Be ready. Be charged. Be winter smart.

With colder weather just around the corner, now’s the time for us to get ourselves and our cars ready for the winter – including, say vehicle charging specialists CTEK, making sure our car batteries are in tip top condition.

“We may think about checking the car’s oil, brakes, washer fluid and heater, but the humble car battery is often overlooked in our winter preparations,” said Gary Brown, Aftermarket Division and Product Manager for CTEK, the leading global brand in vehicle charging and battery management solutions. “But a few simple checks and a regular maintenance regime is all that’s needed to give you peace of mind that your battery is fit and ready to keep you safely out on the road this season.

“It’s especially important this year too, as many car batteries will already have been placed under additional strain during the Covid restrictions; with increased home working and lots of short trips, we are likely to have drained our car batteries more than usual without us even knowing it.”

An inactive car battery will lose 0.1V of energy every month and, if your parked car is also running an alarm system, onboard computer, remote locking etc, the continual drain on the battery will be much more than that. Nipping out on lots of short journeys, particularly in urban areas, also drains the battery, as it takes 150-350A of battery power just to start the car, and on short trips the alternator won’t have the time or capability to replace this charge. This is especially so if your car has a ‘stop/start’ function. In fact, if you’ve noticed your ‘stop/start’ hasn’t been kicking in lately, this may be because your battery isn’t sufficiently charged, as your car will gradually turn off ‘non essential’ functions to focus the remaining battery charge on keeping the engine turning.

But there’s no need to worry about being left out in the cold this winter, just follow CTEK’s expert tips and you’ll be all set for carefree motoring, wherever you want to go!

Be ready. Don’t leave it too late. Get your car battery into shape before the temperatures start to drop, as it’s much harder to start your car in freezing temperatures. It can take as much as 2.5 times more power to start a cold engine, so while you’re thinking about getting those winter woollies out of the cupboard, check your car battery too and give it some pre-winter TLC. That way, there’ll be no surprises when you take to the road.

Drivers also need to be aware that cold weather conditions can have an adverse effect on car batteries. A battery can lose as much as 35% in performance when temperatures hit freezing, and up to 50% if temperatures sink below that. Drivers should look out for any signs of change – like the way the car starts, or the operation of the electrical system in general – as these can be indications of a weak battery.

Be charged. There is a very fine line between a fully charged battery and a dead one, and even a small drop in charge can compromise battery health. A car battery is fully charged at 12.72V. Below 12.4V, sulphate crystals can build up, degrading the battery and reducing battery capacity. And below 10.4V, the battery may not even start the car at all. Not only that, driving around in your car will only ever charge your battery to 80% capacity so, to top it up to 100%, you’ll always need a battery charger.

A smart battery charger like the CTEK CS ONE uses patented APTOTM ‘adaptive charging’ to check what type of battery you have (lead acid or lithium), establish how much charge is needed and then safely top it up. The CS ONE is designed to be as simple as possible to use; there’s no need to worry about positive and negative terminals – just plug the charger in, pop the two black clamps on either terminal, and the charger will do the rest. For the last 20% of charge, the CS ONE gradually reduces the rate of charge so there’s no danger of overload. It will even tell you when it’s finished, and when your battery has enough charge to start the car.

Be winter smart. Charging your car battery at least once a month prolongs its life by up to three times, so buying a reliable battery charger, and getting yourself into a regular battery maintenance routine, makes perfect sense, year round. Regular charging is even more important in the winter though, as things like heated screens and seats, headlights and an increase in short journeys put additional strain on your battery. And, as battery failure can damage or compromise a vehicle’s electronics, a charger is most certainly a worthwhile investment.

Investing in a charger like the CS ONE, with built-in functionality for both maintenance and troubleshooting, is the smart choice for drivers. The CS ONE does the thinking for you, using adaptive charging to measure your battery’s health then delivering the right level of power to get it working at optimum capacity, with a built-in temperature sensor that automatically adjusts the output voltage for cold conditions. With the CS ONE’s patented technology, you can even recondition your battery to restore battery health.

”Winter driving can be fun, and it can be beautiful,” said Gary. ”And if you take that little bit of time to get yourself and your battery well prepared in advance, then you’re all set to make the most of it.”

For added peace of mind while you’re out on the road, CTEK has developed a portable battery charger, the CS FREE, that you can take with you on your journey. Charge it up, pop it in your glove box and, wherever your travels take you, you never need to worry about being stranded with a flat battery again. The CS FREE uses revolutionary ’adaptive boost technology’ to gently and safely give a flat battery enough charge to get you going in around 15 minutes. This is completely safe for the vehicle’s electronics, unlike most boosters or jump starters that deliver a sharp burst of power to effectively shock the battery into life. The CS FREE even has USB-A and USB-B ports to charge your mobile phone, PC, tablet and other devices.

Honda Sign McGuinness For The 2022 Road Racing Season

A TT Legend will be debuting the new CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT as Honda sign McGuinness for the 2022 Road Racing Season. The 49-year-old will partner Glenn Irwin as the Japanese manufacturer celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the 1992 Honda FireBlade.

John McGuiness MBE has amassed 23 TT wins and 47 podiums throughout his career. And that includes claiming 12 of the 20 total victories taken by the Honda CBR10000RR Fireblade, which contributes to Honda remaining the most successful manufacturer in TT history, having accumulated 189 wins over the years. McGuiness first raced at the Isle of Man TT in 1996, taking his first win in the Lightweight 250cc class in 1999.

Honda Sign McGuinness For The 2022 Road Racing Seasonfour rider Honda Racing BSB team next year, alongside Tom Neave, Ryo Mizuno and Takumi Takahashi.

Finally, I’ll be making my long-awaited TT debut with Honda! We’re now more familiar with the new Fireblade and the team is more familiar; I like to have home comforts as such and continuing with the bike and the same team I think puts us in a better position with frame of mind. We still have no targets set and no expectations for the Isle of Man TT, we’re going there to learn and enjoy. It’s incredible to have someone like John as my teammate on the roads, he’s someone I have looked up to and is probably the second greatest TT rider after another Honda-man Joey! To have that opportunity to be able to learn off him, and able to be part of the team, see everything first-hand and to learn off him experiencing the ‘McGuinness-factor’ is something I am really excited about! On the flip side, we go to the North West 200 where we can work together and I think we can realistically set targets there – I would love to achieve Honda’s first international road race win on the new Fireblade at the NW200 and add to my Superbike wins there. We’re fully aware we’ve not been there in a few years, but like everyone else, we’ll go, and we’ll do our homework. For sure the Honda team are the best to go road racing with, and BSB, and hopefully we can find out feet during practice and if we’re feeling confident look towards adding to the NW200 wins.

The North West 200 will take place from May 10-14th 2022, with the Isle of Man TT Races running from May 28th until June 11th, 2022. The Honda Racing UK duo will be competing in both the Superstock and Superbike classes at the NW200 and TT, along with the Senior TT.

For more of our motorcycling racing coverage, click here.


Velocity: Invitational Motorsports Festival

There are times when even a serious car guy needs a little nudge to get up early and head out in the dark to cover a motorsports event. So, we’re happy to report that our Jim Palam saw the light, set his alarm and got the story for us! Here’s his coverage of the Velocity: Invitational Motorsports Festival, where legendary cars, drivers and fans soaked up the sun and racing fuel at Laguna Seca!

Velocity: Invitational Motorsports Festival

Velocity is a vector quantity that refers to “the rate at which an object changes its position.” Turns out, that’s a good thing because it was “Velocity” that made me change my mind at the last minute and agree to go cover Saturday events at the Velocity: Invitational Motorsports Festival at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Even though I was looking forward to doing nothing that weekend, there I was at 5:30 AM riding shotgun in my neighbor John Adams’ ’16 Shelby GT350 Mustang heading north, in the dark, in the fog.

John races vintage sports cars in VARA events, so the road trip conversation was rapid, illuminating, and pretty much all about fast cars. Before I knew it, we were already in the paddock and talking to John’s friend Bob Kullas who was racing his Chevron B-16 later in the day. Bob’s Chevron, right, last of the 23-built, weighs about 1,300 pounds and gets 260 horsepower from its Cosworth 2 L YBM motor.

It was now 9:00 AM, the weather couldn’t have been any nicer and the entirety of the raceway was beginning to fire-up. Attendance was strong but not as packed as the bigger Laguna Seca events, so there was easier access to festival offerings like wine tastings, supercar demonstration rides and panel discussions – but Bob & I were here for the cars – the fast cars. Since I was on-assignment and headed trackside, we went off on our own adventures for the day. We would re-connect later in the day with big grins on our faces and new stories to tell.

Kudos to the Velocity: Invitational Motorsports Festival event organizer Jeff O’Neill and his hard-working team for making this three-day motorsport festival a world-class event that would please both drivers and spectators. There were 9 race groups, a Ragtime Racers special exhibition group and a special night race pitting 20 spunky Minis up against six mighty Mustangs. If they launch this festival again in 2022 be sure to vector your velocity and set the direction to Laguna Seca.

One of Saturday’s highlights for me was spending some time with the Porsche 917 when the Canepa Team fired it up in the Porsche exhibition area. I then made it over to the Cooper Tire bridge and positioned myself trackside for this shot of Car # 2, lead photo, top, as it accelerated hard coming out of turn No. 4. So, does its powerful Flat-12 motor sing? Just think Metallica meets Pavarotti: it’s loud and delicious ear candy!

One of many spectacular cars I discovered at this awesome event was the Czinger 21C, arguably one of the most technologically-advanced Hypercars produced. Designed and built in Los Angeles by human and AI systems, its flat-plane crank V8 and e-motors deliver a peak output of 1,250 horsepower. To learn more, go to

“At this time there is nothing in the world any quicker, any better handling, any more advanced technically, or any more fun to drive. It is, to me, the perfect race car,” said Mark Donohue, discussing the integrated perfection of the Porsche 917/30 Can-Am Spyder in 1973. The car was so powerful and dominant that it forced officials to change the rules for the Can-Am Series back in the 1970s. Here’s the blue and yellow legend charging through Turn 4 during one of the many Velocity exhibition races.

One of the big draws to the Velocity Invitational was the promise of special exhibitions from famous race teams, like McLaren Racing and its Formula 1 racecars. I made the mistake of stopping by their tidy and well-appointed garage to grab this shot of the ear-splitting McLaren MP4/13. This is the car that Mika Häkkinen, The Flying Finn, piloted to win the Australian Grand Prix in 1998. My mistake was not wearing ear plugs!

Another legendary McLaren on display and on the track at the was the Lewis Hamilton driven, slope-nosed McLaren MP4-27. I caught it roaring out of Turn 3 on Saturday morning. MP4-27 was also driven by Jenson Button and made its racing debut at the 2012 Australian Grand Prix.

Velocity: Invitational Motorsports FestivalI had just positioned myself behind the Start/Finish line K-rail at Laguna Seca when I caught a flash of red coming up behind me on pit row. It’s not often you see a Concours quality Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta on the race course – particularly one without a racing number. If you crash your 250 GT, you’ll be looking at $9M and up to replace it – if you’re lucky enough to find one. Part of the beauty of the Invitational was the inclusion of historically significant race cars and priceless collector cars like this perfect 250 GT.

Not to be outdone by McLaren, Porsche also made a big splash with a large and impressive presentation of some of its iconic racecars – including the L&M ‘72 Porsche 917/10-003, driven by George Follmer to win the 1972 Can-Am championship. In this twin-turbo 12 cylinder Can-Am screamer, George won at Road Atlanta, Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca. One of the goals of this car was to promote Porsche Audi dealerships in North America.

This beautiful ’57 Porsche 356A raced Southern California & Arizona SCCA E/Production in the late-1960s and through the 1980s. It also competed in the Benson Arizona Hill Climb and numerous rallies. The car was restored for vintage racing by Mike McNally in 2003 and later sold to Paul Frame in 2008 who continues to crank the car’s 1,620-cc, 4-cylinder motor to high revs in Western States vintage racing events.

Velocity: Invitational Motorsports FestivalIf you just looked at the curved nose, or should we say “beak” of this iconic Indy car you might be able to guess that it’s a vintage Eagle. Indy fans would recognize that this is Dan Gurney’s famous 1966 Indianapolis Eagle. This was his first Eagle (chassis #20), originally fitted with a 255-inch Ford V8 and was an AAR (All American Racers) entry at the 1966 Indy 500.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about 190 mph Superbikes on America’s greatest racing courses? If you’re thinking tall and thin Supermodels holding big umbrellas you’d be partially right! MotoAmerica brought their leggy showmanship plus eight of their top riders to the Velocity Invitational to put on exhibitions of racing skills and paddock area panache. Its racers blasted the 2.238-mile Laguna Seca course on powerful Superbikes and high-performance V-Twin Baggers.

Four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes is on the outside on P1 as he leads MotoAmerica teammates Bobby Fong on P2 and David Anthony on P3 in a knee-scraping charge coming out of Turn 10 during Saturday’s exhibition race.

This extremely rare ‘51 Lancia B20-GT Competition ‘low-roof’ racecar was driven by Felice Bonetto in the 1951 and 1952 La Carrera Panamericana, which had the unfortunate distinction as the most dangerous and deadly race in the world. I’m guessing the hub caps would have been removed from Car No. 91 for racing, but they added just the right touch of sparkle as it motored politely through the paddock area Saturday morning.

This McLaren Senna GTR in custom Gulf livery was just one of the audacious cars one could discover at Velocity. Its Neon Orange wheels are reminiscent of the McLaren Special Operations team’s Super Series 675LT livery. Early Velocity Invitational marketing efforts hinted at lots of flamboyance from event partner McLaren – including their historic McLaren F1 race cars and a chance for some lucky fans to strap in and experience the ‘98 MP4/98T two-seat Formula 1 demonstration car for a thrilling ride around the circuit.

The Shelby Daytona Coupe was the brainchild of designer Peter Brock and only six were ever built. It’s not only their rarity but their place in American racing history that makes the chance of owning one slim to none – unless you’re the son of Walmart founder, Sam Walton. This is Rob Walton’s ‘65 Shelby Daytona Coupe, the same $15-million racecar he crashed in 2012. Deep pockets and a love of racing has kept this Weber-carbed, 289-powered icon on the track and in the public eye for years.

I captured this resting shot of a genuine, factory-built 914/6 GT early Saturday morning before the paddock area began to buzz with activity. One of only 16 customer cars for 1970, this racing legend was sold new to French-Canadian automotive journalist and racing driver, Jacques Duval. It was first raced at the 24 Hours of Daytona by Duval and co-drivers Bob Bailey and George Nicholas. In 2020 this racing “Teener” sold for $1M at the Gooding Auction and it’s still being raced.

Velocity: Invitational Motorsports FestivalIt has seating for three, electrochromatic glass that darkens at the touch of a button, a carbon fiber monocoque chassis, a 4.0-liter V8 Twin-Turbo with electric motor, and a claimed top-speed of 250.4 mph. It’s the drop-dead gorgeous McLaren Speedtail that was introduced in 2018 in a very limited edition of just over 100 cars. Ironically, it is not street legal in the United States due in part to its lack of side mirrors and no side-mounted airbags. And yet, 35% of the Speedtails built were sold to U.S. customers!

The “Ragtime Racers” are an exhibition group for pre-1920 race cars. They travel to various events across the U.S. and Canada. While they may not have been the fastest cars at the Velocity Invitational, they certainly were among the most popular. Fans in the paddock area applauded as the well-rehearsed, white-coverall-clad pit crews climbed in and around, over and under their behemoth speed machines prior-to and after races.

Velocity: Invitational Motorsports FestivalIt was approximately 1:30 PM on Saturday and I was tucked behind the K-Rails near Turn 4 waiting for the Porsche 914 Exhibition Laps when I heard what sounded like a whining lawn mower heading my way. That’s when I spotted them, go-kart size single-seaters that had been hand-made to look like 1920s and 1930s racecars. I was up-close and trackside for the Cyclekart Grand Prix! I couldn’t stop smiling as I grabbed some action shots and realized that while Velocity is the rate at which an object changes its position, that motion can sometimes be relaxed – and a whole bunch of fun!

Words & Photos © Jim Palam @

For more information about the Velocity: Invitational Motorsports Festival, please visit

RS 4 Cabriolet Drops the Top, Raises the Performance

2008 Audi RS 4 Cabriolet

High-performance 2008 RS 4 Cabriolet delivered to the U.S. before calling Canada home, blacker than the blackest black, times infinity.

The B7 Audi A4 had two notable things going for it. One: it was the only generation of the A4 to include a cabriolet in the lineup. Two: it witnessed the return of the RS 4, which had disappeared after the first-gen A4 gave way to the second. And while the first RS 4 was only available in Avant form, the second could be had as a droptop, a handful of which were sold in the U.S. between 2006 and 2008.

Like this one. One of the last RS 4 Cabriolets to arrive in the U.S., it now appears on Bring a Trailer from Canada ready for a new home.

2008 Audi RS 4 Cabriolet

This black-on-black 2008 RS 4 Cabriolet first landed in a Pennsylvania dealership before its current owner brought it to Canada in December 2009. And it is black than the blackest black, times infinity. From the soft top to the wheels, this RS 4 haunts the open road in total darkness.

2008 Audi RS 4 Cabriolet

Under the hood, though, is a much more colorful story. Like all RS 4s of the time, the RS 4 Cabriolet leaves it all on the highway with a 4.2-liter V8. Back in the day, it made 420 horses and 317 lb-ft of torque, all of which hit the corners of the quattro system via a six-speed manual. It might be packing more punch these days, though, as the only mods to the big V8 include a REVO tuning chip and Milltek exhaust.

2008 Audi RS 4 Cabriolet

Under the soft top (or sun, depending), the black leather seating is accented by black carbon fiber and matte silver trim. The instrument cluster includes a 200-mph speedometer, which says quite a lot about what to expect from this RS 4 Cabriolet. The OEM satnav still looks as good now as it did in 2008.

2008 Audi RS 4 Cabriolet

The RS 4 is already a beast on the road. The fact that, at one time, it could be had as a soft top blows away the mind (not to mention everyone’s hairstyles). The closest anyone can get to the RS 4 Cabriolet these days is the R8 Spyder. What a time the turn of the millennium was.

Photos: Bring a Trailer

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Cameron Aubernon’s path to automotive journalism began in the early New ’10s. Back then, a friend of hers thought she was an independent fashion blogger.

Aubernon wasn’t, so she became one, covering fashion in her own way for the next few years.

From there, she’s written for: Magazine, Insider Louisville, The Voice-Tribune/The Voice, TOPS Louisville, Jeffersontown Magazine, Dispatches Europe, The Truth About Cars, Automotive News, Yahoo Autos, RideApart, Hagerty, and Street Trucks.

Aubernon also served as the editor-in-chief of a short-lived online society publication in Louisville, Kentucky, interned at the city’s NPR affiliate, WFPL-FM, and was the de facto publicist-in-residence for a communal art space near the University of Louisville.

Aubernon is a member of the International Motor Press Association, and the Washington Automotive Press Association.

New BMW i7 undergoes extreme final testing

Home / Auto Video / New BMW i7 undergoes extreme final testing

Gareth Herincx

3 days ago
Auto Video

BMW is conducting driving dynamics evaluation of its upcoming i7 – billed as the world’s first pure-electric luxury saloon.

The team is based at the BMW Group’s winter test centre in Arjeplog, Sweden.

Situated just a short distance from the Arctic Circle, the freezing environment and snow-covered roads present the perfect conditions for engineers to fine-tune the performance of all drive and suspension systems.

The intensive winter testing programme also focuses on the components of the all-electric drive system, including the motor, high-voltage battery, power electronics and charging technology.

The BMW i7 (pictured in heavy camouflage) is due to launch in 2022.


Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who’s worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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