Is a Ferrari SUV on the cards?

Ferari Badge

We do now live in a world where luxury fast car brands are making SUVs. In fact, everyone is making SUVs. They seem to be the most pervasive car type ever created! OK so they are useful but how many people really need one? And are Ferrari really going to make one?

History

This, although very “now”, is not a new concept. Lamborghini created their monstrous LM002 in the late 80s but only 328 were ever made and it was, well, rather ugly to say the least. The new Urus will essentially be a new version of the LM002 and it looks a lot better but it still feels odd coming from Lambo.

Porsche are also in this sector and have managed to make the Cayenne really stick. Older versions do look a bit dated now but the newer smaller models are fast and fun. The Bentley Bentayga really shook the automotive world when it came out in 2016 because this was not just another luxury SUV; it was a performance brand moving into SUV production. Aston Martin will be launching their DBX crossover in the coming month too….is it really only Ferrari left out?

Rumours

Ferrari have generally maintained they were not going to build an SUV and most fans of the brand were pleased about this. However, recent comments from Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne suggest otherwise. It has been a question fired at Ferrari press conferences more times than an episode of Top Gear is shown on Dave but each time is was pushed back…until now.

Reinvent

Marchionne’s comments suggest that Ferrari are serious about making something. What that something is seems to be a little hazier. There is talk of the brand doing it the Ferrari way and reinventing a car that has some utility aspects rather than just creating another SUV. How this would play out is anyone’s guess and it is very hard to predict. Auto analyst Max Warburton suggested it would be a FUV or Ferrari Utility Vehicle and that it would not have visible rear doors. Investors are clearly not keen on a 4 door car so using the word hidden is a very cunning way of getting around that.

2020

Whatever this all leads to, it will certainly be fast and no doubt very rare and some very rich people will buy one. But will it go a little way to taking some of the wonder out of the brand? Hopefully not. Either way, it seems nothing much will happen for the next 2 or 3 years as 2020 seems to be the rumoured date for manufacture and 2021 for launch.

While we cannot tell you what Ferrari are thinking we can certainly help you with making sure your Ferrari has top notch fire protection. We are able to provide systems for owners who want something subtle to help keep their car safe in the event of a fire. But we can also provide systems for those people who choose to race their prancing horse in historic or modern events. All of our systems are MSA and FIA approved so get in touch for more information.

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Jenson Button – Too Long In F1?

Jenson Button

Too Long in F1

The big news story for some is that Jenson felt he had simply spent too long in F1 and had somewhat fallen out of the love with motorsport. He was keen to point out he still loved racing but it was the sport itself he needed a break from. He suggested that he perhaps stayed just a year longer than he should and this is understandable; as great as McLaren is they have not had a great run over the last few years and that must have been tough. Jenson also clearly stated he doesn’t miss F1 at all.

Super GT

It seems his recent Super GT 1000km race really rekindled the racing fire in Jenson. Even though his race wasn’t exactly trouble free he said the moment it was finished he wanted to get straight back in to do it again.

Where Now?

Most people know that Jenson spends a lot of time running, cycling and generally being very fit. He also has a triathlon team but it seems motor racing is still something he wants to do. When asked about where and what he might be racing he simply said there are a few options. Interestingly, he was not keen on the GT classes because he said he simply could not handle being overtaken all the time by faster classes.

When Autosport asked about IndyCar Jenson said:

“There are some great drivers racing IndyCar, but it scares the s**t out of me”; he went on to say he was surprised the drivers were still racing.

He also then went on to admit that formula E was simply not for him and as exciting as the technology was he wanted to hear an engine roar and be behind the wheel of a 600+ bhp car.

Whatever Jenson decides to do he will always have a place in British motorsport fans’ hearts as a true gentleman racer.

FEV are able to provide and advise on fire suppression across all motorsport classes from Rally to Historic racing. We are also very proud to supply many of the current F1 teams with systems too.

Get in touch if you would like to discuss your team or car and how FEV can make sure your fire extinguisher systems are first class.

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Singapore….The Crash That Caused a Storm

Pit Exit of Marina Bay Street Circuit

Crashes in motorsport are common; thankfully most cause little or no injury these days. This is a far cry from years ago when any contact between cars could result in serious harm or death. However, good safety equipment and fire suppression cannot protect championship points, reputations or protect drivers from the wrath of social media. This weekend saw the famous Singapore night race that has become a big hit on the F1 calendar and it also saw a rather big “shunt” at the start.

The Crash

In many cases a crash is clearly caused by one driver or another. But, in this case 3 cars came together in a straight line off the grid and a 4th fell foul of one of the aforementioned cars spinning out of control. The cause of this crash is not altogether clear and the media storm it has caused is not one that seems to want to go away. The below video shows the crash itself but it seems like Vettel comes across the block Verstappen who then also moves to the left and Raikkonen also moves across bringing all 3 cars together.

The Official Line

The incident itself has been classified as a racing incident with no further action to be taken. This simply means the official word on the matter is that it was no one’s fault.

The Outcome

The crash clearly seriously damaged the race itself and the potential for championship points for all three drivers. But perhaps more importantly it allowed Hamilton to sail away to another victory and potentially increase his lead too far for anyone to catch him.

The Fallout

There is, as always, a great deal of discussion about who was at fault and it seems Ferrari have taken to social media to say it was down to the Red Bull driver. As anyone would expect, the Red Bull camp has fought back against this with even Mark Webber coming out against it. Calls for Vettel to calm down behind the wheel have surfaced again but it is certainly hard to see who, if anyone, is actually to blame.

We are very proud to have provided Fire Extinguishers to a number of F1 teams over the years and still do. If you would like any more information on our systems then get in touch today.

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Drivers and Mobile Phones

Woman driving while on phone

It may not be exactly a motorsport issue but a recent survey by the AA showed a huge number of people still using their phones at the wheel. While it’s unlikely Lewis Hamilton is texting while flying round Eau Rouge, although we are pretty sure he could do it if he wanted to, it is still something that everyone should think about.

20 Percent

Out of some 19,308 drivers questioned in the survey, over 20% said they simply could not bear to switch off their phone when they are driving. This fact may or may not come as a surprise depending on who is reading but seeing as it is totally illegal to use a phone while driving its quite a big number. Almost half of all younger drivers’ questioned admitted to not being able to cope without their phone for a whole journey. This would certainly match up with any casual observation of young people and their use of mobile devices.

The Law

According to the UK Government website it is illegal to use a mobile phone even when stopped at lights and in a queue. Unless you have voice command, a bluetooth headset or a dashboard holder the phone is totally off limits. It does also state you can only use a handsfree device if you are in full control of the vehicle and the police are allowed to stop you if they feel this is not the case. The penalty can be £200 and 6 points on the spot!

For many it is not clear if you can select a song for example, though this counts as using the phone. Also, if you are using a headset how do you dial? Many people may be caught out even though they felt they were using the right handsfree system.

Time

The AA survey also pointed out that changing the attitudes to drink driving took a very long time and that we are simply seeing a slow cultural shift. It is hard to think of anyone finding people chatting away holding a phone at 70mph acceptable anymore but selecting a song or simply looking at the screen to check for messages is still commonplace. Over time, even this will become socially unacceptable in line with the law.

Although our lovely team cannot help with the use or fitting of any handsfree devices or indeed if you are somewhat overreliant on your phone and can’t turn it off. What we can do, however, is offer years of experience and advice about all things related to fire suppression in all things car related.

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Roger Dudding’s Car Collection

Aston Martin Lagona West London

Many people have mixed feelings about the super-rich, some of them are nice and some are not so nice. However, if you ask car fans how they feel about the car collections some people have created all the other feelings fly out the window in favour of wonder and awe and sometimes a little confusion! Millionaire Roger Dudding’s collection has been in the press lately and it’s a corker!

Mr Lock Up

Roger spent a good portion of his life inventing a queuing system that allocated numbers to people rather than giving out physical objects that can be unhygienic. He also happened to be offered some very cheap garages many years ago that sprung into a huge lock up rental business too.

The Beginning

Roger’s first car was certainly something special; a Jenson Interceptor FF, he also then got a Morris Minor Saloon from his Father which is perhaps a little less impressive but a classic nonetheless. What happened after that was something that led to a collection so large that film and TV producers are constantly in touch to get hold of period cars for a huge range of productions. From Peaky Blinders to Brad Pitt films the list is long and will only get longer as news of this collection spreads further.

Finds

As well as buying his own cars Roger also happens to find them too. Seeing as he owns over £100 million pounds worth of garages and lock ups it stands to reason his team have to clear a fair few out. It is during this cleaning they sometimes stumble across a classic car. A 1939 LG6 Lagonda and a Mk6 Bentley both make it onto this list. However Roger is clearly a nice guy because he had acquired these garages from a trust and went on to not only inform the previous owners but also to pay for the cars too!

Cars

The collection is too big to list but it is worth noting Roger has no fewer than 23 Aston Martin Lagondas. This is a car that carries a bit of a Marmite reputation but it’s clear where Roger’s tastes lie because this little part of the collection is worth over £2 million. Among other cars of note there is a rare AC 428, 10 Jensons, and 1918 Hispano Suiza and a lot of Ferraris.

Bikes

Not only does the collection house a mind blowing number of cars but Roger also collects bikes too with over 50 included in the set. From BSA Rocket Gold Stars and Douglas Dragon Flies as well as quite a few Triumphs, Nortons and two Vincents.

You may not have a classic car collection to rival Roger’s but if you do have a classic and would like more information on how we can sympathetically install a fire extinguisher system, get in touch. It may be for historic racing or just for some peace of mind, either way we have the right system to suit your car and your needs.

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F1 launches gaming series

Driving Computer Game

For some time now the world of computer driving games and the world of real racing have been intertwined. But now F1 is joining the party and fans are set to love it!

Simulation

Before the world of video games that were actually any good motor racing teams were using top of the line computers to generate simulation programmes. These were designed to allow the drivers to practice when the track was not an option. It was cheaper than potentially crashing a car on a test lap and it allowed things to be developed in secret. Not only that, but it meant the drivers simply had more time in the car.

Gaming

As games consoles and PCs got better so did the games and the advent of the Grand Turismo series really saw a leap forward in terms of car dynamics and handling. This lead to a serious number of new gamers getting consoles. These people were not interesting in fighting elves or playing soldiers; they wanted to drive and drive fast!

Since the first GT games there have been a number of other series like Project Cars, Forza Motor Sport and Project Gotham Racing. It was the first that really took it to another level though when Playstation launched the GT Academy. Here online environments were used to create a huge race series that, in the end, produced drivers that were invited to race for real. Some of these drivers went on to race in the LMP class!

Formule 1 eSports Series

E sports is a growing movement where gaming is becoming a sport in itself. Where GT took gamers and made then racing drivers eSports is all about simply celebrating gaming that is so good it can be a spectator sport in its own right. The idea with this series is to work alongside the Codemasters release of their F1 2017 game providing another massive online championship. The later stages of this competition will be held at the Gfinity Arena in London.

The aim is to bring fans deeper into the sport by allowing many of them to actually be part of an officially sanctioned version of F1. It certainly allows those with enough time or skill to race in front of people and enjoy the thrill of real competition. Nay sayers will claim its not real racing because there is no danger but we think any form of motor racing is good as long as the participants are enjoying themselves.

It is fair to say the drivers may not need a fire extinguisher system…well unless their control pad gets a bit hot of course.

 

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2 Wheel Drive Rallying Gets a Boost!

MK2 Ford Escort Rally Car

 

There is a problem in British rallying according to a number of people. Smaller teams are dropping out, events are getting less money and the issue seems to be caused by the treatment of 2WD cars, new and classic. However, the answer is here and everything is looking rosy!

The Problem

As it stands the 4WD cars race along side 2WD cars which also happen to include the classic as most of them don’t have fancy 4WD systems. This leads to a seeding issue where the 2WD cars, being slower for obvious reasons, get seeded at the back of the pack and have to race on poor quality surfaces. This in itself then causes more problems because not only are they feeling rather sidelined and having to deal with gravel that has been well and truly thrashed by the big boys but they are also risking damage. As the track surface deteriorates so it becomes more likely to break something on what tend to be more fragile cars. Small 2WD entries to rallies are often not a robust as the bigger teams’ cars and the classic car entries are certainly more at risk of damage and the resulting costs can be huge.

This issue has lead to a lot of smaller teams pulling out and this then effects the events themselves. The major players have huge budgets and money is really no object but the younger new comers and classic teams are struggling to afford to keep going and are also perhaps a little tired of running at the back end of events all the time. This is bad for the sport and bad for the fans!

The Solution

The plan is to launch  a 2WD rally which is split into a standard 2WD class and a separate classic class. These new events will run on the same days as the 4WD class but as a different race totally. The entry fees will be the same as will everything else so there is no second class treatment which should help support the smaller and classic teams. The upshot of this in terms of the track is that the 2WD teams will get to race at the front on much better track and let the 4WD teams handle whats left because it won’t effect them at all.

The Red Kite Stages, Mid Wales Stages and Rally North Wales are all planning on using this format next year; interestingly the Pirelli International Rally has actually already put something very similar into play!

If this plan works we should see more teams returning to British Gravel Rallying and that can only be a good thing. There could be a lot of 1.4 litre cheap and cheerful cars where young people can get a chance to enter the sport but also we might just see some more of the mighty Mk2 Ford Escorts and other classics!

Here at FEV we love rallying and are very proud to work with the Skoda WRC team in supplying them with their fire suppression systems. If you are thinking about getting into rallying, or maybe you have a 2WD car you are going to get back up to racing spec after a break then get in touch today. Our friendly team can help with anything from servicing your existing unit to choosing the right fire extinguisher for your racing needs.

 

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Ferrari Sheild

Ferrari Badge

As everyone knows, well everyone who likes motorsport, the F1 world has been wrangling with itself on how to offer more head protection for the drivers. After the tragic death of Jules Bianchi the call for something more substantial has been bubbling away. Now Ferrari have tested a new option for this upgraded protection being called the shield.

No Need?!

There are some people out there that think this level of protection is not needed, they perhaps like the idea of racing being dangerous. They also probably look back at the “old days” of F1 and think it was all perfect. Sadly, that is not the case and a lot of people lost theirs lives. There is no doubt we all enjoy an element of risk in many things and it should not disappear completely but most normal people agree that deaths are simply not acceptable and a great deal should be done to make sure we do not see them in the future. The idea of safety is not a new one and the myriad of modifications that have happened since the dawn of motorracing go to prove that. This is just one more step along the same road.

Le Mans?

Taking everything said above into account there is also no way of escaping the fact that F1 is open top racing and the shield is one big step towards that no longer being the case. One social media comment caught our eye when the person mentioned it looked like the Ferrari car was about to enter Le Mans. This was a joke, of course, but the way it swoops back from quite far down the nose does make it only a small leap from a shield to a full cover.

Lewis Hamilton and the FIA

The sports governing body have made it clear the shield is their preferred option for additional driver protection compared to the “canopy” and the “halo”. However, multi world champ Lewis Hamilton does not feel quite the same! He was quoted as saying it’s the “worst looking modification” in the sport’s history. That is certainly a strong statement. We would love to post a picture up to show you but sadly the few people that took a snap during testing are rather keen on keeping ownership of their images. However, here is a link to a news story in case anyone had not seen it yet – The Shield 

The Future

It remains to be seen if this latest solution to a very talked about problem will be seen on track in 2018 but it’s worth remembering its easy to talk about it when we are not driving at over 200 mph so maybe the drivers should be the ones to comment. As a company that plays a big part in F1 fire safety we are always supportive of ways to keep the drivers safe as well as embracing the spirit of the sport.

If you would like any info about fire safety in motorsport and how FEV can help you chose the right suppression system for you then get in touch today.

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Barn Finds and eBay Treasures

Barn find car wreckThe term “barn find” has certainly become quite a big one in car circles these days. This is, in no small part, down to the way people now share images online. 30 years ago a rare car would be found in a lock up and it would go straight to auction and then a collector. These days, while the process is still the same, the images end up all over the internet and this undoubtly plays into the auctioneers hands as the public interest is sparked. As well as the auction house route there is also the mighty eBay as a location for these gems and on a rare quiet moment we we often have a little look around to see what rare classics have popped up.

Bonkers MK1 Cortina – Click Here

OK so this is perhaps not one we would call a gem but the underlying car is certainly a classic. The MK1 Cortina was always the coolest version of this long running family car. This one, however, have been modified to a certain extent. It is labelled as an 80s survivor but it seems more like something from the original Batman series in the 60s. The fins at the back are horrific and the extra lights are not just for show! The wheels are almost acceptable but really this car’s piece de resistance is the exhaust system; it really is quite special.

AMC Gremlin – Click Here

According to some reports this car was one of the worst American cars of all time. By all accounts the Gremlin was hastily created to beat Ford and GM in the race to release a sub-compact car. The designer basically chopped the back end off of an AMC Hornet and that left this car looking odd to say the least. Apprently it was faster than its competitors which was something but the handling and suspension were so awful we are not sure you would want it to go much faster than standing still. This car doesnt have an engine or running gear so it is certainly not one you can drive away. The advert suggests it could make a great drag car; and why not? Maybe tearing down a 1/4 of mile strip with a V8 shoe horned in might make it a bit better than it was originally…you never know.

RX-7 – Click Here

This one really does qualify as a “find”. The RX-7 is fast becoming a true classic. It might not have the style and heritage of some of the British classic cars but it’s rotary engine and rear wheel drive arrangment makes it a very interesting car. These are being used for drifting a great deal but many people are just getting them up to concourse condition with perhaps some mild modifications to the engine. If the mileage is correct at 33,000 then this car makes the perfect project and could turn a solid profit.

 

Whatever your tastes in cars we are able to offer advice and guidance on the right fire suppression systems for you. We do a lot of work with classic and historic car owners from racing set ups to subtle fire extingsuishers for that extra level of safety. For more information get in touch today.

 

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Billy Monger – Crash and Fundraising

The whole British Motorsport world is thinking about Billy Monger this weekend after his terrible crash at Donnington last Sunday. Alongside the terrible concern about Billy and his future we have been so proud of the motorsport world and how it has reacted to support the family.

The Crash

The crash itself has been well covered via many YouTube videos and the ITV footage. It seems as though Billy has the back of  an almost stationary Patrik Pasma with devastating effects. The impact was nothing short of huge and despite the awful injuries suffered by Billy it was great to see the main safety structures around his head and torso did their job. Anytime a driver suffers that kind of crash the risk of more serious injuries or death are very real as we have seen all too recently.

Injuries

After around 100 minutes in the car Billy was carefully removed from the wreckage after Pasma had already been taken to the medical centre. He was flown to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham where sadly he lost both of his lower legs. Every effort was made by the medical team but neither limb could be saved. There is no further news on Pasma but by all accounts he is in considerably better shape. According to Monger’s family he is doing as well as can be expected, he has been able to communicate and has had the breathing tubes removed.

Support

The support shown by the motorsport world has been amazing. Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton have both been showing their support on social media and financially. With the help of everyone in the community the fundraising page created has already raised a staggering £653,214. This money will be turned into a trust which will help Billy move towards regaining an active and happy life. Many people are suggesting he will still play a strong role in racing. Nicolas Hamilton, who races despite suffering from cerebral palsy, is very keen to speak with Billy and help him on his journey back into racing.

We would like to encourage all of our customers to donate if they can to help this talented young man rebuild his life just as he is becoming an adult. These injuries would be devastating to anyone but at 17 years old there is no doubt they will be a huge challenge.

The team at FEV want to wish both Billy and his family all the best and we are looking forward to hearing about Billy’s recovery.

 

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