Monday 23 December 2013


UK’s longest running motor sport event under threat

Brighton, 23 December 2013: Calling all motorsport fans, we need your support to help save the Brighton Speed Trials. The Speed Trials is the longest running motorsport event in the UK and has become a world-famous action packed sprint. It is under threat by Brighton and Hove Council who want to refuse permission and block the event taking place on the seafront.

But you can help by signing our petition; either visit or go directly to the petition which is on the Brighton and Hove Council web site and sign it now: Don’t delay; the council will be making a decision on 23 January 2014!

The Speed Trials has been running in Brighton since 1905 and is one of the highlights of the seafront entertainment calendar. Thousands of people come down for an entertaining fun-packed day out for the whole family to watch some of the UK’s best race cars and motor bikes compete along Madeira Drive. Over two hundred cars and motor bikes line up to take a timed run including road cars, race cars and drag bikes who compete to win the fastest in their class. A top six run-off to find the fastest car and bike brings the day to a dramatic close.

Brighton and Hove Council is planning to block permission for this annual event so we need your help. As well as signing our petition you can support the campaign by circulating the link to the petition to friends and family, FaceBook contacts and Twitter followers.

The Brighton Speed Trials is organised by Brighton and Hove Motor Club; the club’s Tony Watts said: “We are appealing to motorsport fans, local residents and everyone who enjoys a family day out at the seaside to help us save this historic event. The loss of the Brighton Speed Trials will be the end of an era for Brighton with over 100 years of history and entertainment in the area gone.”

The end of the Speed Trials will also have a financial impact on tourism and trade for retailers and businesses in the area as it brings thousands of visitors to Brighton.

Follow on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday 19 December 2013


Anglia Car Auctions is offering one lucky punter the chance to grab the keys to one cushty motor – a 1991 Jaguar XJS owned by the star of TV’s Only Fools and Horses, Del Boy himself – Sir David Jason.

The 1991 4.0 XJS, finished in burgundy, with cream leather interior, has covered just 61,600 miles and was brought brand new by David Jason Entertainment, before being registered in the star’s real name of David White.

It has had one further keeper since Peckham’s favourite son and comes complete with MoT through until 1st December 2014.

The Jaguar carries an estimate of £5,500 to £6,500 and is included in the next Anglia Car Auctions Classic Sale, held at the King’s Lynn auction house, on January 25th 2014. Beat Boycie too it, get along a place a bid – you know it makes sense!

For more information on Anglia Car Auctions and its future classic sales including its new classic motorbike sale on Saturday 1st March, visit

Available from Veloce!
Jaguar XJ-S – The Essential Buyer's Guide
By Peter Crespin

A practical and highly-illustrated hands-on guide, to take you step-by-step through examination and purchase of Jaguar’s longest-running production car of all – the legendary XJ-S Grand Tourer. Covering all engine and body configurations, this book shows what to look for, what to avoid, and whether the car is likely to suit your needs, plus relative values and the best places to buy. Also includes full details on back-up organisations and literature.

More info.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Tuesday 17 December 2013


The Book of the Ferrari 288 GTO by Joe Sackey gets an awesome 5-stars in Auto Express magazine!

Click here for more info about the book.

Thursday 12 December 2013


Left to right: Kim, Jamie, Paul, Kevin and Sam.


How do you find places for your kids to play, somewhere nice to walk (including with your dog), a parking space and, often, even great pub food – all within 5 miles of a motorway exit? Now revised and updated for all major platforms, and therefore much quicker and snappier than the original version, Motorway Walks and Breaks is a fantastically useful App for anyone who drives on the motorways of the UK but likes a break from driving in healthy natural surroundings.

Simple to use – just select the motorway, then browse the junctions and choose the walk you'd like to do. The App includes a handy map view, making it easier to find your way.

We have trekked over a thousand miles tracking down great walks for drivers, families and dogs to enjoy on their journey. The whole of the UK is covered, from Exeter to Perth and from Swansea to Canterbury.

Use this App to get more fun for your fuel, treat yourself and your dog to a great walk, see more of the countryside, take a healthy break, or enjoy a relaxing pub lunch.

Each walk is of 30 to 45 minutes' duration, often with a selected pub or café along the way. Activities for children are included, from bouncy castles to nature trails and the facilities available at each walk venue are described.

All of the walks are suitable for dogs, and those with assistance dogs will find details of accessible paths and facilities for the disabled. The listed pubs – most of which are traditional inns, serving high quality food at realistic prices – all welcome well-behaved canines.

If you want more than mileage from your petrol, this is the App for you!


• All walks within 5 miles of motorway exits

• Pub/café on each walk (or at least a picnic table)

• Ideal for when travelling with your four-legged friend!

• Every walk tried and tested

• Safe and legal parking places

• Driving routes from and back to the motorway described

• Many walks near kids’ activities

• Buggy and wheelchair easy access walks, ideal for assistance dog owners

• Each walk 30-45 minutes – healthy, natural breaks that improve driver concentration

• Redesigned for use on Apple iOS7

• Now available for the first time for Windows Phone, Android, and Kindle Fire.

The full app has 177 walks, each complete with several full-colour high resolution zoomable images, map views, and retails at £1.99 (equivalent price in other currencies).

Also available is a FREE lite version of the full app with 48 sample walks and the same features as the full app.

More information about both editions can be found on their product pages:

Full edition
Lite edition

Friday 6 December 2013


Bruce Grant-Braham has won the IAM Safety Award for his book The Essential Driver’s Handbook, at the prestigious Guild of Motoring Writers awards presented at the RAC Club in Pall Mall, London on December 5th 2013.

Ben Schofield with Bruce Grant-Braham.

The 2013 winners. Photos by Jeff Bloxham

The award was presented to Bruce by the Institute of Advanced Motorists as the Guild Member who has made the most significant contribution to the promotion of road safety during the year. The Essential Driver’s Handbook shows you what to do in the event of an accident, whatever the severity. Practical roadside first aid basics are addressed, as are the practical and legal obligations for all those who may be involved, and explanations of what the emergency services will do, and why. Other situations addressed include how to avoid problems as a lone driver, as well as situations such as car-jacking. Finally, car parks, and their own specific security problems, are discussed.

Bruce, previously known for his motorsport and F1 books, was commissioned by Poundbury-based Veloce Publishing for this valuable addition to the company’s range of RAC advice handbooks.

Bruce says - “The RAC Essential Driver’s Handbook offers practical advice to car drivers as to how to they might best cope with some of the difficult situations that can occur at any time whilst driving.“
“Whether it is a breakdown, an accident, a car fire, an isolated car park or the difficulty of being a lone driver I hope the RAC Essential Driver’s Handbook will provide some ways of avoiding or minimising the effects of such stressful motoring situations,” Bruce said.
“I am extremely grateful for the professional advice I received during my research. I am pleased to say that we can be reassured that we have some nationally recognised experts in our County and I am indebted to those individuals from Dorset Police, Dorset Fire and Rescue and South West Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust who willingly offered advice to make sure that the final manuscript is as accurate and up-to-date as possible.”

Bruce Grant-Braham is Director of the Motor Sport Research Group at Bournemouth University, possesses a PhD and is a former Mayor of Poole. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers.


New and coming soon in eBook format! Check out Veloce Digital for our full list of eBooks and apps.

Mazda MX-5 Miata – The book of the World's Favourite Sportscar by Brian Long

Toyota MR2 Coupes & Spyders by Brian Long

The Competition Car Data Logging Manual (SpeedPro) by Graham Templeman

How to Power Tune Mini on a small budget (SpeedPro) by Des Hammill

How to build Tiger Avon or GTA Sports Cars for road or track (SpeedPro) by Jim Dudley


Congratulations to Roy Smith, for his book Amédée Gordini - a true racing legend, published by Veloce in April this year, which came second in the prestigious Mercedes-Benz Award for the Montagu of Beaulieu Trophy at The Guild of Motoring Writers awards in London last night.

Jo Watkins, Roy Smith and Ralph Montagu. Photo by Jeff Bloxham

The competition was to determine the greatest contribution in 2013 for recording in the English Language, the history of motoring or motorcycling in any form, including, books, video, broadcasting media.

Amédée Gordini - a true racing legend is a story of excitement, laughs, astonishment and anger – a story of the determination of a man with a dream and a passion for motor racing in the big leagues. It is the first time that the story of the Gordini racing team has been documented in English, and the first complete story of Gordini himself in any language. The book was also shortlisted for Publication of the year 2013 at The International Historic Motoring Awards 2013.

Roy Smith's hallmarks are intricate research, sourcing hundreds of photos, first-person interviews, detailed diagrams, and a talent for uncovering fresh new information about a rare subject. Roy won the same GoMW award outright in 2010 for his work Alpine Renault – The Sports Prototypes Vol 1 & 2.

Roy commented: "I'm delighted to be back on the podium again at the second attempt with the Gordini book, looks like we have our work cut out to stay there!"

Roy Smith's latest masterwork Alpine Renault – the fabulous berlinettes, was published by Veloce in October 2013.

Independent reviews of Amédée Gordini - a true racing legend:

"Book of the month" – Classic & Sports Car

“Utterly absorbing.” – Classic Cars

***** – Auto Express

“Gordini’s endless enthusiasm and prolific output make for an involving tale.” – Motor Sport

“The wealth of information here is staggering, and the race-by-race summary is particularly welcome.”– Octane

Watch an interview with Roy Smith on YouTube!


The famous Bluebird CN7 has been reunited with its original damaged nose panel, thanks to a donation from Stadco to the Campbell family. The original front nose panel from Donald Campbell’s famous World Land Speed Record Breaker, the Bluebird CN7, was returned to and replaced at the Coventry site after being damaged during the land speed record attempt in 1960, where it has remained ever since.

The handover to the Malcolm Campbell Heritage Trust took place at an event at The National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, where the nose panel will join four iconic World Land Speed Record cars, including the Bluebird CN7 and Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Blue Bird 350hp, for a brand new Land Speed Record Breakers display.

Following the failed land speed attempt at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1960, the damaged Bluebird was shipped back to the site in the Midlands. While the design updates were made, including the addition of the tail fin to stabilise the vehicle at speed, Motor Panels, now Stadco, set to work repairing the Bluebird. The nose panel had been creased in the crash at Bonneville and was removed and replaced.

The old hood panel displaying the Union Jack and US flags was set aside and spent the next 50 years at the Coventry site. Following the discovery of other artefacts, including detailed original records and correspondence between the Campbells and the Stadco project team, and 26 reels of unique 16mm film footage from 1960-1963, Stadco decided that a new home should be sought for the nose panel to properly reflect its historic significance.

Stadco’s Product Development Director, Paul Jaggers, said: “We are very proud of our historic link to Bluebird and these artefacts were a very exciting find for us. We were keen to ensure they found the right home and are very pleased to donate them to the family trust.”

Source: Stadco

Available from Veloce!
Bluebird CN7 - The inside story of Donald Campbell’s last Land Speed Record car
By Donald Stevens

Records the development, construction and operation of the last wheel-driven land speed record breaking car that the UK produced, and tells how the tragic demise of Donald Campbell prevented it from reaching its full potential. A unique account of a legendary feat of engineering. More info.

Thursday 5 December 2013


Article reproduced under kind permission from

Nigel Bennett enjoyed a long career designing Formula One and Indy cars. He started his career in the seventies as a Firestone tire engineer in Formula One and worked at Lotus, Ensign and Theodore before turning his hand to Indy cars with Lola. After producing a few successful Lola Indy cars, Bennett was hired by Roger Penske and through the late eighties and nineties he designed a series of beautiful and very successful Penske Indy cars.

A longtime boating and yachting enthusiast Bennett does some boat design work these days to keep him occupied in his retirement. He's also kept his hand in the racing business in recent years by doing some technical consulting work for the FIA and after reading last week's column, ‘Losing our way', Nigel sent me an email saying he had some suggestions for improving the show in F1 and IndyCar. I called him and we enjoyed a pleasant chat about the state of the sport.

"I think Formula One does a good job with the television commentaries here in the UK and the build up to each race," Bennett remarked. "They've got informed, experienced guys who are past drivers and team owners and provide you with lots of good information and they do it in an entertaining way.

© Bob Tronolone

"But the racing is not very inspiring, particularly when one guy is winning all the races. Okay, there's some overtaking because of KERS and feathering the wings with the DRS thing, but a lot of people don't seem to think much of that stuff. They think it's artificial. A lot of people who used to be motor racing fans don't bother to watch F1 anymore."

Bennett emphasized that extreme cost is F1's biggest problem.

"The main problem with Formula One is that it's just too expensive for all but about four teams," he said. "The rest of them are taking paying drivers who are less skilled than many others. There are some really good drivers like Hulkenberg and di Resta who may not have drives next year.

"I have to say that what goes on inside some of these big teams is absolutely ludicrous. There are drawing offices going off into the distance as far as you can see with eighty or ninety people working away at computer screens.

"The cars are incredibly complicated. They're beautifully made but unbelievably complicated with all kinds of stuff that's largely unnecessary and unappreciated by the fans and media. It makes for paying jobs for the young engineers but as far as the general public is concerned I don't think there's much interest in that.

"Look at the front wings with all the little bits and pieces stuck on them. And for what? Yes, they're producing phenomenal aerodynamic performance figures but none of that stuff bares any relation to anything else in the world and it doesn't look nice.

"Airplanes don't have bits like that stuck all over them. They're sleek, the way racing cars used to be, and there's no place for that kind of stuff on road cars. It's just jobs for the boys to spend the money they've been given."

Bennett believes big cuts in downforce and tire grip are essential to making F1 a better show.

Kirby, Bennett & Danny Sullivan, Pocono 1989
© Racemaker/Torres

"In my opinion, they need to reduce downforce by 50 percent, reduce the front tire and wheel width by 20 percent and increase the rear tire width by 10 percent," he itemized. "They also need to free up the weight distribution rules and change the tire construction so that the tires produce their maximum cornering force at much higher slip angles than the current radials.

"I suspect this would mean going back to bias or cross-ply tires as they were in the ‘70s and ‘80s. So what if that is not the way road car tires are made? Road cars are completely different from racing cars in so many ways.

You still wouldn't see the driver's arms flailing around but the driver's skill would be on view as the cars would drift and braking distances would be much longer and cornering speeds much lower so that overtaking would be more frequent.

"Right now, the braking distances are so short and the cornering speeds are so high that there's just no time to outbrake the other guy. So a huge reduction in downforce and a similar, huge reduction in tire performance is required. If you had half the size of front tire you wouldn't be able to brake so hard in such a short distance.

"I think the reason the cars used to be so much more spectacular was largely due to the type of tires. Cross-ply tires made for bigger slip angles and more sliding than we have today with radial tires.

"People say we can't go back to cross-ply tires, but why not? If you have one tire manufacturer you can ask them to do anything. Formula One persuaded Pirelli to build tires that wear out after ten laps, which is not good for their public image. But that's what Formula One wanted and that's what Pirelli have done. So surely you can ask a tire company to build smaller, cross-ply tires.

"I'm sure they've got the technology to do it and the cars would be more spectacular to watch. I would also suggest they would be a greater test of the drivers' skills."

Bennett believes narrower tires also would be a benefit to IndyCar.

"There's been a lot of criticism over recent years about Indy cars having too much downforce and too little power so that they run closely together on some tracks so you get pack racing which is very dangerous on a track where they're flat-out all the way around whether it's a one-mile oval or a banked track like NASCAR.

"To me, a reduction in tire size would be very effective for IndyCar in these circumstances. The cornering speeds would be less, the straightaway speeds would be greater and at a stroke it would break up the field and allow it to open up a bit so there would be more passing and racing.

"If you reduce the tire sizes by fifteen percent then the compounds have to get harder to withstand the temperature. Straightaway speeds would go up because the drag would be reduced and you would get braking into the corners because the apex speed would be lower. It's one way out of this problem that's never been suggested."

© Paul Webb

Bennett says F1 is unable to make major changes because of the need for unanimity under the Concorde Agreement.

"I'm glad they're getting rid of the high noses next year because they look pretty stupid," he remarked. "That's a step in the right direction, but they need to reduce downforce substantially.

"It's easy to design a set of rules to achieve that, but it's not easy to get people to agree. They've all invested millions of dollars in wind tunnel testing and aerodynamic work and they don't want to lose the advantages they've gained.

"They've talked endlessly for some years about cost reduction but that seems to have fallen by the wayside. In fact, I've been involved in some of those discussions and the problem is nobody trusts anybody else to do it properly.

"Until the governing body comes up with some way of controlling budgets there's not going to be any changes. If you stop them spending money in one area then they'll spend more on their motorhomes and marketing. Do you need fifty or sixty people per team at the racetrack? Or a dozen trucks, like several of the bigger teams takes to a race?"

Bennett believes next year's new turbo formula will prove to be very costly.

"It sounds like the engine package is going to be very expensive next year," he observed. "It looks like the split between the haves and the have nots is going to become even bigger."

I mentioned to Bennett that Adrian Newey remarked to my colleague Maurice Hamilton a few weeks ago that he was worried that next year's new F1 cars will be even uglier than this year's cars.

"It's funny how you very quickly get used to something new and different," Bennett remarked. "When they brought in narrow rear wings and wider front wings to F1 everyone said they looked ugly and worried about it. But they seem to have grown on everyone and nobody complains so much anymore, although the front ends are pretty ugly."

Bennett doesn't expect anyone in F1 or the FIA to act on any of his suggestions.

"I don't suppose that whatever we say will have much effect," he chuckled. "One thing I found with the FIA is they say we can't change Formula One too much because GP2 or Formula Renault will then be too quick. It seems to me that the FIA doesn't have the guts to make big decisions or maybe it's because the teams have got too much say over what they've invested. They have to get unanimous agreement among the teams to make any big changes and they can't get it."

Power and political struggling always come first in big-time motor racing, ahead of rational thinking. Thus it ever was and is likely to continue.

Source: Gordon Kirby

Available now from Veloce! Inspired to Design – F1 cars, Indycars & racing tyres: the autobiography of Nigel Bennett

The true life story of one of Britain’s most successful racing car designers of the 80s and 90s.
Nigel Bennett’s unique autobiography describes his life and career, from growing-up influenced by car design, to his education and the building of his 750 specials. He describes his work as Firestone Development Manager, recounting many tales of the outstanding designers and drivers of the period. Detailing his work in Formula 1, as a Team Lotus engineer, and then as Team Ensign designer, he also covers his Indycar designs at Theodore, Lola Cars and Penske Cars. Life after his retirement, his involvement in boat design and with modern F1 teams, are also recounted. More info.