We write this month's roundup with a sense of Déjà vu. Last July, we reported on the start to lockdown easing and we find ourselves once again seeing life begin its slow return to normal. What form that normal might take is still unclear but it does seem that some of us can now load up the car for those family holidays once again.
Where better to start this month than with Salon Prive. Lockton's sponsorship moves to Gold for this amazing event and we will be hosting the Club Trophy on Saturday 4th September. You can read more from Simon Ambler, Head of Lockton Performance here.
Lockton at your fingertips
We begin this month with exciting news. The latest version of our client portal is now live. You can manage your entire insurance portfolio here, quickly, simply and safely.
It will complement the already excellent levels of service that our Client Managers deliver and make Lockton available to our clients wherever they are and whenever they need us.
You can read more here or you can speak to your Client Manager to find out more.
Where else to begin but Silverstone. 140,000 fans descended on the Northamptonshire circuit to witness both a new format to Formula One racing and what became a memorable main event.
The British Grand Prix was the first to feature a 17 lap sprint race. This meant that qualifying was moved to Friday evening with the results determining the starting grid for the sprint on Saturday. The result of the sprint would then set the grid for Sunday's race.
Despite a determined performance from Lewis Hamilton, achieving pole by mere hundredths of a second, Max Verstappen was able to get a stronger start when the lights went out and drove away to a 1.4 second victory.
This left Hamilton starting second on Sunday and many wondering if this was to be the season's defining moment – Mercedes are traditionally strong at the race closest to their UK base and anything but a win would indicate that Red Bull had got the 2021 season under complete control.
The race did turn out to be defining – and how. Hamilton started well and immediately set about challenging Verstappen for the lead, with the British driver appearing in the first few corners to have better speed then his Dutch rival.
The crucial moment occurred halfway through the first lap. As the Red Bull exited onto the old pit straight, it was clear that Hamilton had managed a better exit and he closed in as the pair entered the mighty Copse corner – one of the fastest on the F1 calendar. There was contact, which sent Verstappen into the gravel and barrier at what was later to confirmed to be an impact in excess of 51g.
The race was red flagged and at the restart, Hamilton fell behind Ferrari's Charles Leclerc. This was further compounded by a 10 second penalty following the lap 1 accident. Hamilton chased down the cars ahead over the last 20 or laps, passing teammate Bottas, then McLaren's Norris and Leclerc both inside at Copse again, before claiming victory to the delight of the crowd.
Red Bull remained unhappy with the result and continued their protest after the race – overshadowing further improvement from both Leclerc and Norris with the latter scoring further strong points to stand fourth in the championship.
Hungary's race saw further drama, with Hamilton's teammate misjudging his braking at the first corner of the first lap in wet conditions, colliding with McLaren's Norris and both Red Bulls. This left Verstappen with significant damage and, despite an amazing effort by the team, he struggled throughout the race and finished a distant ninth.
The red flag during lap one coincided with the rain stopping and much of the track drying. This led to cars pitting for slick tyres at the end of the formation lap – apart from Lewis Hamilton. This led to the surreal sight of a single car lining up for the restart, with everyone else starting from the pitlane.
Hamilton pitted a lap later and immediately dropped back to last place before fighting his way back to third, behind a resurgent Vettel and surprise winner Esteban Ocon, celebrating his maiden win and the first for Alpine. He was no doubt assisted by veteran teammate Fernando Alonso, who celebrated his fortieth birthday in style with a fantastic battle for 10 laps with a charging Hamilton. Vettel was subsequently disqualified due to an irregularity with his fuel sample, leaving Hamilton and Mercedes heading into the 3-week summer break leading both championships.
The first race of the second half will be Spa and, with Mercedes usually being stronger in the latter part of the season, it promises more excitement.
July also saw another welcome return – that of the Goodwood festival of Speed after a 2 year absence.
We've written about this fantastic weekend here replacing our usual motoring icons article. Fear not, this will return next month and we have a great car lined up for you!
We have a theme linked to several of our car club partners this month and we start with Aston Martin and news that the British car maker is committed to EV only models after 2025, in line with many other manufacturers.
This will also mean the end of the continuation cars they have produced in recent years, such as the DB4 GT and 007 replica DB5. Whilst this is sad news, there remain many Aston Martin restoration companies who will continue to ensure that older cars remain on the roads for many years to come.
Aston Martin have launched the Valhalla – their first mid-engined supercar. Powered by a V8 produced by AMG and coupled with an electric motor, the car produces 940bhp, has a top speed of around 217mph and is said to be targeting a 6½ minute lap of the Nurburgring. Prices will start at around £580,000.
You can find out more about our insurance policies for Aston Martins here.
Heading to Italy next and a new car from Ferrari – possibly one of their most important in recent years.
The 296 GTB is a V6 (Ferrari's first since the Dino of the early seventies) but uses hybrid technology to produce a total of 818bhp. The engine is capable of revving to 8,500rpm and we can only imagine the sound this will make, as Italian V6 engines have a rich aural history.
The technology is positioned just below the flagship SF90 but with a weight of around 1,500kgs, Ferrari's focus is very much on making the 296 a driver's car. Prices are believed to start at around £230,000 with UK deliveries expected 18 months – 2 years away.
Lockton are the official insurance broker to the Ferrari Owners Club and you can find out what we offer Ferrari owners here.
Not to be outdone, Porsche has announced the fastest version yet of its Cayenne SUV. The Turbo GT boasts some figures which are, by any standards, impressive;
- 627ft lbs of torque
- 189mph maximum speed
- 3.3seconds to hit 62mph from rest
- 7:38 time around the Nurburgring
The car has been developed by Porsche's GT division – responsible for all GT-badged variants – so the entire drivetrain and chassis has received a comprehensive makeover. Engine, brakes, suspension and steering have all been upgraded significantly to cope with the demands of allowing a 2.2 tonne vehicle to drive in a way that would have been unthinkable even a decade ago.
As insurance partners to the Porsche Club of Great Britain, Lockton is well versed in what Porsche owners expect from their insurance. More details can be found here.
We finish with Lamborghini and a car which represents the end of an era. The newly revealed Aventador LP780-4 Ultimae will be the last car powered solely by the V12 engine for which big Lamborghinis have been synonymous for over fifty years.
Producing 769bhp, the model is based on the SVJ and will be made in limited numbers, of 350 coupes and 250 roadsters. Prices will start at £342,000 and demand will undoubtedly be high for the last of the breed.
If you own a Lamborghini, then you might benefit from the insurance policy designed for owners of these iconic motor cars. You can find out more here.
It takes a brave person to take on Porsche's 959 but the Gembella Marsien does exactly that. Based on a 992 Turbo S, the firm have created a car based on the legendary 959 Dakar rally model. The car is a departure from the original tuning firm's outlandish creations and was designed by Marc Philipp Gembella, son of the company's late founder as the first car to be made under his company's name.
The car has been re-engineered to be useable off-road with adjustable suspension, enabling it to be raise dup to 250mm higher than the standard ride height, which is the same as the standard car.
Gembella's take includes a completely new carbon body, with only a few standard parts being retained and it marks a new chapter in the history of this famous tuning family.
From Porsche to Hertfordshire and a small company called Dowsetts Classic Cars. You may not have heard the name but you'll probably be familiar with their founder – a certain Ant Anstead, of Wheeler Dealers fame (amongst other TV projects).
Their Tipo 184 resembles a 1930's Grand Prix car. This is no bad thing when you consider the cars and drivers of the era. Auto Unions, Mercedes' original Silver Arrows and heroes such as Caracciola and Nuvolari.
However, the Tipo 184 is based around something a little more modern, albeit with links to older cars and using a Mazda MX-5 as a base and taking the chassis, engine, suspension and gearbox to create a car which you can either build yourself for around £20,000 plus donor car or £60,000 if Dowsetts build it for you.
Ambitious future plans include a one-make race series and making the car road legal.
Elsewhere, a disused tunnel near Daventry has been converted into a £12 million car testing facility, including an innovation centre. The 1.6 mile perfectly straight tunnel at Charwelton, abandoned since 1968, will be used to assess vehicles' high speed aerodynamic performance and efficiency.
Road surface has already been laid and it is expected that the facility will be open in October, hoping to attract manufacturers from across Europe.
We have reported on the semi-conductor chip shortage over the last six months and both Mercedes and Jaguar Land Rover have recently reported that the situation is still some way from being resolved, with lower sales predicted well into the fourth quarter of 2021. Globally, sales are predicted to have been impacted by as much as US$110 billion as manufacturers struggle to make sufficient volume to meet customer demand.
The knock-on effect of this is that certain cars are in short supply, leading to a rise in values. This isn't limited to low production, specialist cars either with some mass produced models seeing prices for second-hand cars increase.
We suggest that you check the value of your own vehicle and let us know if any change is required.
We end our news on a positive note, with confirmation that a green card will no longer be required when you travel into the EU. This was agreed as part of continuing discussions between the UK and EU following the UK's exit from the EU in January.
You can read what we sent out to our clients here.
New cars – and July is relatively quiet
- Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA – now on sale. Wilder version of the already excellent Quadrifoglio and priced at more than double that car's figure.
- Alpina B4 – the German tuner's usual take on fast BMW's with emphasis on comfort; over 450bhp by using the same engine as the M4.
- McLaren Artura – entry level with over 600bhp from its hybrid V6 motor and a top speed above 200mph.
- Porsche 992 GTS – the by-now standard car spanning the gap between the basic 911 and wilder GT3 versions. Coupe, convertible and Targa options and a power hike to 473bhp.
Glenmarch auction review
You can find this month's roundup here and it includes news on the first Grand Prix winning car driven by Lewis Hamilton to have been sold. The sale took place live at the British Grand Prix following Saturday's sprint race.
July – summer's here, lockdown easing, normal returning?
So that's July 2021 done. Thousands returning to motoring events and enjoying some warm weather, coupled of course with the odd downpour, roads getting busier again and life beginning to feel just a little bit normal once again.
We'll be back next month and our roundup will include another motoring icon and all of the regular news from the motoring world.