• Automatic Car Driving for Beginners

    Automatic cars are becoming increasingly popular – but how do you do about driving one? You may well find that driving an automatic is a more pleasant driving experience than that provided by a manual – but how do you get started? We’ve rounded up the basics below.

    Familiarise yourself

    Once you’re in the car and you’ve checked the seat and mirrors are in the right positions, it’s time to familiarise yourself with the controls and pedals – remember in an automatic you just have a brake (on the left) and an accelerator (on the right).

    It’s also crucial you familiarise yourself with the gear box. You’ll find the gear selector where a traditional manual gear stick is placed, between the driver’s and the passenger seat, or to the side of the steering wheel. As you’ll see, it’s quite different to a manual gear stick; you’ll usually have four choices where to put the gear selector:  ‘P’, ‘R’, ‘N’ and ‘D’, denoting park, reverse, neutral and drive.

    That might seem a lot of choice for a car that’s meant to be ‘automatic’, but you’ll see the choices soon narrow themselves down, making them much less onerous. Here’s how they work:

    • Park is only ever used once the car is stationary and safely parked, only then do you choose ‘P’. So you use it when you’ve finished driving, as you do the handbrake, ensuring your car doesn’t go anywhere until you next need it.
    • Reverse, as you would expect, for driving backwards. Neutral on the other hand can be used when you’ve stopped for short periods, in just such instances when you would apply the handbrake too. ‘Drive’ of course allows your car to move, and this is when an automatic comes into its own, as you don’t need to select a gear.

    Some automatics also come with an additional first or second gear, which can be helpful in some circumstances, like negotiating a steep incline or preventing your wheels from spinning in inclement weather conditions. Moreover, some automatics give you the option to control gears either from paddles on the dashboard or via the gear selector.

    Drive it

    But how to go about driving it? First, check the car has been left in the ‘park’ position. Then put your foot on the brake, put the key in the ignition and turn it clockwise. While keeping your foot on the brake, move the gear selector to ‘Drive’ or ‘Reverse’, as you require, and take off the handbrake.

    As you lift your foot off the brake, you’ll find the car begins to move gently. If you are on a hill, you may need to add some acceleration, but otherwise, the car will choose the right gear for your journey. If you are ever stationary for more than 5-10 seconds during your journey, then apply the handbrake.  Once you’ve reached your destination and are safely parked; then select the ‘Park’ option, put on the handbrake, turn off the ignition and exit.

    Practice

    Driving an automatic car may seem strange at first, but the key is to get to know your new car well and give yourself time to practise driving it. Learn to slow down and apply the brake sooner than you would in a manual car, for instance when you are approaching a corner. Also familiarise yourself with the different use of the accelerator, using it to give your car ‘oomph’ when you’d use a low gear in a manual car. However, once you’ve got used to these differences, you’ll find automatic cars make for a very relaxing driving experience.

    Want to keep your current car running safely and efficiently? Make sure that your tyres are in full working order, and check out the tyres Swindon section of the Wiltshire Tyres website to find out more.

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  • Don’t Forget British Superbikes 2017 Starts This Weekend

    The motorcycle race season is now well underway. World Superbikes and MotoGP have already started their seasons. And possibly the best national series, the 2017 British Superbike championship, kicks off at Donington on Friday, March 31st.

    The entry list includes multiple champion Shane Byrne and team-mate Glenn Irwin on the Be Wiser Ducatis. Leon Haslam and Luke Mossey are on the JG Speedfit Kawasakis. Honda will again field Dan Linfoot and Jason O’Halloran. And Tyco BMW riders Christian Iddon and Davide Giugliano will both be capable of running at the front.

    Then there’s the returning Josh Brookes on the Anvil Hire Yamaha, John Hopkins on the Moto Rapido Ducati, James Ellison and Michael Laverty on the McAms Yamahas, and the Bennetts Suzuki team of Sylvain Guintoli and Taylor Mackenzie. And also the debut of Bradley Ray on the Buildbase Suzuki.

    Basically, out of a field of 25 riders, you wouldn’t bet against about 17 of them having a chance of winning.

    Anvil Hire Yamaha Josh Brookes British Superbikes 2017
    Anvil Hire Yamaha’s Josh Brookes is back in British Superbikes for 2017

    What’s the Donington Park British Superbikes Timetable?

    The weekend kicks off at 9am on Friday, March 31st. Free practice for all classes takes place throughout the day, and there are qualifying sessions for the KTM RC Cup at 3.45pm, and the Ducati TriOptions Cup at 5.45pm.

    On Saturday, the morning is largely taken up with qualifying sessions and the final free practice for the BSB boys.

    For entry, gates open at 7.30am

    Saturday Races:

    • 12.30: Ducati performance TriOptions Cup 8 Laps
    • 13:00: Pirelli National Superstock 1000 2 x 18 laps
    • 14:30: British Motostar Championship 10 laps
    • 15:05: KTM RC Cup 8 laps
    • 15:35: Ducati Performance TriOptions Cup 10 laps
    • 16:02: BSB Qualifying and Superpole
    • 17:20: British Supersport Championship Sprint Race 10 laps

    Sunday is race day, with all the competing classes getting a morning warm up session. Then racing begins at 10:30am. There are also Suzuki Donington 40th Anniversary parade laps taking place during lunch at 1pm.

    Sunday Races

    • 10:30: KTC RC Cup 8 laps
    • 11.05: Ducati TriOptions Cup 10 laps
    • 12:35 National Superstock 600 14 laps
    • 13:30: British Superbikes 20 laps
    • 14:15: National Superstock 1000 16 laps
    • 14:55: British Motostar Championship 14 laps
    • 15:40 British Supersport Championship Feature Race 18 laps
    • 16:30: British Superbikes 20 laps
    • 17:15: KTM RC Cup 8 laps

    How much does Donington British Superbikes 2017 cost?

    Advance ticket sales have now ended, so it’s full price on the gate. Children age 13 and under are free, and parking is free for the British Superbikes. Plus you can get 50% off adult entry for the Donington Park museum on the day.

    The paddock will be open. And disabled spectators access is located at Coppice Corner with an elevated viewing and parking area. You’ll need to be displaying your blue badge to get in.

    Ticket prices for the weekend are:

    Friday
    £10

    Saturday
    £15

    Sunday
    £30

    Weekend
    £45

    Grandstand
    £15

    Concessions
    £25 – race day only

    There are a few limited camping spots left for those deciding to stay at the last minute. Weekend admission with camping starts at £75 for those over 14 years of age.

    How to Watch Donington BSB 2017 on TV:

    Not able to make it to Donington Park? Here’s how to watch on TV and online.

    British Superbikes Live Timing is available via the official British Superbikes site for free.

    Saturday April 1:

    • 15:45: Live Qualifying and Supersport Sprint Race (Until 6pm) – Eurosport 2
    • 21:00: Qualifying and Supersport Sprint Race Highlights – Eurosport 2

    Sunday April 2:

    • 13:00: Live British Superbikes (Until 6pm) – Eurosport 2
    • 21:00: Race Highlights – Eurosport 2
    • 22:00: British Superbikes Extra – Eurosport 2

    Monday April 3:

    • 13.15: Race Highlights – Eurosport 2
    • 14:15: British Superbikes Extra – Eurosport 2
    • 17:30: Race Highlights – Eurosport 1

    Eurosport is available via Sky, Virgin Media and BT TV. Or online via the Eurosport Player, which is £5.99 for a one day pass, or £29.99 for access until December 31st, 2017 (Which also includes World Superbikes). That’s a special offer running until April 30th, 2017.

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  • Rosberg stays on top in Germany

    Nico Rosberg stuck at the top of the timesheets in Hockenheim ahead of the German Grand Prix.

    On a slightly warmer track Rosberg’s best time was a tenth of a second off his quickest from first practice.

    Drivers had been told restrictions on track limits would not be enforced in the first practice session that policy changed in the afternoon.

    Ahead of the session teams were told each driver could only run wide at turn one a maximum of three times before being reported to the stewards, and some came close to using up all three ‘strikes’.

    Lewis Hamilton got within four-tenths of a second of his team mate after locking up at the Spitzkehre on his quickest lap and fighting oversteer at turn ten.

    Mercedes’ rivals were closer to them in the second session than in the first. Sebastian Vettel lapped within six-tenths of a second of Rosberg and both Red Bulls were eight-tenths off the pace.

  • Rosberg fastest in German practice

    Photo published for Nico Rosberg edges Lewis Hamilton in German Grand Prix practiceNico Rosberg set the quickest time of the session on super-soft tyres, posting a 1’15.517 which was over a second faster than his pole position time on F1’s last visit to the German circuit. Lewis Hamilton ended up three-tenths of a second off his team mate.

    The competition was over a second behind despite every driver in the top ten using super-soft tyres to set their best time. Sebastian Vettel was 1.1 seconds adrift, followed by team mate Kimi Raikkonen.

    The McLaren driver ended up seventh quickest, the Red Bulls separating him from his former team. With Button eighth ahead of the two Toro Rossos, the top ten was sorted nearly two-by-two.

    Grosjean had a spin late in the session at turn ten and finished in 14th place. Charles Leclerc took over the second Haas from Esteban Gutierrez in this session.

    The only other test driver in action was Esteban Ocon, who took over Jolyon Palmer’s Renault, but had to pit after reporting a power steering problem.

  • Hamilton crashes, Roberg goes fastest in Hungary

    Nico Rosberg topped the time sheets in second practice ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton crashed his Mercedes.

    Hamilton was on course to set the quickest lap time in the early stages of the session when his W07 snapped sideways entering turn 11. He skidded across the run-off and make contact with the barrier.

    But although red flags were immediately shown to stop the session, Hamilton was able to drive his car back to the pits. Nonetheless he took no further part in the session as Mercedes investigated the extent of the damage.

    That left Nico Rosberg to lead the way for Mercedes. While Hamilton was unable to set a time on the super-soft tyres, Rosberg lowered the best time of the weekend so far to a 1’20.435.

    Red Bull revealed their one-lap pace on the same rubber but Daniel Ricciardo was not able to get within half a second of Rosberg’s time. The only other drivers to lap the Hungaroring within a second of Rosberg’s time was Sebastian Vettel.

    Despite only doing a single flying lap Hamilton ended the session fifth-quickest behind Max Verstappen, who made a mistake on his quickest run.

    As in the first session the McLarens were the fourth-quickest team. Fernando Alonso, running with a new power unit after Honda spotted a potential problem developing during first practice, was seventh behind Kimi Raikkonen, and less than a tenth faster than team mate Jenson Button. The Force India pair completed the top ten.

    The final stages of the session saw reliability problems force Felipe Nasr’s Sauber and Carlos Sainz Jnr’s Toro Rosso to stop.

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