NGK sponsors Max Coates’ bid to win Mini Challenge title

Season starts at Snetterton on June 12-13

NGK-sponsored Max Coates is in confident mood on the eve of the 2021 MINI CHALLENGE Championship.

The 27-year-old North Yorkshireman is driving for Essex-based Graves Motorsport, a new team to the MINI JCW class supporting the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), and is aiming to take the title in his second season in the competition.

He said: “My aspiration is to go and win the title.

“The team might be new to the championship, but I’m not and there is no real difference in the car I will be driving, so why not?”

Coates, who will partner Bradley Gravett, son of 1990 BTCC Champion Robb, at the team, is delighted to be receiving the support of ignition and sensor specialist NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd for a third year running.

He said: “This will be the second season NGK has sponsored me in the MINI CHALLENGE after supporting me in the Clio Cup.

“NGK is a massive global brand within motorsport and the general automotive world and it is great to have our relationship continue and I am really grateful for their support.

“I plan to take the car on the track for the first time on May 12 when we will also be revealing the new livery.”

Mark Hallam, marketing manager at NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “We are delighted to once again be supporting Max in the MINI CHALLENGE and together with the many thousands of our customers who are fans of the sport cannot wait to see him try to win the title.”

Coates said: “Unlike 2020, I’m looking forward to spectators, friends, family and sponsors being back trackside with me in 2021, something I missed massively from the racing experience last season.”

The championship will take in iconic circuits, Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Knockhill, Donington Park and Coates’ home circuit, Croft, during the 2021 season in which it remains as a support series to the BTCC events.

Featuring live ITV4 coverage reaching 20 million in the UK alone and average crowds of 38,000 people, it makes for an exciting day of action in which the MINI CHALLENGE plays a significant role.

Last year was Coates’ debut season in the MINI CHALLENGE and he got off to the best start possible with a race win at the opening round at Donington Park.

He signed off the season with a pole position at a wet Brands Hatch Indy circuit in October last year and will hope to continue that form in the new season.

For further information, please click here.

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Yuasa reveals first photos of Matt Edwards’ BRC title challenger in new livery

Announcement follows launch of hugely successful digital Yuasa Rally livery and Matt Edwards E-sports Championship in DiRT 2.0

Yuasa has revealed the first pictures of the real-life livery of Matt Edwards’ British Rally Championship Volkswagen Polo R5.

Striking images have been released giving the first glimpses of the actual car Double British Rally Champion Edwards will use to compete in the 2021 BRC season.

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

In addition to the fresh new images, Yuasa have also revealed a dramatic promotional video for Edwards’ new Polo ahead of the season.

To view it, follow Yuasa Battery on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Computed generated images of the R5 were released on 31 March inside Codesmasters’ award winning game, DiRT Rally 2.0.

Players were able to download the distinctive red, white and black livery and race with it themselves over a three round online championship with prizes being awarded, including a passenger ride with Matt Edwards.

The battery brand is joined by both Swift and Volkswagen Group parts giant, TPS with all three brands excited to support Edwards in his 2021 British Rally Championship campaign.

Jon Pritchard general sales and marketing manager at GS Yuasa Battery Sales UK said: “We’re thrilled to reveal the final images for Matt Edwards’ 2021 BRC car.

“We have loved seeing everyone getting involved and race with it inside DiRT 2.0, so it’s great to be able to show the real-life machine to fans.

“We are proud to be support Matt for a third season, his results over the last few years have been hugely impressive so continuing our support as he challenges for his third championship was an obvious one for us.

“We wish Matt & Darren all the best for the 2021 season.”

Matt Edwards added: “I’m very excited to finally uncover my new Volkswagen Polo R5 livery in real-life.

“The reaction we have seen from our E-sports Championship has been great.

“I’ve really enjoyed competing against the fans and seeing some very competitive stage times.

“Now I just can’t wait to get out in the Polo for real.

“It’s been a while since driving a rally car in anger but I’m very focused and ready to take on the new season.”

Matt and Darren will be testing at Sweet Lamb in Wales next month before the first round of the rally championship gets underway at Oulton Park on 31 May.

For further information, click here.

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Ford unveils ‘predictive smart headlight’ technology

Lighting system uses GPS location data, advanced technologies and street geometry information to read the road

Engineers at Ford research and advanced engineering Europe are testing technology that uses real-time location data to effectively show the car the way to go.

The predictive smart headlight system directs beams into upcoming corners even before drivers may have seen them, illuminating hazards and other road users more quickly and effectively.

The prototype advanced lighting system uses GPS location data, advanced technologies and highly accurate street geometry information to accurately identify turns in the road ahead.

An algorithm calculates the trajectory and speed of the vehicle to proactively adjust the direction of its headlights, providing optimal light coverage of bends, junctions – and even hazards lurking around the corner.

If the vehicle encounters a stretch of road where location data is not available, the system will work alongside camera- and steering‑based dynamic headlight bending technologies to continue to intelligently light the road until the location data improves.

Researchers have made extensive use of “digital twin” simulation that recreates the physical world in a virtual environment.

The simulator accurately calculates how light falls and reflects in the real world, enabling researchers to better visualise and optimise the technology for drivers.

Michael Koherr, Ford European lighting research engineer, said: “The predictive lighting technology we are developing now means that one day driving in the dark could be as simple as just following your headlights.

“This new map- and location‑based system is the next step on our quest to make driving at night no more difficult or stressful as during the day.”

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Emissions analysers added to connected MOT equipment rule changes

New exhaust gas analysers must be ‘connected’ from May

DVSA’s plan to modernise the MOT testing service through connectable equipment resumes next month with the introduction of emissions analysers.

From 1 May, anyone buying an exhaust gas analyser or diesel smoke meter will need to make sure it is a model that can connect to the MOT testing service.

This applies to garages buying replacement equipment, authorised examiners taking over another site and any new garage being approved to carry out MOTs.

Connectable equipment is not mandatory for most garages but some have started to invest in replacing their existing equipment.

In a survey last year, around one in seven garages said they were using some form of connected equipment.

The DVSA says installing connectable equipment can save garages time, reduce the risk of error in entering MOT results and help combat fraud.

Chris Price, DVSA’s head of MOT policy, said: “We paused the introduction of connectable equipment last year to help garages manage their businesses through the pandemic, as well as the impact of MOT exemptions.

“As part of our recovery of the MOT service, we’ve been working with equipment manufacturers over the last few months to introduce connectable exhaust gas analysers and diesel smoke meters to further modernise the test.

“After reinstating the grace period for connected equipment installation in December 2020, we wanted to give garages enough time to review their requirements around connected equipment before bringing in emissions analysers.”

Connected MOT equipment in context

The difference between a connectable and non-connectable model is often its software.

This means that non-connectable equipment models may be made connectable by a software update to allow it to connect to the MOT testing service.

MOT garage managers are encouraged to look into the benefits of connected equipment and understand how it will help the testing process in their workplace.

Investing in connected equipment will improve the efficiency of their garages and help futureproof their businesses.

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BG Automotive publishes new ‘product spotlight’ brochure

Fortnightly document outline common vehicle problems and the parts solutions for them

BG Automotive has released the first issue of a new fortnightly product spotlight brochure.

The first issue features highlights Hyundai/Kia GK4D engine problems and steering and suspension components for the Nissan Qashqai.

Please click here to read the first issue.

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Top 50 cars aged three to eight years with best first-time MOT pass rates

Hyundai Ioniq has highest average MOT pass rate of 96.18 per cent

New car buying platform and consumer champion, What Car? has revealed the cars most likely to pass an MOT test on first attempt.

The extensive study analysed more than 745,000 anonymised MOT records published by the Department for Transport.

Models aged from three to eight years old and with a sample size of at least 100 cars were included in the study.

The Hyundai Ioniq, which is sold as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicle, has the highest average MOT pass rate of 96.18 per cent while the plug-in hybrid BMW i8 (2014-2020) takes second place with a 95.97 per cent pass rate.

While Korean, Japanese and German models dominate the top 10, the Jaguar F-Type (2013-present) is the highest-placed British model in the study, in 14th place with an average MOT pass rate of 90.83 per cent.

The Tesla Model S (2014-present) is the highest ranking pure electric vehicle, in 26th place, with an average pass rate of 89.94 per cent.

Although there are many premium models in the top 50, there are also several affordable small cars, including the Peugeot 108 (2014-present) and Toyota Aygo (2014-present).

RankMake and modelAverage MOT test pass rateAverage mileage at MOT test
1Hyundai Ioniq (2017-present)96.18%22,710
2BMW i8 (2014 – 2020)95.97%21,738
3Porsche Boxster (2012 – 2016)94.10%22,243
4Lexus NX (2014 – present)93.82%32,413
5Porsche 911 (2012 – 2019)93.72%20,484
6Porsche Cayman (2013 – 2016)92.94%23,224
7Porsche Macan (2014 – present)92.91%32,289
8Mazda MX-5 (2016 – present)92.62%16,399
9Lexus RX (2016 – present)91.95%27,721
10Mazda CX-3 (2015 – present)91.91%25,652
11Mercedes-Benz SL (2012 – 2020)91.67%25,832
12BMW X1 (2015 – present)90.95%29,753
13Mercedes-Benz GLA (2014 – 2020)90.93%33,093
14Jaguar F-Type (2013 – present)90.83%23,014
15Mercedes-Benz GLC (2016 – present)90.78%32,446
16Audi A8 (2010 – 2017)90.77%53,647
17Audi TT (2014 – present)90.63%27,977
18Honda HR-V (2013 – present)90.60%25,605
19Mercedes-Benz S-Class (2015 – 2020)90.52%48,430
20BMW i3 (2013 – present)90.46%27,717
21Jaguar F-Pace (2016 – present)90.43%30,850
22Subaru XV (2012 – 2018)90.36%39,691
23BMW 7-Series (2015 – present)90.13%36,323
24Honda Jazz (2015 – 2020)90.07%26,755
25Hyundai i20 (2015 – 2020)89.94%26,145
26Tesla Model S (2014 – present)89.94%44,613
27Vauxhall Viva (2015 – 2019)89.93%18,718
28Jaguar XK (2006 – 2015)89.87%28,704
29BMW 2-Series (2014 – present)89.74%32,755
30Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2016 – present)89.68%53,771
31Toyota Prius (2016 – present)89.67%48,996
32Toyota Aygo (2014 – present)89.56%23,132
33Audi TT (2006 – 2014)89.40%42,894
34Audi Q5 (2008 – 2017)89.16%46,026
35MINI Countryman (2010 – 2017)89.14%33,423
36Lexus RX (2009 – 2016)89.11%49,372
37Mercedes-Benz GLE (2015 – 2019)89.01%32,800
38Suzuki Celerio (2016 – 2019)88.97%21,024
39Lexus IS (2013 – present)88.96%48,905
40Skoda Superb (2015 – present)88.91%44,689
41Toyota GT86 (2012 – present)88.89%35,879
42Peugeot 108 (2014 – present)88.69%22,199
43BMW X4 (2014 – 2018)88.67%38,274
44Suzuki Grand Vitara (2005 – 2015)88.67%42,821
45Mazda MX-5 (2005 – 2015)88.61%29,429
46Audi Q3 (2011 – 2018)88.59%41,676
47Honda CR-V (2012 – 2018)88.48%41,855
48Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2012 – 2019)88.42%39,138
49Jaguar XF (2015 – present)88.41%36,990
50Nissan Pulsar (2014 – 2018)88.40%28,739

What Car? analysed more than 745,000 anonymised MOT records published by the Department for Transport to find out the models that had the best rate for passing the MOT test at the first attempt.

What Car? also ranked the top and bottom brands for MOT pass rates.

As well as achieving the highest average pass rate, Porsche is the only brand to gain a pass rate of more than 90 per cent.

Although Ssangyong has the lowest MOT pass record, its result of 76.98 per cent means that more than three quarters of its models passed their MOT the first time.

Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, said: “One of the first things used buyers do is check a vehicle’s MOT record to see how well it’s been maintained and if it’s suffered lots of faults.

“Our extensive study reveals the models with the best MOT pass rates, ranging from large SUVs to city cars. Buyers can use it to help them choose the most dependable models.

“Although the top 50 list contains several prestige cars, that tend to have lower mileage and immaculate service records, it’s reassuring to find some budget and family cars in the mix.”

The results come the same week dealers in England and Wales can reopen to the public, following more than three months of closure due to Covid-19.

The worst 10 manufacturer MOT pass rates

Rank Brand Average MOT test pass rate Average mileage at MOT test
1Ssangyong76.98%37,911
2Dacia78.17%39,401
3Citroen79.72%38,207
4Renault80.20%37,194
5Alfa Romeo80.73%42,443
6Vauxhall81.20%42,565
7Fiat81.22%33,404
8Seat82.08%44,542
9Ford82.58%40,664
10Peugeot82.78%37,691
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Valeo to host ‘PSA radiator modifications’ webinar

Two main modifications implemented on PSA radiators explained

Valeo has announced that its next webinar will explain PSA radiator modifications.

The webinar will be held at 10am on 21 April and is ideal for garages wanting to learn how to identify if the radiator attempting to be fitted, sold or purchased has been modified to avoid any and all confusion.

The webinar will also available to watch on demand one hour after the live session.

For further information and to register to watch the webinar, please click here.

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Calls for action as UK roads continue to “destroy” suspension components

Longer-term approach to local road funding needed, says RAC

More than £10 billion is needed to get roads back in shape, a new Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) report reveals.

Despite a 15 per cent increase in highway maintenance budgets, partly due to Government funding to repair potholes and support active travel, budgets are still lower than they were two years ago and road conditions have not significantly improved, the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey highlights.

The RAC has also urged Scottish authorities to conduct “swift corrective maintenance” to damaged Highland roads in Scotland.

This includes the popular tourist route the North Coast 500 which The Scotsman reports to have “big holes in sections” as well as “suspension-destroying” potholes on the trail.

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “This year, the colder winter we’ve had means potholes are likely to make driving some stretches of the route a lot less enjoyable, but they also risk causing expensive damage to vehicles.

“Without some swift corrective maintenance it looks as though the arrival of spring could coincide with many more drivers running into problems, including on the NC500 itself.”

A spokesperson for Highland Council said: “The recent severe weather between January and March has caused considerable damage to Highland roads.

“We have a process in place regarding potholes and defects, and all incidents that are reported are followed up.”

Between October and December last year, RAC patrols attended more than 1,400 breakdowns in the UK where potholes were most likely to be the cause.

While there has been an increase in the number of potholes filled over the last 12 months – the equivalent of one every 19 seconds – the AIA states this shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a positive.

AIA chair Rick Green welcomed the increase in funding but said “using it to repeatedly fill in potholes is essentially a failure as it does nothing to improve the resilience of the network”.

The average frequency of road surfacing is now once every 68 years and it would take £10.24 billion over a decade to clear the backlog of maintenance on local roads in England and Wales.

Mr Green called for a longer-term approach to local road funding, similar to the five-year commitment given to motorways and major A roads.

Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, said: “The AIA’s report lays bare the pressure on local authorities who are grappling with crumbling road surfaces.

“On the one hand additional money allows them to fix potholes but the inconsistent nature of this funding often means they focus on short-term quick fixes rather than preventing them from occurring in the first place.

“Potholes are a nuisance and not only cause expensive vehicle damage but can also lead to serious injury or even worse.

“Without a long-term approach to local road maintenance funding, similar to what we already have for strategic roads, we face our roads remaining in a perpetually poor state.

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The Parts Alliance Introduces New Braking References

The Parts Alliance has recently added an array of new references into its brake friction and brake hydraulics ranges

Over 200 new part numbers including new brake pads, discs, shoes, drums, fitting kits, wear sensors and Electronic Parking Brake calipers are now being stocked by the distributer.

Many of the popular brands within its multi-brand braking programme have seen their ranges grow.   18 new brake discs and 7 new brake pads from Brembo have been added, including discs for the BMW 1 Series (2014 onwards), Jaguar XE and XF (2015 onwards), Land Rover Discovery (2012 onwards) and Porsche Panamera (2016 onwards).

Garages fitting Delphi also benefit with over 50 new brake fitting kits, more than 30 new pads and 17 new wear sensors being stocked. This includes pads for the BMW 5 series and X5 (2015 onwards), BMW 3 series (2018 onwards), Citroen Berlingo (2018 onwards), Hyundai i30 (2014 onwards), Kia Sportage (2015 onwards) and Mercedes Sprinter (2018 onwards). 

The Bendix range of calipers has also increased. Over 40 Electronic Parking Brake caliper references are now available, covering popular VAG vehicles, BMW 5 series including. Active Hybrid, Mercedes A-Class/B-Class/CLA series/GLA series, Ford Kuga/Mondeo, Land Rover Range Rover/Range Rover Sport, Nissan Qashqai, and many Renault, Citroen, Peugeot applications.

The Parts Alliance explain that the introduction of new references is an ongoing process, to ensure their customers are well positioned to service and repair newer models. “Our product teams are continually reviewing demand and work closely with our suppliers, such as Brembo and Delphi, to introduce new part numbers when they see requests for particular references growing,” explains Simon Moore, Head of Marketing.

The braking programme from The Parts Alliance provides a choice of brands to suit all budgets. Brembo with its extensive OE pedigree is stocked across the group, along with Delphi brakes, which are engineered to provide OE levels of performance. Two further OE matching quality brands, Bendix and DriveTec, are exclusively supplied by the distributer in the UK.

Throughout April, The Parts Alliance latest promotion, ‘Too Good To Share’ will see garages receive a snack bag packed with sweet goodies, with every brake caliper they buy. Inside each bag there’s chocolate bars, crisps, a packet of sweets and a soft drink – contents that will provide a timely energy boost and are ideal for consuming at break time.

Garages interested in finding out more about The Parts Alliance braking programme or the ‘Too Good To Share’ brake caliper promotion should contact their local branch.

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ZF Services celebrates Global Reman Day with its eight millionth caliper

Remanufacturing process at Centre of Excellence in Wrexham

ZF Services Ltd has kicked 2021 off in style, producing its eight millionth remanufactured caliper, highlighting the continued importance of remanufacturing on Global Reman Day on 8th April.

The aftermarket remanufacturer has grown considerably to become an established braking specialist within the automotive industry, which is highlighted with this landmark achievement.

Carrying out its remanufacturing processes at its Centre of Excellence in Wrexham means ZF Services can eliminate the impact of transportation and the brand is protected from the potential risk of extra tariffs when importing due to Brexit.

This growth, thanks to its continual investment in research and development at its UK base, enables the brand to successfully refine its processes and ensure every unit is of the highest possible quality before entering the market.

As an example, when remanufacturing calipers, ZF Services only reuses the core, having been subject to strict acceptance criteria and undergoing a stringent quality remanufacturing process that involves its inspection, dismantling, cleaning, rebuild and test.

ZF Services calipers are also electroplated with a chrome 6 free finish to extend the life of the caliper.

All wearing parts are replaced with brand new components and the caliper housing is also given a corrosion resistant, zinc-plated finish that abides by current EU legislation.

The caliper is then pressure tested to strict quality guidelines, with batch marking being used for essential traceability.

ZF Services is committed to remanufacturing high-quality components, which takes place at its Wrexham-based facility 24 hours a day, five days a week.

Paul Davies, senior manager of operations at ZF Services Ltd Wrexham, said: “We’re incredibly proud to roll out our eight millionth caliper right here in the UK, as it highlights our continued commitment to supporting the local community, while only providing customers with quality products.

“UK remanufacturing remains as relevant and economically important as ever.

“We are very grateful to our employees, customers and the rest of the supply chain who have contributed towards this success and look forward to remanufacturing the next eight million calipers.”

For further details, please click here.

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