Yuasa and TPS back Matt Edwards as he contends for third BRC title

Reigning champion joins Melvyn Evans Motorsport and is set to pilot Volkswagen Polo R5

Welshman Matt Edwards will challenge for a third successive BRC title with the continued support of Yuasa who are also joined by TPS as a main sponsor for the upcoming season.

The reigning champion and co-driver Darren Garrod are set to pilot the all-new car at rounds across the England, Scotland and Wales as they challenge for another title following dominant championship wins in both 2018 and 2019.

The South Wales-based Melvyn Evans Motorsport-prepared Polo R5 replaces Matt’s previous challengers and is set to heavily feature the battery manufacturer’s branding and distinctive red, white and black colour scheme on a yet to be unveiled livery.

The 2021 season will be Matt’s sixth in the fiercely contested championship, claiming an incredible eight wins and 13 podiums in that time.

The team hope to tackle stages across the UK, Ireland and Belgium building on their successful start to the 2020 season after winning the Cambrian Rally in Llandudno before the season was unfortunately cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joining the battery manufacturer in announcing their support for the reigning British Champion and the new Polo R5, is parts giant, TPS.

Established in 2007 to provide parts to the independent motor trade, TPS are a wholly-owned brand of Volkswagen Group UK. As well as stocking the full range of Yuasa batteries and an extensive all-makes Quantum consumables range, TPS are the number one trade provider of Volkswagen Group Genuine Parts for Volkswagen, SEAT, ŠKODA & Audi.

Yuasa will be joined once again by Swift with the leisure vehicle manufacturer’s branding appearing across the car – a nod to the close working relationship of both brands.

Jon Pritchard, General Sales & Marketing Manager at GS Yuasa Battery Sales UK said: “We’re pleased to continue our partnership with Matt and are keen to help him on his way as he challenges for a third title.

“Matt has shown incredible drive and determination since his win in Llandudno and we can’t wait to see him hit the stage in an all-new car for 2021!”

Michelle Masterton-Smith, Marketing & Communications Manager at TPS said “We’re delighted to be on board supporting Matt as he strives for his third title. Given Matt’s recent move to racing the Polo R5 the decision for TPS to sponsor Matt this season was an easy one.”

Matt added: “I’m thrilled to have Yuasa back on board as my title sponsor with TPS joining us for 2021. It’s been a difficult twelve months with minimal running as a result of the pandemic, however Yuasa’s support has never wavered.

“We’re entering the season in an all-new car but I’m confident in my skills and the car setup that I’ll be able to challenge from round one.”

The 2021 British Rally Championship is scheduled to get underway with round one in July.

For further details, please click here.

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Block Exemption to be reviewed by Competition and Markets Authority

Consultation expected to be held this summer

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is to review the UK’s European Block Exemption Regulations, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy has announced.

A consultation is expected to be held this summer on the CMA’s proposed recommendation.

Subject to views it receives from stakeholders during the course of the review, the CMA’s current view is that the retained VBER largely delivers what it was intended to deliver, but it should be examined rigorously to ensure that it takes account of any specific features of the UK economy so that it serves the interests of UK businesses and consumers.

The European Commission has already completed its evaluation of the existing EU VBER and the accompanying EU Guidelines on Vertical Restraints, which has concluded that both are relevant and useful tools that help businesses self-assess vertical agreements.

The CMA will draw on relevant evidence from the Commission’s evaluation as part of its review.

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation’s (IAAF) chief executive, Wendy Williamson has signed up to the round table discussions, which will be taking place this spring, to represent IAAF and its members.

For further information, please click here.

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Watch: Police raid West Midlands garage after setting up ‘The Covid Arms’ pub in workshop

Garage owner hit with £1,000 fine after party came to abrupt end

Police raided a garage business this week which was turned into makeshift pub, complete with “The Covid Arms” signage.

Officers found 13 people in the workshop but allowed them to leave using their discretion.

The garage owner was issued with a £1,000 fine, the force said.

Body-cam footage shared by West Midlands Police shows the moment the illegal gathering was brought to an abrupt end just after 7.30pm on Saturday night.

Tables and chairs had been set up next to the workshop, while a TV had been mounted on a nearby Land Rover.

A video released by West Midlands Police shows officers raiding a nightclub packed with around 150 people near Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter later on the same night – footage towards the end of the video shows the garage raid.

Assistant chief constable Chris Todd said people must remember lockdown continues and Covid-19 is still a threat to communities.

He said: “Our officers continue to work long and hard to protect the public and reduce the spread of this deadly virus by breaking up these gatherings, often in really difficult circumstances.

“It’s unacceptable that our officers came under attack, and that one suffered a minor injury, just for doing their job and enforcing laws that are in place to keep us all safe.”

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Schaeffler starts mass production of electric motors

Firm establishes itself as drive system supplier for sustainable electric mobility

Schaeffler is now reaping the rewards of an early 2018 decision to create a specific business division for electric mobility.

The start of multiple product mass production across all electrification levels is testimony to Schaeffler’s successful integration into the world of electric mobility and its status as a technology partner for evolving how the world moves.

“We have successfully transformed ourselves into a drive system supplier for sustainable electric mobility solutions and are now established as a reliable partner for our customers,” says Matthias Zink, CEO Automotive Technologies at Schaeffler AG.

What makes Schaeffler different is its know-how at both component and system level.

“We have been involved in electric mobility for more than 20 years, so we understand the requirements of the drive train. Our innovation capacity as a global automotive and industrial supplier, plus our strong industrial skills, make us a preferred partner for our customers.”

Schaeffler has also progressively strengthened its electric mobility expertise over the last few years via a series of targeted acquisitions.

The purchase of Elmotec Statomat at the end of 2018 added expertise in winding technology and provided Schaeffler with comprehensive coverage in all aspects of electric motor industrialization.

Another highly successful acquisition was the takeover of Compact Dynamics in 2016, a specialist in the development of innovative electric drive concepts.

Meanwhile, the Schaeffler Paravan joint venture is developing the ‘Space Drive’ steer-by-wire system, a key technology needed for autonomous driving.

Schaeffler supplies technologies for all electrified drive trains. Electric axle transmissions have been successfully mass produced since 2017, providing optimum transmission ratios and power transfer from the electric motor to the wheels.

This is a highly versatile component with a wide range of applications.

For example, Schaeffler electric axle transmissions, with different structural designs, are used on both axles for all-wheel drive capability in the Audi e-tron.

The Porsche Taycan is fitted with a high-efficiency Schaeffler coaxial electric axle transmission to provide the required transmission ratio on the front axle.

In 2020, the coaxial electric axle transmission earned Schaeffler the prestigious PACE Award, regarded by the industry worldwide as the hallmark for successful automotive projects. Schaeffler has also secured multiple orders for its complete “3-in-1 electric axles”, which combine the electric motor, drive unit and power electronics in a single system.

These are high-performance electric axles with advanced power density.

This year will see the start of the mass production of hybrid modules, hybrid drive units and all-electric axle transmissions. Schaeffler’s strong expertise in the areas of production and technology across all components of electric drive systems is key to the successful manufacture of technologically advanced products.

As well as mass production orders for passenger car electric motors, Schaeffler is also servicing heavy-duty applications in the commercial vehicle segment.

Schaeffler has announced a mass production order for electric motors featuring “wave winding” technology, which provides high power density as well as other installation advantages.

As reported in 2020, Schaeffler has received a record order for dedicated hybrid drives.

From 2024, Schaeffler will deliver a twin electric motor and transmission unit with integrated power electronics.

A system power rating of 120 kW delivers sports-car like performance combined with low fuel consumption.

“We are making excellent progress,” says Dr. Jochen Schröder, President of the E-Mobility business division.

“Our modular product portfolio enables us to offer tailored mass-production solutions to meet any customer requirement,” Dr. Schröder continues.

These successes in the E-Mobility business division reflect the company’s high standing as an automotive component, system and service supplier, as its comprehensive product portfolio illustrates.

For further information, please click here.

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Drivers to be paid £3,000 a year to give up car

Two-year trial could see drivers in Coventry stop using their cars in exchange for public transport credits

Motorists in Coventry could be paid up to £3,000 a year to give up their cars as part of a pilot scheme to calculate the cost of reducing dependency on polluting vehicles.

The two-year trial, which was approved by the city council in 2019, will see owners of pre-Euro 4 petrol and pre-Euro 6 diesel cars surrender their vehicles in exchange for credits that can be used to pay for public transport, bicycles, e-scooters, car-sharing schemes and taxis.

Hampshire County Council is also considering a similar ‘Mobility Credit Scheme’.

AA president Edmund King questioned why a city with such strong links to the motor industry would want to stop people driving, particularly with many UK car makers going electric in the near future.

He said: “Coventry was right at the heart of the historic revolution of the British motor industry and known to many as the UK’s motor city or ‘British Detroit.

“How ironic that a local authority in Coventry is now trying to pay people to ditch their wheels.

“The timing of this initiative seems bizarre when many are avoiding public transport due to Covid-19 and leading brands such as Jaguar, with close links to Coventry, are going all-electric by 2025.

“The money would probably be better spent on providing electric charging points for those without off-street parking rather than giving mobility credits for services that people will use when they need to or feel safe to.”

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Ivor Searle adds BMW 2.0 diesel turbocharger to remanufactured range

New BMW application covers 1, 2, 3 and 5 Series models built from 2010 – 2016

Ivor Searle has added a turbocharger for the 2.0 litre derivative of BMW’s popular N47 diesel engine to its all-makes programme which covers petrol and diesel cars and light commercial vehicles.

The new BMW application covers 1, 2, 3 and 5 Series models built from 2010 – 2016, as well as the X1 SUV. 

Costing up to 40 per cent less than OE, Ivor Searle remanufactured turbochargers provide independent garages with competitive advantage without compromising on quality, warranty protection or customer service.

An Ivor Searle spokesperson said: “All Ivor Searle turbochargers undergo stringent quality checks and test procedures throughout the remanufacturing process to ensure maximum durability and service life. 

“Prior to final assembly, the turbocharger’s rotating assembly is balanced on state-of-the-art VSR equipment to OE specification, while oil flow rates are checked at the same time.

“Every turbocharger receives a detailed final inspection and is flow tested to ensure optimum performance.”

Ivor Searle turbochargers are provided with a transferable two-year unlimited mileage parts and labour warranty. 

All units are also supplied pre-installation guidelines, as well as model-specific instructions if required.

Ivor Searle holds a comprehensive stock of turbochargers and provides free next day UK mainland delivery for stock items ordered before 3.30pm.

For further information call 01353 720531 or click here.

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Garage to lose £12K during road closure, owner fears

Access to workshop closed off during six-day resurfacing works

A Gloucester-based independent garage could stand to lose around £12,000 during a six-day road closure while the street it operates on is resurfaced.

Alan Holder, 73, who owns Discount Tyres in Barton, says his garage earns about £2,000 a day in repairs and MOT appointments and employs four people.

Resurfacing works are due to take place in Upton Street from February 26 until March 5, excluding weekends, between 9.30am and 3.30pm.

Mr Holder said: “It’s going to be kept open for blue light services but not for us. It’s going to be closed between 9.30am and 3.30pm which is our normal business hours, in effect they’re stopping me from entering my premises for six days.

“Unless someone’s going to give me all the money that I’m going to lose – which I very much doubt – I’m not very happy at all.

“There has got to be a way, they could do half at a time.

“I’ve emailed them and they told me to get customers to drop off their car earlier and pick it up later.

“It doesn’t work like that.

“There’s no thought gone into it whatsoever.”

He says he has been unable to get in touch with a range of customers who have an MOT appointment booked during the roadworks and that many of his customers generally arrive on the day for a repair.

He added: “I’m standing to lose about £12,000. It is a lot of money.

“I’m turning over between £1,500 and £2,00 a day and then there’s the MOT testing centre which we do about eight cars a day.

“Then there’s loss of wages, it’s going to be about £1,500.

“So totalling it up, it’s going to be a lot of money which I cannot afford to lose.”

A spokesperson for Gloucestershire County Council said: “We know road closures can be inconvenient for residents and businesses and we appreciate their understanding while we carry out this essential work.

“We contacted all local businesses on February 3 to notify them of the planned works.

“We suggest Discount Tyres ask their customers wherever possible to drop off their vehicle before 9.30am and pick up after 3.30pm.

“Road access will be restricted during the works, however our crews will aim to accommodate vehicle movement only if safe and practical to do so; but would advise drivers to allow extra time in case of a delay.”

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NGK shows support for drag racing

Brand highlighted in Race Engine Technology magazine article

NGK has been renowned for its support of motorsport over many decades and is now in the news through its involvement with drag racing.

The company was highlighted in an article in Race Engine Technology magazine during an interview with Rob Flynn, Co-Crew Chief for Kalitta Motorsports in the USA, which competes in the Top Fuel series.

He said: “Our spark plug partner NGK is new to Top Fuel this year.

“We did an R&D programme with them last year during testing and we worked for months developing these spark plugs.

“This relationship has been great and we have successfully run their plugs all season.

“They are the exclusive supplier to Kalitta Motorsports this year and will be available to other competitors beginning next season.”

Doug Kalitta came second in last year’s Top Fuel NHRA Camping World Drag Racing series and the 2021 season is set to start in the USA with the 52nd annual Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway on March 12-14.

Chad Head, Kalitta Motorsports general manager, said: “We can’t thank all our sponsors enough for working with us throughout last season.

“We all had to be creative and flexible. We have the best sponsors in motorsports.

“Every week we tried to connect with our partners and it paid off with amazing sponsor retention heading in to the 2021 season.”

In the UK NGK has had a long-standing relationship with seven-time British drag racing champion Andy Robinson who built the MO70 Dragmower which became the fastest lawnmower over 1/4 mile when it completed the distance in just 9.49 seconds with a top speed of 115.53mph and became the fastest accelerating lawnmower by reaching 102.64mph in 5.44 seconds.

MO70’s performance topped such iconic high-performance cars as the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 2018, which took 9.65 seconds over the distance when it reached 140mph, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport 2011, which took 9.7 seconds to achieve 145mph, and the McLaren P1 2014, taking 9.8 seconds to reach 148.9mph.

The original ride-on mower, on which MO70 was based, was transformed by Andy Robinson and was piloted by NGK’s Scottish Sales Representative John Catterson at Santa Pod Raceway in Northamptonshire, England on October 4, 2019.

Mark Hallam, Marketing Manager, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “NGK has been synonymous with motorsport for many years both in the UK and overseas and the article demonstrates how we work in close collaboration with our partners in many sports including drag racing.”

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Vehicle owners told to stay on top of maintenance during lockdown

More than half of drivers do not know when next service is due

Highways England is this week encouraging road users to carry out regular vehicle maintenance and checks during the current national lockdown after a new survey revealed that more than half (54 per cent) did not know when their next service is due.

Nearly a third (32 per cent) of road users admit they only carry out basic vehicle maintenance, such as checking their tyre pressure or oil levels, at best every few months or never.

This is in spite of advice to perform regular vehicle maintenance – even when a vehicle is not in regular use during lockdown – on top of the recommended annual service and mandatory MOT.

In response to the survey, Highways England and partners – breakdown provider, Green Flag, and retailer, Halfords – are now highlighting the importance of basic maintenance and checks in helping road users to avoid breakdowns or endangering themselves and other drivers.

Without proper care and attention during lockdown, owners risk tyre problems, flat batteries, weather damage and issues due to fluid levels running low when they begin using their vehicle again.

Jeremy Phillips, head of road user safety, said: “While the country is in still in lockdown, we want to remind drivers to act now and carry out those important basic checks.

“Doing regular maintenance, rather than waiting until the end of lockdown is in sight, will ensure their vehicles still work and preventable breakdowns are avoided when restrictions are lifted and the nation gets back on the road.”

Every year Highways England’s traffic officers deal with more than 85,000 breakdowns – 40 per cent caused by vehicles running out of fuel, poor tyre maintenance, power loss and engine trouble.

Basic checks and maintenance can prevent many breakdowns, says Highways England.

Mark Newberry, commercial director at Green Flag, said: “Cars are designed to be driven regularly and the components rely on regular use to stay in tip-top condition.

“A period of lockdown means many vehicles that may have been running every day could now be used less, which can lead to a number of complications.

“Car batteries are often the hardest hit. During the first lockdown, over 60 per cent of our callouts were for battery-related issues and the colder weather will also have an impact by reducing the battery’s ability to hold charge.

“Carry out a few basic checks to make sure your car is ready for when you need it.

“Don’t leave it until your next MOT or service if you know or feel there is something wrong with your car.”

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Schaeffler REPXPERT ‘tea-break training’ series a “no-brainer”

Zoom training programme continues with ‘customer challenges’ set to be covered next

There is no question that during these socially distanced times, Schaeffler’s REPXPERT ‘Tea-break training’ concept has captured the attention of the workshop community, with more than 200 workshops and technicians again attending the latest INA cooling module.

“The purpose of the training is threefold”, said Schaeffler Technical Manager and REPXPERT, Alistair Mason.

“First, to support workshops by providing useful information to professional technicians that can improve their knowledge and make jobs simpler.

“Second, to present it in a way that is easy to digest and allows them to put it into practice, then finally, give them access to the original equipment parts, tools and fitting info that allows them to get the job done right first time – every time.

“It is remarkably easy to put a tangible value on this kind of support training, because if you think of something like a switchable water pump, as used by VW on its 1.6 and 2.0-litre TDI units and covered in part of our INA cooling module two ‘Switch on the heat’, you can see the real cost of getting it wrong.

“It’s a four-hour job, so not doing it right can cost a workshop, charging £60 an hour, not only half a day’s work that it cannot charge again for redoing the job, but also the cost of a new pump.

“They also lose the £240 they could have earned doing other work, plus they now have a backlog affecting other jobs and other customers – surely it’s better to get it right first time!”

It’s little wonder therefore that proactive workshops such as Avia Sports Cars, for example, consider training a vital business investment.

“Preventing fitting errors, such as the one mentioned by Alistair, is not only key to our profitability, but also our reputation,” explains proprietor, Hayley Pells.

“So, the fact that the Schaeffler REPXPERT team is making this information readily available, and for free, makes attending these sessions a no-brainer.

“Every member of our team has attended the ‘Tea-break training’ sessions since launch, working it into our natural breaks is preferable as we can watch it together and discuss among ourselves, as well as asking the REPXPERTs questions as we go.

“Workshop life means that sometimes we could spend this time doing repairs – so there is a cost investment of sorts.

“However, the training returns on this investment as it helps cut fitting errors down to a minimum, our IMI CPD is kept up to date, and it ensures we remain ahead of our competitors.”

The last word goes to ‘The Garage Inspector’ and Schaeffler brand ambassador, Andy Savva, “I truly believe what Schaeffler has brought to the table with their ‘Tea-break training’ sessions is great, as it gives the whole workshop team the ability to take part together.

“OE training direct from a manufacturer, accessed in small bites, will only enhance a technician’s knowledge – however, people must be aware in order to get the full OE training experience, attending a full Schaeffler IMI approved training offering is a must.

“So, hopefully, these small bites will encourage technicians to enrol into these when things get back to some normality.”

The next ‘Tea-break training’ session will be on clutch technology, with module two: ‘Customer Challenges’, taking place on Tuesday 23rd February at 12:30 and Wednesday 24th at 12:30 & 18:30, and will include invaluable advice from guest speaker Andy Savva.

The focus then shifts back to INA, for module three of the cooling system programme: ‘Managing the Heat’, on Tuesday 16th March at 12:30 and Wednesday 17th March at 12:30 & 18:30.

The attention then returns to LuK FOR DMF module three: ‘Technology on the Horizon’, on Tuesday 30th March at 12:30 and Wednesday 31st at 12:30 & 18:30.

As has now become the norm, registration is available via the ‘Tea-break training’ button on the REPXPERT website, as well as via social media posts and newsletters sent to members.

Anybody who has attended a Schaeffler REPXPERT Academy or any other Schaeffler or OESAA training event will also receive an email invitation. Alternatively, just click here.

After each event, participants will be sent a link to a very short survey about the training, which on completion will provide access to the downloadable course notes, a certificate for use when claiming CPD points, plus REPXPERT technical material relating to the topic.

Information on Schaeffler products and systems, fitting instructions, labour times and much more can be found on the REPXPERT workshop portal or by using the REPXPERT app, which is available free for all iOS and Android devices from the relevant app store.

For further information, please click here.

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