Archive for the ‘Columns’ Category

Roy Lanchester goes to CES

Posted in Columns, News, Roy Lanchester by Roy Lanchester on Monday, January 9th, 2017

Refreshed motoring journalist ROY LANCHESTER pays a visit to the Consumer Electronics Show

RoyLanchester14My relationship with the old fashioned car makers can be summed up in a simple word and that word is ‘frosty’. It can also be summed up in some rather more complicated words such as ‘legal proceedings’. Fortunately, the same is yet to apply to the really important part of the motor industry; the lavish media trips organised by the companies that supply the parts that make up our cars.

Companies such as Quilan Systems, an American concern which has realised the real brains lie in Britain and has set up facility here providing research, development and a canteen. Last year I was lucky enough to visit this and other parts of the centre, all of which are located in an area of Cambridgeshire famed for its strong technology skills, convenient transport links and two nearby pubs, and I was delighted when their PR girl agreed to take me on an overseas trip with them if I agreed to (more…)

Ask A Total Prick From An Internet Forum

Posted in Ask A Total Prick From An Internet Forum, Columns, News by Sniff Petrol on Friday, January 6th, 2017

Got a problem? Want a passive aggressive knobslit to answer it by acting like he owns the place? Okay then.

tpfaif_6Dear Total Prick From An Internet Forum,
A while ago I remember you recommending a particular car but I can’t recall what it was. Could you jog my memory?
KM, London

Total Prick From An Internet Forum replies…
Ever heard of a little thing called the search function? I guess not. Maybe the mods could lock this thread before it gets ugly, although it’s already too late for that one thanks to the actions of some people, mentioning no names, KM. My girlfriend would know the answer to this one, and she’s not even that into cars, although I live in hope!! I think you’ll find the car I was referring to was my very own steed of choice, the Honda Civic Type-S. Or, as my girlfriend calls it, (more…)

Ask The Voice Recognition System From A Car

Posted in Columns, News by Sniff Petrol on Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

askvoicerecognitionDear The Voice Recognition System From A Car,
I’m getting married to a wonderful women in the summer but her mother is trying to dictate our special day. My wife-to-be is too worried about upsetting her mum to say something but I can’t stand by and I don’t know how best to tackle the situation without causing a falling out.
Jake, Handforth

The Voice Recognition System From A Car replies,
Command accepted. Do you want to call Jackie? To cancel, say ‘cancel’…… I’m sorry, I didn’t get that…… Calling David Wilson.


Dear The Voice Recognition System From A Car,
There’s a girl I really like at work but I can’t tell if she likes me. How can I find out without looking stupid? We always get on very well and I think when we speak the atmosphere is often very flirty.
Ash, Watford

The Voice Recognition System From A Car replies,
Function selected: climate control. Select from the following options; temperature, fan speed, off. Or say cancel…… I’m sorry, I didn’t get that…… Please repeat…… okay…… Calling David Wilson.


Dear The Voice Recognition System From A Car,
An old friend from a long time ago has got in touch out of the blue. We weren’t especially close and her tone seems very odd, as if she wants something. Should I ignore her, or am I being paranoid?
Sara, Kent

The Voice Recognition System From A Car replies,
I’m sorry, I didn’t get that. Did you say set temperature to 47 degrees centigrade…… I didn’t catch that…… disconnecting steering…… to cancel, say ‘cancel’…… command accepted…… setting cruise control to 400 miles per hour……. I’m sorry, can you repeat that…… alerting police……. did you mean to say ‘cancel’?….. setting volume to maximum…… please repeat that last command…… okay…… calling David Wilson.


Crazy Dave at the 2015 Race Of Champions

Posted in Columns, Crazy Dave by Crazy Dave Coulthard on Monday, November 23rd, 2015

CrazyDave2014Och aye tha noo muthafuckas! Crazy Dave Coulthard comin’ atcha from tha Olympiddy Stadiumiddy for the twenny fiddeen Racizzle of Championizzles. Fo’ sho’.

So Crazy D be in tha hizzy on Friday fo’ tha rumble in tha London an’ tings be sweet like sho’bread served on a bagpizzle cuz me be wit’ ma what-the-funk-happened-to-yo-accent shortie SuWoo representin’ Team Scotlizzle. Nayizzle botherizzle. ‘Cept, tings don’t go so deep fried gravy fo’ me and ma sista. Ma girl get her retirin’ ass whooped by ma endurance racin’ homie A Bun-to-tha-Cum and then tha D master get beat by ma so solid brother Jenny B. They can take our points but they can never take our free… oh. Shizzle.

Nuff respect to tha English bastards who takin’ tha team victory, ma rubbin’ is racin’ homie Baked P and ma most famous brother no one ever heard of, Andizzle Prizzlizzleuzzilex.

Ting is, we still got tha inviduizzle contest to go. That’s right, it be tha Racizzle of Championizzles Championizzizzle of Championizzlizzlizzlez. An’ hot dang there be some homies wit’ tha skillz in this showdown. We got ma under-rated homie Tha Hulk, we got ma permasmiley brother D Riccy, we got ma so solid endurohomie Tommy K. This be some serious driving abilitizzles here. And Filly M.

But see, dem kidz ain’t reckoned wit’out tha wise mind and tight strides of yo’s truly Crazy D cuz me is bringin’ ma mad skillz out to play in tha stadiayay. In tha first round, me take down ma strong lady homie Tha Woolfstress an’ in round deux Tha D be kickin’ da ass of FiMa. Boom! Dat’s right, Crazy D got a semi. And not tha sort y’all sometimes see in ma jeans on tha F1 coveragizzle.

So all you homies need to recall that Crazy D is tha returning champiohomie here and lemme tell y’all, D ain’t lookin’ to leave a gap on he’s mantlepizzle. Trouble is, tha D gotta take on ma 4x pointy finger F1 champiobrother Sebby V. Tha D ain’t going down wit’out a fight but me us’ ain’t got tha moves to see off tha Vettster. Hot dang. But ain’t no shame in that cuz pretty soon ma making tha best of he patchy Ferrari homie be smashin’ it wit’ Tommy K in the finalay. Nuff respec’ to SeVe. Y’all can look after ma troph until next year.

Peace out homies. Peace out.

Ask A Total Prick From An Internet Forum volume 5

Posted in Ask A Total Prick From An Internet Forum, Columns by Total Prick From An Internet Forum on Friday, November 20th, 2015

TPFAIF_5Dear Total Prick From An Internet Forum,
This F1 season has been a let down for me. I think the sport needs to go back to basics, simplifying the rules and in particular looking at reducing the complexity of the aerodynamics to permit closer racing. What do you reckon?
Rob, Coventry

Total Prick From An Internet Forum replies…
So you’re in charge of F1 now are you? I must have missed that memo. Listen, you can sit there spouting your opinions but you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. I have a very close friend who works for a major team and the things he tells me are incredible and would expose your ignorance, though of course I can’t tell you any more than that. Perhaps in future you should keep your thoughts to yourself or learn to treat this forum and its members with some respect. These armchair critics really make me laugh. The simple fact is, unless your name is one B. Ecclestone you’re not in a position to judge. End of.


Dear Total Prick From An Internet Forum,
I live in the sticks and have a Land Cruiser as my everyday car but I really fancy a Land Rover as a bit of a toy. Torn between an old series 3 or a more modern Defender with a few trick bits. Any thoughts?
HT, Shropshire

Total Prick From An Internet Forum replies…
It’s like you haven’t read a thing I’ve said. Old Land Rovers are literally the worst cars in the world unless you literally want to hack one arm off to fit in it and then literally suffer a broken leg every time you use the clutch and then it will literally break down every time you drive it. I don’t even need to have driven one to tell you that this is obviously the case and you must be missing a brain if you think otherwise. Fact. In all the time I have owned my Honda Civic Type-S I have never, repeat NEVER, had a single problem with it. Why do you think I can’t imagine a single car I would replace it with? What, you think it’s because I’m a low ranking IT professional and I can’t afford anything else now my parents have started charging me rent? Whatever. If you consider anything other than an HCT-S you’re doing it wrong and methinks someone’s going to come crying back when your stupid ‘fashion’ car goes wrong again. Why is your tone so aggressive? I’m being polite and you seem determined to turn this into an argument. Frankly, your post offends me and I will be reporting you to the mods. You have left me with no choice. Simple as.


Dear Total Prick From An Internet Forum,
Hey mate. Will there be any other forum meet ups this year? Gutted I couldn’t make the Nurburgring trip last month.
Dave, London

Total Prick From An Internet Forum replies…
Oh my God, I can’t believe you missed the HCT-SF ‘Ringmaster weekend. Garlic bread? Garlic? Bread?!!!! SuperPete87 knows what I mean! Amazing weekend! “And then SHE said!!!!!” 😉 Awesome time with awesome people. One meeeeeeeellion dollars!!!!! 🙂 Ask VTEC_Simon about the kettle!!!!!!!! Are those standard rims?????? 😉 LEMON MERINGUE!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL 🙂 🙂 🙂


Ask A Total Prick From An Internet Forum… about Top Gear

Posted in Ask A Total Prick From An Internet Forum, Columns by Total Prick From An Internet Forum on Thursday, November 27th, 2014

TPFAIF_4Dear Total Prick From An Internet Forum,
What do you think of this thing about Top Gear and the Porsche number plate in Argentina? Reckon it was deliberate?
Rav, Sheffield

Total Prick From An Internet Forum replies…
I think there’s some people on here who need to wake up and SERIOUSLY smell the coffee. Of course it was deliberate. It’s completely obvious that Top Gear decided to film in Argentina and then combed the UK looking for a car that had a number plate that looked a bit like a reference to the Falklands war and that, luckily for them, the right plate happened to be on a Porsche 928 GT. It’s TYPICAL of Top Gear to assign a team of hundreds to searching the nation to find the right plate and/or illegally hacking into the DVLA computer in order to make a joke like this. They were just fortunate that the right plate was on a very rare car that Clarkson likes and that the car in question was also for sale so they could buy it. That is what happened. FACT.


Dear Total Prick From An Internet Forum,
So you know this Top Gear number plate thing. Apparently the plate had been on the car since 1991 and the car was only bought by Top Gear in August, less than a month before they started filming in Argentina. They say it can’t have been deliberate. What do you think?
Jake, Wexford

Total Prick From An Internet Forum replies…
You’re SERIOUSLY making yourself sound stupid here, Jake. It’s now obvious to me and anyone with a brain that what Top Gear actually did was happen across this rare Porsche with a number plate that looked like a reference to the Falklands in August and that, as a result of this, they then immediately decided to film their Christmas special in Argentina and arranged for their presenters, producers, director, assistant director, researchers, cameramen, soundmen, camera assistants, safety advisors, fixers and medical support to fly to South America. They were just lucky to find flights, hotels, a route, and an editorial reason to be there at short notice. That is what happened. END OF.


Dear Total Prick From An Internet Forum,
Hey there. I saw you and your car at the Honda Civic Type S owners’ forum meet last month. I noticed that the last three letters of your number plate are CNT. Did you buy that reg?
Matt, Guildford

Total Prick From An Internet Forum replies…
No, it’s a coincidence.


2014 Abu Dhabi GP preview

Posted in Columns, Motorsport by Trentham Sleaves on Friday, November 21st, 2014

trenthamsleaves1Abysmal F1 journalist TRENTHAM SLEAVES looks forward to this weekend’s race

There’s a crackle in the warm desert air here in Abu Dhabi. You can’t see it, you can’t touch it, you can’t smell or taste it, but you just know that it’s there, assuming you are here, which of course I am.

I was saying as much to my dear friends Marty Brundle and Davey Coulthard only yesterday. There’s such a unique atmosphere to the Yas Marina, I suggested, and that makes the place a worthy venue in which to end the season. ‘I’m sorry but this is a private conversation,’ Mart quipped. ‘Please go away.’ Such a wonderful sense of humour!

Last night I intended to dine alone at Gino’s, a marvelous little Italian place I first discovered a couple of years ago after following a certain British world champion of the 1990s who shall remain nameless! To my delight, upon walking into the premises I spotted the chap in question was dining here too! What a charming coincidence, I observed. ‘Oh Jesus,’ he jested. ‘I’ve told you before, leave me alone you weirdo’. Then who should join in but my good friend Gerhard Berger who humourously called me a ‘fucking asshole’. I was still chuckling about this when a voice behind us said, ‘They’re right, you’re a pain in the ass and a total dick.’ Why, it was my great chum Niki Lauda! ‘Why don’t you do us all a favour and get out,’ chimed in my good mate Alain Prost. ‘He’s right,’ added my dear old buddy Mika Hakkinen. ‘Get out, you smug, annoying, pointless little prick!’ Wonderful banter!

So we come to our reason for being here in the flower of the desert’s rose; the dénouement of the 2014 season, and what a sensational showdown it promises to be. The double points rule comes under lot of criticism and I feel I have to speak out and say, it’s not my place to comment either way about the advantages or otherwise of this innovative and unusual system. What I will say also is that now is not the time to sit on the fence as to who will take the coveted championship. There’s everything to play for and everything to win as well as everything to lose. The million dollar question is, who will be the ultimate winner? To my mind the answer is simple: The winner will be Formula 1.

It has been quite a season. So many great races, all of them so much more enjoyable when you see them in person. As always in an F1 season it has also been quite an endeavour, travelling the world to take in all this action. So many flights, so many hotels, so many delightful dinners at charming restaurants. In many ways, it has been exhausting. Never has a quiet night’s rest in my modest London pied-a-terre sounded so appealing! But before all that, there is the small matter of one more race. I’m sure I will be on the edge of my seat this Sunday, although of course mine will be right by the track and I’m sure yours won’t be. Because remember, all season long, I’ve been here and you haven’t.

2014 Brazilian GP preview

Posted in Columns, Motorsport, Trentham Sleaves by Trentham Sleaves on Friday, November 7th, 2014

trenthamsleaves1Appalling F1 journalist TRENTHAM SLEAVES looks ahead to this weekend’s race

If Formula 1 had a spiritual home then surely it would be here at Autódromo José Carlos Pace, better known as Interlagos, the venue for the always-wonderful Brazilian Grand Prix. The atmosphere here in the paddock is literally electric in a manner that anyone who has been here, as of course I have many times, will recognise instantly.

The crackle in the air comes partly from the passionate fans, partly from the tangible smell of history in the wind, and partly from the very real ghost that hangs above the place like so many gossamer curtains in my charming hotel room. I’m talking of course about the legend and my dear, dear friend Ayrton Senna da Silva.

There’s not a day goes by when I don’t think of Ayrton and, if he was still with us, I’m sure that would be mutual. I remember once being in the McLaren motorhome and asking my great pal Alain Prost what made Senna such a fearsome and passionate presence out on the track. ‘You’re not allowed in here,’ Le Professeur quipped. ‘Get out!’ Al is such a character and much missed, although of course he is not dead.

Last night I dined alone at Benito’s, a delightful hole-in-the-wall Italian close to the track and very much a legend amongst those in the paddock. As I enjoyed my spaghetti vongole I felt in a very real sense that I was not dining alone but was watched over by Senna, or Ayrto as I called him though he asked me not to. My thoughts were interrupted when I noticed a certain 1996 World Champion who shall remain nameless coming out of the lavatory and approached him for a chat. ‘Oh for God’s sake, leave me alone,’ he jested before walking briskly out of the premises. Priceless!

As to who will take the infamous chequered flag here amongst the passionate Brazilian fans, I think it would be churlish to speculate. However, you’d be foolish to bet against either of the Mercedes unless you fancied an outside bet on the impressive Williams’ or the late charging Ferraris or a final push from the Red Bulls.

Whatever happens here in Brazil, rest assured I will be enjoying it from right in the thick of the action. Because remember, I’m here and you’re not.

2014 US Grand Prix preview

Posted in Columns, Motorsport, Trentham Sleaves by Trentham Sleaves on Friday, October 31st, 2014

F1 journalist TRENTHAM SLEAVES looks ahead to this weekend’s race

trenthamsleaves1The F1 circus has been to Austin just twice before yet already this typically Texan track feels like a fixture on the illustrious calendar and the atmosphere in the paddock is quite, quite unique. Like the local cooking, it’s a rich, full flavoured and heady experience that is impossible to understand unless you are here, which of course I am.

F1 has taken Austin to its heart and vice versa, something I was able to reflect upon last night as I dined alone at Giovani’s Italian Food Center, a delightful restaurant that many well-known motorsport names have rapidly made a firm favourite. Or, as they say in these part, favorite! I recalled my first visit here just one year ago, led to the unassuming premises by a certain former world champion who raced under the number zero! ‘Oh for God’s sake, are you still following me?’ he quipped, before hilariously asking the waiter not to let me join his group. Such a tremendous sense of humour!

Less of laughing matter this weekend is the sad absence of not one but two teams as Marussia and Caterham have been slain by the financial perils that in particular haunt the lower ranking teams in these fiscally punishing times for the sport. Someone who knows all too well the pressures of funding a top flight racing team is my dear friend, Sir Frank Williams, and I was delighted to be able to have a natter with him about this very topic. ‘Oh God, isn’t this something you could bother Claire with you horrible man?’ he joked before reversing away. Good to see some can still find time for a light-hearted quip in these difficult times!

As to this weekend’s racing, it would be absurd to speculate on who will take the famous chequered flag under the big skies of the lone star state but suffice to say I think a Mercedes will clinch it, though one shouldn’t discount the increasingly fearsome Williams’ nor the charging Red Bulls and surprising Ferraris.

Whatever happens, rest assured I will have a prime seat for the action. Because remember, I’m here and you’re not.

Ask a large breathless man

Posted in Columns by Large breathless man on Thursday, October 30th, 2014

American readers’ questions answered by a sturdy gentleman apparently on the verge of a cardiac episode


Dear Large Breathless Man,
I’m looking for a new truck. I have a boat and my kids are getting bigger so I need towing ability and a real big interior. Any suggestions?
Dave, MI

Large Breathless Man replies
I… uh… I think… uh… pfff pffff pfffffff… you shouldn’t… uh, should get… a Chevy… uh…. because…. technology and stuff… ed crust… With extra cheese… fffffffffffff… gnnnngh.

Dear Large Breathless Man,
I’ve driven F150s for 20 years but this new aluminum business plain well puts me off. What alternatives have I got here?
Jon, MO

Large Breathless Man replies
Well… ungh… what you knees… need, uh… is… uh… a levy… Chevy, gnnnn… cuz, it, uh, uh, uh, uh, got… ugh… technology and, uh… I can’t read that… my uhhh… my card got, uh, technology and sweat on it… uhhhhhhhhhhhh…

Dear Large Breathless Man,
I need a powerful motor for my next truck. No six cylinders, a V8. What’s good for power and performance?
Arn, AZ

Large Breathless Man replies
I… uh… uh… uh… uh… uh… uh… uh… uh… uh… you need, gnnn, you need… my arm has gone numb… gnnnnn…. gnnnnnn….. urrrrgh….. please… please… rub more butter on me… uh-hu-huhuh.