out to motoring events as and when they take place again to catch up with old friends and make new ones.
The New Year also marks a change in our monthly roundup; it'll focus more on news from the automotive world, less on Covid and more on the things you've told us you'd like to see.
Please keep the feedback coming so that we can keep on giving you more of what you want and less of what you don't!
We have started a new series looking at iconic cars. We began with BMW's M3 – a modern day icon and this time we turn to another automotive masterpiece. Arguably the original hypercar, McLaren's F1 not only raised the bar for outright performance but employed ruthless attention to weight saving coupled with revolutionary design and manufacturing techniques. You can read the article here.
With this in mind, we'll continue with the theme of positivity and it's good news for historic motorsport fans, with Goodwood confirming the dates for the 2021 Members Meeting, Festival of Speed and Revival – all are planned to be held, with spectators. We understand that the majority of tickets will those rolled over from last year's postponed events but that misses the point – motorsport is back at Goodwood.
Motor Racing Legends has also released its 2021 calendar with a full season planned including the Donington Historic Festival and races as part of the ever excellent Silverstone Classic weekend in the summer.
We can't mention motorsport without sending a hearty congratulations to Lewis Hamilton for achieving a record equalling seventh drivers' title. The next target has to be 100 race wins and surely an eighth championship by the end of 2021?
Staying with Formula One, it has been reported that McLaren have sold a minority stake in the racing team to a consortium headed up by MSP Sports Capital. The initial 15% will rise to 33% by the end of 2022. The deal does not include the road car arm of the company and with Zak Brown's recent commitment to remain as team principal, coupled with Mercedes power units from 2021 and what looks to be a strong driver line-up, the extra capital and expertise from the new stakeholder makes for an exciting future for the Woking team – the second most successful in the history of the sport.
We are also excited to confirm that we are almost ready to launch our plans for the classic and specialist motor trade. It's fair to say that the events of 2020 slowed this down but we're heading back towards being on schedule to provide this sector with the same excellence of service, advice and cover that we already give to over 8,000 classic and specialist car owners. Headed by an industry veteran of over 25 years, we're excited by the opportunity to introduce Lockton to another part of the automotive world.
We don't think we have a choice on where to begin this month – the news that sales of new petrol and diesel cars will cease from 2030, with hybrids ceasing 5 years after this date.
It's clearly a huge step in the evolution of the motor car. In some ways, it's also exciting as we sit as both witness and participant to history and we can only speculate as to how this development will change the way cars, and in particular high performance and luxury models, will now evolve.
Does this mean the end for all petrol powered cars? At this point, we say absolutely not. The ban relates to new cars only and we have yet to see anything which broadens this so we think that for now the cars we all love that are ICE powered will remain in use.
This is an area we will be looking to explore more and we'll be rolling out some great content as 2021 unfolds, including interviews and discussion with industry figures and key car people. In advance of this, have a look at this feature compiled by the team at Evo, focusing on the future for the performance car – click here for a great read.
At this point, we're also delighted to introduce you to Max Girardo. Max will be known to many in the classic car world and to many more as the voice of the 'auction for things that money can't buy' hosted by Chris Evans up until quite recently on Radio 2.
Max has agreed to write some guest articles for Lockton from his perspective as a classic car dealer working all over the world. He has over 25 years' experience at all levels of the marketplace – and he's a dyed in the wool petrolhead too! Click here to read his first column for Lockton.
Returning to car news, we mentioned last month that Bentley had announced a move to a range made up entirely of EV and some details of the first of these cars have been revealed. Precise details are not yet known, nor how the car will look but it is expected to be a crossover type vehicle rather than following the existing range of cars – Bentley have hinted that it might be similar to the Porsche Taycan but we do know that they will use parent VW group for much of the technology.
This in itself will be no bad thing as VW is already selling EVs under its ID brand and it's fair to say that the technology will be well tested by the middle of the decade.
Whilst we're mentioning the German manufacturer, they have also announced their complete withdrawal from all motorsport, with their motorsport engineering team transferring to the main group and focusing primarily on future EV development and other propulsion methods.
VW's recent success has been of the rally and rallycross variety and the records set by the staggeringly fast I.D. R (not least of which was to obliterate the Goodwood FoS hillclimb record, which had stood for 20 years, by almost 2 seconds) so news that at least some of the team behind this incredible machine will be helping to develop future road cars has to be a positive sign – certainly for motoring enthusiasts.
On the subject of motorsport and record setting and breaking, news too that the Bloodhound LSR is said to be closer to a final investment to help it finally achieve its promise – that of breaking the land speed record. The company's management have stated that this is a make or break moment which will ultimately either allow the project to continue or fold.
We sincerely hope that it's the latter – a British attempt on the highest peak in motor car records following a rich history of record holders stretching back almost as far as the automobile. We wish them every success – and any vehicle which needs an entire Jaguar V8 engine to power its fuel pump can't fade into obscurity, surely? A future article on the land speed record will look further at both the Bloodhound and its illustrious predecessors – watch out for this.
We next turn to our usual run through of new models for December, albeit now in abbreviated form as follows.
- Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA/GTAm – an even faster version of the firm's fastest saloon, with aggressive cosmetic additions and a big rear spoiler (and rear seat delete on the GTAm).
- Jaguar F-Pace – midlife upgrade for the popular SUV including the addition of a plug-in hybrid model for the first time.
- McLaren Elva – open top, V8, 800bhp, no roof. Or windscreen, or side glass. Active air management, faster than the Senna. £1.4 million and only 399 to be built. Reports of the demise of the ICE powered supercar have clearly been exaggerated.
- Porsche 911 GT3 – the latest version of the iconic sportscar continues with Porsche's tried and tested approach of relative simplicity. Straight six 4 litre engine and both an automatic and manual gearbox likely to be available plus the track focused steering, suspension and aerodynamic aids we've come to expect from this car.
- Rolls Royce Ghost – the firm's smaller saloon receives a refresh designed to improve its already ultra-luxurious ethos. No sign of electric power yet for the Sussex-based manufacturer.
- Volkswagen Golf GTI – now in its eight generation, the evergreen hot hatchback continues the theme set by the outgoing model. Available in 242bhp regular and 287bhp Clubsport forms and again with either manual or DSG dual clutch gearbox, it will offer GTI-specific trim and interior tech including driving modes and will continue to offer a proper electrically operated differential.
There are more exciting cars arriving over the winter – we'll continue to round these up next month.
Glenmarch will continue to bring you news from the classic car auction world. Their 2020 roundup can be found here and we are publishing their monthly news roundup as a separate feature going forward.
They are also adding sales results for specific cars to our new icon series and a link to their online sales tracker. Our first icon feature [insert link to article] looked at BMW's M3 and the next will look at a sports car built in Surrey that set benchmarks that still stand 25 years later – any guesses…
This is where we'd love to hear from you. What's your motoring icon and why? Let us know and we'll include some of your story. Whether it's your bedroom poster car, a car you've owned or one that simply set your world on fire, your stories are what make the car world such a great place to be.
Whilst on the subject of auction results, we feel compelled to mention the world record price set at auction by Phillips for a Heuer Monaco worn by Steve McQueen during filming of Le Mans. The watch sold for just over $2.2million at their New York sale on the 12 December, comfortably surpassing the figure achieved by the last Monaco McQueen wore whilst making this iconic movie (just under $800,000 in 2012). We wrote about both the movie and the longstanding link between cars and watches in previous articles here
This month we're taking a break from this feature but it will return. In its place, we have an amazing interview for you to enjoy. Lockton are privileged to look after a number of McLaren F1's and one of our clients talked to us about what it's like to live with this phenomenal car. You don't need to be a diehard F1 fan to know who Adrian Newey is (for the few who might not, he's arguably the best F1 designer of his generation) and we're extremely grateful to him for taking the time out of his incredibly busy schedule to speak to us. You can read the full interview here.
We aren't done with insights either. Next month, we'll be sitting down with one of our associates to talk car clubs – Lockton's involvement with owners clubs forms a significant part of our business and we look forward to sharing some of this with you.
So 2021 is here, 2020 is firmly in the rear view mirror and we can't wait to see you all again at a motoring event. Drive safely!