Last month's roundup needed a hasty edit as the UK re-entered lockdown conditions, albeit not as total as earlier this year. We're therefore writing November's with the caveat “at the time of writing”!
As this will also be the last roundup of this calendar year too, we've changed a few things and we even managed a quick automotive themed Q&A with the jolly old chap with the red suit and white beard himself – we hope you (and your children!) enjoy reading as much as we enjoyed speaking to the main man at his busiest time of the year.
We'll start by congratulating Lewis Hamilton on his record equalling seventh World Drivers' Championship, secured in suitably dramatic style at the Turkish Grand Prix. Starting sixth after a wet (or should that be monsoon-like) qualifying session, and with his Mercedes appearing not to be optimised for the conditions, the British driver struggled during the early stages of the race to stay on the pace set by the front runners, headed by Lance Stroll, enjoying his maiden pole position.
As the rain stopped and parts of the track began to dry, the order changed, as did the fastest lap with numerous drivers claiming the quickest time. Hamilton overruled his team and, perhaps with memories of the Chinese GP of 2008, refused to pit, opting to stay out on intermediate tyres whose lifespan could not be accurately predicted. With rain forecast for the final laps, fans across the world were once again chewing fingernails. The rain didn't materialise, the tyres held off and Britain's most successful Formula One driver crossed the line half a minute clear of the field. A visibly emotional Hamilton paid tribute to his team and also encouraged youngsters to chase their dreams and never give up.
Can he make it a record beating 8 titles in 2021? We're sure there are 19 other drivers who'll be doing their best to stop him and we're hoping for a full season next year with some of our favourite circuits making a welcome return after their enforced sabbatical during the strangest F1 season ever.
The new lockdown has coincided with a general quietening down as the weather cools and the nights draw in. For many, there will be hope that the annual tradition of a classic car gathering on New Year's Day can still happen – it remains to be seen whether this will be the case but we're keeping our fingers crossed.
In the absence of physical car shows, events and owners club meetings, Lockton has embraced the adaptation of virtual events. David Hamer of Lockton commented:
“It has been a delight to attend numerous car club virtual meetings and to explain some of the great benefits of the member's motor insurance scheme and to answer their questions. I receive great feedback from members who are often surprised to learn that we can insure their homes and valuables as well as their cars.”
Do contact David if you would like him to attend your virtual meeting email@example.com
We'll be publishing details of the events Lockton will be attending during 2021 as the current situation unfolds – we hope that we'll see some of you and get the chance to talk to you about the care that we're all so passionate about.
November is quiet with only McLaren's 765LT and a refreshed Porsche Panamera making headlines. The former is an evolution of the 720S featuring McLaren's signature “longtail” styling, less weight and over 750hp and Porsche has given the Panamera a refresh and 2 new powertrains – a 621hp Turbo and 690hp plug-in hybrid.
With the relative lack of launches, we turn our attention to a Toyota which may be the most anticipated new car of 2020, an announcement from Bentley and a new home for the man who gave us the McLaren F1. We also wish happy birthday to a British motoring institution.
2020 has been an odd year, to put it very mildly. The fact that a Toyota Yaris is one of the most eagerly awaited cars would otherwise be seen perhaps as another odd occurrence in a year of strangeness but bear with us!
The word “Gazoo” translates from the Japanese word gazo, meaning little garage. Toyota's Gazoo Racing division has enjoyed considerable motorsport success, notably winning Le Mans for the last 3 years and its rally team, headed by 4-time world champion Tommi Makinen, has emulated some of the success Toyota enjoyed in past decades.
So, what does this history lesson have to do with a small mass produced hatchback? Well, the GR badge should be your first clue. Standing for Gazoo Racing, the car has very little in common with the regular car at all. From its lowered roofline to extensive use of lightweight materials, 4WD and a 3 cylinder turbocharged 1600cc engine producing a mildly mind boggling 260hp, this is a hot hatchback designed with driving at the top of its agenda.
2020 has been an odd year – but serving up cars like this; affordable, practical and by all accounts tremendous fun, is a ray of Far Eastern sunshine.
We've written about Bentley here https://locktonperformance.com/news/blowers-to-bentayga.html and Crewe recently confirmed its plans for the entire model range to be fully electric by 2030 – a move preceded by the gradual transfer to hybrid power across its current and future model range.
This will also mean the end of the road for the W12 engine, with electric versions of existing models being gradually phased in before an all-new EV launches in 2025. It is thought that Bentley will tap into the EV development programme of parent company Volkswagen, although details of the new electric-only Bentley are yet to be confirmed.
Gordon Murray is inextricably linked to the car that, for many, is the original hypercar. His F1 re-wrote the rule books almost 30 years ago and his revolutionary work in Formula One prior to this cements his credentials as one of the finest designers of his generation. His T.50, revealed earlier this year, is regarded by many as being the last purely ICE powered hypercar.
The Gordon Murray Group recently announced plans to invest £50m in a new technology centre, based at Windlesham in Surrey. The distinctive building, formerly occupied by BOC will be built in phases and eventually include all aspects of the company's activities including design and engineering, R&D, sales and a heritage division.
We end our news this month by wishing a very happy birthday to an institution of the motoring world. Autocar celebrates its 125th birthday this year. Born in 1895 and entitled The Autocar, it is the only current motoring publication that can genuinely claim to have been around since the dawn of the motor car. It remains in weekly circulation, covering a broad range of topics, from new cars to industry news and from inside scoops to use car advice. In an age where consumers are increasingly getting their automotive fix online, we salute Autocar and wish them many more years of motoring news and reviews.