From rock star to race car: Find out how Ricky Wilson became a speedster

Ricky Wilson, lead singer of UK indie-rock outfit Kaiser Chiefs, has this week been swapping microphones for gearsticks, as he looks to complete his race license so that he can partake in the hill climb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

And the reason? Because Wilson, who also features as a judge on BBC show The Voice, is now Honda’s brand ambassador for their brand new Civic Type R.

And rather than just have him driving around the streets of London looking super-cool in the sporty new car, they actually want him to race in it.

To gain his race license, Ricky this week had to zoom around Edinburgh’s Knockhill circuit, a twisting, tumbling track where “the straights aren’t even straight.”

Ricky, whose previous driving experience has largely come from his ageing MINI, wasn’t too daunted, though: “That level of concentration, you don’t get a second off, even on the straights. I’m not comparing rock bands and racing drivers, but there’s that same concern about not mucking up, and there’s a lot of things that can go wrong on both the stage and the track. It’s about eliminating all that stuff that could go wrong.”

It sure is. Ricky is looking forward to Goodwood, and if his impressive lap times at Knockhill are anything to go by, he certainly won’t be there to make up the numbers.

Which is pretty much what Honda don’t want. After all, if he were to come last in their brand new Civic Type R, it wouldn’t actually say a lot about the car, would it?

Though it would say less about his driving and rock star credentials.

Before driving off into the sunset for a well-earned rest, Ricky offered a few rules of the road. He says you should be allowed to drive as fast as you want in the left lane – as long as the motorway is clear – and one must be obliged to holler and cheer whenever they drive into a new country.

Or leave Birmingham.

Tesla Model S Smashes The 1 Billion Electric Mile Barrier

Petrol heads may have scoffed when Tesla first hit the road with their electric dreams, but they will now be crying into their 48mpg 120g/km hatchback’s as Tesla this week announced their Model S fleet has driven a billion miles collectively.

The Model S has only been on the asphalt for 3 years, but its enthusiastic owners have already driven the equivalent of 4,000 journeys to the moon.

Which equates to about half a journey to Neptune.

Still.

Even better, these billion miles mean that collectively Tesla Model S drivers have clocked up around half a million ton of CO2 less than their petrol counterparts.

The Model S has actually only been available for a year in Britain, but British drivers can celebrate the fact that they have contributed 6.6 million miles to that 1 billion grand total.

To put that into perspective, British Model S drivers have, as a team, driven around the world 265 times. Go Team GB!

After downing several pints of Evian water in celebration, Tesla said: “A billion miles on a fleet of just under 75,000 Model S is a testament to the safety and durability of Model S and the ease of charging and driving electric vehicles. Tesla customers rely on the Model S as their daily driver and for long distance road trips by charging at home or along Tesla’s worldwide Supercharger network.”

The Tesla Model S is popular around North America, Europe and Asia.

Ford Prepares To Launch Car-Sharing Program

We all had fun watching Peter Kay’s latest comedy for the BBC, Car Share, but it looks as though car sharing is about to become something very official, something very real, and something that doesn’t involve a fat northerner singing along to Hear Say.

Yup, this is because American automotive giant Ford have decided to launch their very own car-sharing program.

Ford’s car-share program, which so far has no name (we think Lend Us A Ford Will Ya has a ring to it), will be launched in six U.S cities, as well as one European city – London.

It will initially kick off as a pilot program this November, though it is hoped it will prove to be so successful that it will turn into a long-term project that meets customers’ needs all around the world.

The reason Ford decided to give it a go was due to the fact that more and more of us aren’t relying on vehicle ownership. Instead, many of us like the thought of being able to use a car only when we really need it, such as when we need to flee the country.

Ford see their car-share program as a direct rival to already-existing services, such as Uber, Lyft and Zipcar.

The idea is that customers who sign up will be able to rent their Ford’s to pre-screened drivers for a short period of time. The loaners get to make a bit of cash, whilst the loanees get a car to help them with their weekly Big Shop. Nice one.

Iconic Hot Rod Stolen From Lincolnshire Car Boot Sale

Now then, this is something you really don’t expect: You turn up at a car boot sale to sell your wares from your car boot, only to find out that someone has half-inched your car boot!

This is exactly what happened to the hapless owner of a 10K classic Ford Hot Rod at a recent Lincolnshire car boot sale.

One eye-witness told us: “One minute the geezer was giving it all that to the customers, you know, getting them under his spell with his sales spiel and all that. And then when he turns around to show ‘em his goods, he finds his car boot has been bloody pinched right from under his nose!”

It sounds like something out of an episode of Only Fools and Horses, but we can safely say that the owner of the Hot Rod is not laughing.

Yet quite how such a distinctive car manages to get stolen in broad daylight from a car boot sale is anyone’s guess. You can’t exactly stick it in your pocket, can you?

It is reckoned the car was lifted at around 11am last Sunday from the sale at Hemswell Market. Described as having a 1956-70 style, it is coated in gold paint with purple flourishes.

Police have appealed for its immediate return.

Wigan Driver Becomes First Man Convicted For Hogging The Middle Lane

Ever hogged the middle lane and laughed to yourself when you knew you’d got away with it? Cheeky. Unfortunately for a painter and decorator from Wigan, his middle lane hogging escapades saw him ordered to court before he was hit with a fine of £940.

It’s an unprecedented case, and it is the first time any driver in the UK has been convicted for the offence of “motorway middle lane hogging,” after it was first introduced as a thing 2 years ago.

Ian Stephens was hit with the fine after it became apparent to other drivers that his Citroen Berlingo was keeping the middle lane all to itself on the stretch of the M62 between Rochdale and Huddersfield.

His Berlingo was accused of stopping other cars from getting a piece of the action, with one driver comparing the hassle and congestion it caused to “a scene from Independence Day.”

Stephens defended himself, saying: “It’s rubbish that I made other people swerve and break. That didn’t happen. All three lanes were full and they were all busy. I had my ladders on the roof, and there were lots of vans in the inside lane. It was very uphill and very windy.

“I’m a one-man band. I’m self-employed. I can’t afford nearly £1,000. I didn’t go to court because I have to go to work.”

GEM Motoring Assist had no sympathy, though, and stressed that lane hogging is:

• Dangerous
• Inconsiderate
• Inconvenient to other drivers
• Selfish
• Mean

They welcome the fine and would like to see more traffic police patrols on our highways.

Will Titterington
  • 25th June 2015

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