The AA, Mondial UK and the RAC have launched a joint training programme under the auspices of the Institute of the Motor Industry.

With new car technology now as complex as a fighter aircraft, the initiative from the 3 biggest roadside assistance organisations will ensure their patrols remain at the cutting edge of technical expertise for the benefit of millions of motorists.

Testing the ‘hands on’ practical skills of patrols in a range of technical disciplines, the new programme also assesses theoretical systems knowledge to ensure all-round current competence. An initial 100 patrols have achieved accreditation as part of a pilot programme and it will be available to all patrols across the three organisations, totalling some 5, 000.
So that organisations can keep abreast of new innovations, patrol technicians will be required to renew their accreditation every five years, as part of their rigorous continuing professional development, which will be independently monitored by the IMI.

Sarah Sillars, Chief Executive, Institute of the Motor Industry, said today: “Such rapid vehicle evolution demands the utmost technical proficiency and the launch of the  ATA programme for the Roadside Assistance sector will bring continued reassurance to millions of motorists that they will be aided by technicians who are ambassadors for the cause in promoting skills, customer service and integrity.”

Steve Dewey, Road Operations Director, AA, commented: “Our patrols thrive on delivering excellent service to our members, fixing cars at the roadside, so it’s critical that our patrols and the AA as an employer invest continually in this expertise.”

David Bizley, Director of Technical, RAC, said: “Roadside technicians address a wider variety of technical problems in the most challenging of conditions. ATA for Roadside Assistance provides recognition of the very high levels of skill of the technicians working within this sector, which are amongst the highest in the motor industry.”


Britian’s oldest motor racing circuit has been sold after being in the same family hands for many, many, years. Donington Park Leisure Limited, the operators of Britain's most historic motor racing venue, Donington Park, has been sold to the newly created Holding company Donington Ventures Leisure Limited (DVLL), led by founders Simon Gillett and Lee Gill. DVLL has simultaneously acquired from Wheatcroft & Sons, substantial surrounding lands and have taken over responsibility for the 'Donington Grand Prix Collection'  the world's largest collection of Grand Prix racing cars.
The new company brings back Donington Park founder Tom Wheatcroft as President and son Kevin also joins the company as special advisor to develop and promote the Donington Grand Prix Collection.
The new company will develop the circuit and motor sport events but also widen the Park's appeal in leisure and entertainment.
Simon Gillett (Chief Executive Officer): "We are naturally delighted and very proud to have acquired Donington Park. The circuit is steeped in motor racing heritage and has an incredibly fond place in the heart of every motor racing enthusiast whether on two or four wheels. We are absolutely committed to realising the full potential of the Park by making the necessary investments in current and future events that will see Donington revitalised ensuring its leading position as one of the most iconic racing circuits in the world. 
In the near term, DVLL plan a series of phased developments that include improvements to the spectator facilities, expanded and enhanced corporate hospitality facilities and improvements to the exhibition and conference centres."
Tom Wheatcroft (President) said: "This is an exciting new chapter in the history of Donington Park. It will bring significant investment, new energy, innovative ideas and a broader and more international customer base. I am really looking forward to working with DVLL in what promises to be an exciting next chapter of this great and only active circuit in the country with a history going back over 75 years."
Opened in 1931 and witess to some awesome pre war Grand Prix battles,   Donington Park is one of Britain's most popular racing circuits. It is the home of the British Motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP), World Superbikes, British Superbike Championship, World MotoX, and also plays host to rounds of the British Touring Car Championship, British Formula 3 Championship, British GT Championship, GP Live and GP Euro Series.


Honda will display its continued commitment to hybrid car technology with the unveiling of a hybrid sports car at the Geneva Motor Show in March, and an increase in the supply of Civic Hybrids to the UK.

The Small Hybrid Sports Concept is a sports car that features advanced hybrid technology – proving stylish design and driving enjoyment can be combined with low environmental impact. It was designed by Honda R&D Europe, based in Offenbach, Germany.

Honda Civic Hybrid

Further demonstrating its confidence in hybrid cars, Honda (UK) is delighted to announce that it plans to sell more than three times as many Civic Hybrids this year than in 2006. Supply of the petrol-electric Civic has been increased to meet overwhelming customer demand in the UK, meaning sales of the car should reach 3, 000 during 2007.
Also on show in Geneva was the FCX Concept car which features a newly-developed compact, high-efficiency, Honda Fuel Cell stack as well as a long-floor, low-riding, short-nose body. It offers a large, comfortable cabin and futuristic styling along with significant improvements in power output and environmental performance.

The FCX Concept has a range of 354miles (Honda calculations when driven in LA4 mode) and a top speed limited to 100mph. Limited marketing of a new fuel cell vehicle based on the FCX Concept model is to begin in Japan and the US in 2008.


The Spyker Formula One team launched its 2007 car and drivers at Silverstone circuit, UK. Team principal Colin Kolles presented the team's latest challenger, the Spyker F8-VII, drivers Christijan Albers and Adrian Sutil at the Northamptonshire circuit.

Spyker F1

Managing director and team principal Colin Kolles predicted a 'transition year' for the team, with a focus in the early part of the year on improved reliability and performance, before a big step forward with a revised B-spec car towards the second part of the year. "We know that the first half of the season could be challenging for the team, but with the stability that Spyker has brought with it, we've got a real direction and focus now, " Kolles explained. "We know that Spyker want to make the project work, and we've already set about making changes to turn the team around. One of the first steps was to bring in Mike Gascoyne to lead the technical team and help give the direction we need."

Spyker F1 - Mike Gascoyne

Chief technical officer, Mike Gascoyne, added, "Since I arrived at Spyker three months ago, I've been looking carefully at the technical department to put in place the personnel, procedures and resources that will give the team structure; already we've doubled our aerodynamic resources with a second wind tunnel and dedicated team in Italy. I'm looking forward to seeing the results of the changes in the second half of the season when we deliver an improved B-spec package." 

Twenty-seven year old Dutch driver, Christijan Albers, remains with the team for a further year. Albers, although not satisfied with the results of the 2006 season, showed speed and determination throughout. Albers commented, "As a driver I always drive to the maximum, but in 2006 I could not when always show the best I could do. I've worked closely with the team over the winter to help highlight the areas we need to improve and I'm pretty confident that in the second half of the year we'll start to see the improvements"

Spyker F1

Albers will be joined by Adrian Sutil in the driver line-up. Sutil competed in the F3 EuroSeries alongside McLaren's British driver Lewis Hamilton in 2002 and won the 2003 Japanese Formula 3 title. The 24-year-old German completed Friday testing duties with the team in 2006 and looks forward to his first Grand Prix start in Australia, "It's a great feeling. For sure it's very nice to be a real part of the team as a race driver. My aim is to work with the team and progress with them to the next level." 

Formula One Power on Ice

Hosted by sponsor Credit Suisse BMW Sauber F1 Team driver Nick Heidfeld delighted a crowd of some 15, 000 spectators by driving his Formula One car on the frozen lake of St. Moritz.

BMW F1 Car on Ice

Guests attending the first Sunday of the international horse racing event saw something extraordinary as, on the 100th anniversary of the prestigious St. Moritz event, the BMW Sauber F1 Team added plenty more horsepower to what was already on the course.

At 2 p.m. F1 driver Nick Heidfeld set off on the most unusual driver of his career, racing around a circuit laid out on the frozen lake “ Although it was by no means easy to apply power on such a surface, I enjoyed the drive immensely" Nick said.

Nick Heidfeld - BMW F1

His run on the frozen lake was made possible thanks to the efforts of an eight-man crew that had started preparations the Friday before the event, two truckloads of equipment, and special spiked tires from Bridgestone. They also had to warm up the engine every half hour to keep it from freezing.

Although Heidfeld didn't reach his normal Formula One top speeds on the racetrack, he entertained the audience with stunts that only a real pro could manage on such a tricky surface.


A marathon relay celebrating Ferrari’s 60th anniversary started this week from the Italian Embassy in Abu Dhabi. The relay will involve over 10, 000 Ferrari owners and their cars of all ages. These will act as symbolic “bearers” of a specially commissioned relay baton adorned with 60 badges symbolising the most extraordinary events in the Marque’s 60-year history.

Ferrari 60th

Abu Dhabi was chosen as the start point for the relay – which after the Middle East makes its way across China, Japan, Australia, South Africa, America and the whole of Europe – as a result of plans to build a major Ferrari theme park plus a motor racing circuit on the island of Yas in the most rapidly developing area of the Emirates’ capital.

Having left Abu Dhabi, the protagonists of the first leg of the relay headed for Dubai from where they will drive on to Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait. The marathon relay will end at the Maranello Ferrari factory on June 23rd.

The relay was officially started by Piero Ferrari, Vice President of Ferrari and son of founder Enzo Ferrari. In his speech, Ferrari spoke about his father and his brilliant intuition in creating a Marque that has become a symbol of Italian talent and exclusivity across the world.

The launch of a special celebratory anniversary series of cars was also announced at the start of the relay. The series will consist of just 60 unique cars, each one linked to one of the 60 most important events in the Prancing Horse’s history, from the World titles won by Ascari and Schumacher to the launch of epoch-making models such as the GTO, the F40 and the Enzo.

As part of its 60th anniversary celebrations, Ferrari will build a series of 60 truly unique cars. These will be based on the 612 Scaglietti, the Prancing Horse’s range-topping Granturismo which combines blistering performance and superb handling with superior comfort, sumptuous handcrafted trim, state-of-the-art accessories and meticulous attention to detail.

Ferrari 60th

The cars will be offered with a two-tone livery in a combination of classic Ferrari colours as used on some of the Prancing Horse’s most memorable models. The interior appointments will feature sophisticated colour combinations and a stunning new-generation electrochromic glass roof, itself a major innovation. The degree of opacity of the roof, in fact, can be adjusted to suit the occupants’ requirements.

Ferrari 60th

To underline the exclusivity of this series of one-offs, each example will also boast an enamelled symbol set on the central tunnel representing one of the 60 historic events chosen to celebrate the Marque’s anniversary.

The result is a true collector’s car aimed at Ferrari’s most dedicated clients.

Watch this space for news of when the relay cars get to the UK.

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News - 0701


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