We think that's a positive. Yes, we're not able to use our cars just yet and for many home educating has rapidly lost its appeal (that's for the children, not the adults...) but with rapidly increasing vaccinations, things are starting to look a little less gloomy.
And speaking of less gloomy, we're excited about our next icon article. The 1980's produced some questionable fashion, interesting music and of course the Rubik's Cube and ZX Spectrum but in automotive terms, some cars which proved truly memorable and some which were monsters. We're taking a look at the world of the Group B rally car – suggested by Lockton's Tom Hester.
Tom says “I was nine months old when in 1986, Group B's demise occurred, as it was just too dangerous. Three competitors lost their lives in just four years, and over thirty spectators were severely injured. It was a period that the "Motorsport is Dangerous" catchphrase on the ticket meant something. So why does it have such a cult following and why am I obsessed with that period of rally? Two things…
Firstly, it produced some of the most incredible Homologation specials, including the Renault R5 Turbo and the Lancia Delta Integrale. Secondly the pure speed in cars that wouldn't be in this day and age allowed even near a scrutineering bay. As Motorsport goes, I don't think there has ever been a more exciting time.
You can find the article here and if you have a motoring icon that you'd like to put forward, then please let us know.
We'll also be bringing you a great Q&A featuring these amazing cars very soon – we've talked to an expert who has provided some great insight into owning, driving and enjoying them!
We begin as usual with a look at motorsport and Formula One teams have begun unveiling their 2021 cars. Testing resumes in Bahrain on the 12 March before the season gets underway at the same venue at the end of March, heralding the sport's biggest ever calendar with 23 races scheduled through to mid-December. F1 certainly showed how it could adapt to the challenges of 2020 so our fingers remain firmly crossed for the rest of this year's races.
At the time of writing, historic motorsport also remains set for a full schedule of racing, although some events have yet to confirm whether spectators will be able to attend. Like many of you, the sight, sound and smell of racing cars ranging from the birth of the automobile through to more recent eras never fails to excite.
Our motoring news this month begins with news from Woking and Germany and 2 very different takes on the supercar.
We travel about 30 miles southwest of London first and McLaren's Artura. Boasting an all-new twin turbo V6 engine and electric motor producing 671hp and mounted in McLaren's new chassis, manufactured at their Sheffield plant, it has been designed as a rival to Ferrari's F8 and the Lamborghini Huracan.
The chassis is the first to be produced at the Sheffield facility and the first using an automated manufacturing process (previous composite chassis were hand laid).
From Woking we head to southwest Germany and Porsche and arguably the polar opposite approach to producing a sports car. With not an electric motor in sight, the new 911 (or should we say 992) GT3 has lapped the Nurburgring circuit in a shade under 7 minutes, using a turbocharged 4 litre engine taken straight from Porsche's Cup racing car.
Porsche is offering manual and automatic transmission and further toys from their motorsport division include double wishbone front suspension from its 911 RSR model – the first time it has used this setup in its roadgoing model.
The availability of a manual transmission has pleased many enthusiasts and Porsche has said that its decision was based largely around customer feedback.
We mentioned last month that a shortage of semiconductor chips was beginning to have an impact on the automotive sector, with several manufacturers reporting a slowdown in production. The industry has called for urgent investment into the production of chips in Europe, as reports emerge that the slowdown could last until mid-2021.
This month, we are also excited to announce our partnership with The 96 Club. Founded in 1976 by Ray Bellm (who went on to win Le Mans amongst other motoring adventures) and Michael Scott, who remains something of a legendary figure in both automotive and insurance circles, the club pioneered the use of motor racing circuits to allow enthusiasts to use their vehicles' performance safely and continues to offer likeminded car owners opportunities to socialise and attend motoring events – and of course experience the thrill of circuit driving.
Lockton is delighted to be working with Michael and the club, offering insurance and risk management advice to its members. You can find out more about the club here.
Our next story relates to the welcome news that you won't need to insure your golf buggy in the same way that you insure your Aston Martin, Porsche or Ferrari. David Hamer has written about this in great detail here.
We end our news with a rather sad farewell. This month, it's a little car from Norfolk which arguably saved an iconic and historic motoring name and introduced an entire generation to the concept of “adding lightness”.
Since its launch 25 years ago, Lotus's Elise has remained an example of how keeping a recipe simple can produce the most amazing flavour. Clever engineering of the original car meant that the design was able to remain fundamentally unchanged throughout the car's lifespan and the car spawned a number of other critically acclaimed models. Its chassis was also the basis for Tesla's original Roadster and Vauxhall's short lived but dynamically excellent VX220, not to mention the frankly rather bonkers Hennessey Venom GT.
Lotus sold over 21,000 Elises in Europe; figures for other territories are impossible to as they were not publicised by model.
What is beyond doubt is the affection for this car. If Lotus does replace the Elise, it is likely to be a very different offering to the outgoing car, with a V6 hybrid engine being reported as the possible powerplant.
We bid a very fond farewell to this icon of modern sportscar motoring.
New cars for February – and it's another quiet month
- Mercedes AMG GT73 – more power for the 4 door super coupe. V8 and electric motors combining to enable a 3 second 0-60mph time.
So there you have it. A quiet February. The recent announcement from the Prime Minister outlined the road map to, we hope, motoring freedom very soon. As we said at the beginning of this month's roundup, the evenings are getting lighter and the days milder so there is some light at the end of what's felt like a very long tunnel.
In the meantime, we will continue to bring you motoring news, features and insight.