Monday, April 23Serving the aftermarket

The best automotive ‘fools’

As you’re no doubt aware by the number of Twitter and Facebook posts, today is not only Easter, but April Fools as well. With this in mind, Auto Repair Focus has rounded up some of the best automotive themed gags…

Ancient by-law means cattle & sheep now able to graze Castle Combe infield

Castle Combe’s owners have been delving into the history books and have managed to unearth a series of unknown bylaws from the medieval period. Drafted around 500AD, the laws make clear that local landowners have the right to graze livestock in the field overlooking the ancient village of Castle Combe itself.

Keen to maintain its prominent position within the local community and only too aware the historical significance of its location, Castle Combe Circuit has opted to adhere to the newly uncovered bylaw, which means that, from the beginning of the 2018 motorsport season onwards, sheep and cattle will graze the infield of the circuit.

The safety of both drivers and animals is of paramount importance to Castle Combe’s event organisers, and a number of precautions have already been enacted as a result. Extra signage can already be found throughout the Castle Combe track, with plans for cattle grids intended to bisect the Quarry corner area drawn up and ready for implementation. All drivers seeking to take to the track must also attend an expanded briefing, which explains how to avoid the animals by dynamic driving, and what to do if you come into contact with them. It’s hoped that these alterations will help make Castle Combe safe and enjoyable for all, whether or not they have cloven hooves or Sparco race boots.

McLaren goes to new lengths to boost efficiency

McLaren Automotive, the British creator of luxury, high-performance sportscars and supercars, is introducing new measures to boost efficiency as it drives for another record year of sales.

Specially-trained staff have been brought in for a range of jobs that include daily monitoring of the water level in the lake in front of the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC). Other teams have been tasked with measuring each component of the award-winning building, right down to the floor tiles in MTC’s Boulevard. Those that don’t measure up – sometimes by as little as 0.01mm – are replaced.

New ideas developed with metronomic timing have been introduced to ensure staff move around the MTC complex far more efficiently than before … and with no risk of collision.  Synchronised tea-drinking is another new initiative that has resulted in considerable time savings.

Peace at last: Škoda launches bicker-busting headrest to silence back-seat squabblers

Backseat bickering and sibling squabbles have been an ongoing issue for parents since the invention of children. But now, thanks to the introduction of an innovative noise-cancelling front seat headrest, parents can enjoy their journeys and concentrate on driving.

Featuring ŠKODA’s new QuarrelKancel™ technology, the newest addition to the brand’s range of accessories features in-built speakers that can be deployed by the driver within seconds of a rear seat fracas breaking out.

Available exclusively as an option for the all-new ŠKODA Karoq, the noise-cancelling headrests are activated at the touch of a button via the ŠKODA infotainment system. The system can also work in ‘automatic’ mode and can ‘listen’ for the first signs of an argument.

The system was conceived by ŠKODA’s Chief of Family Relations, Professor Si Lence and Special Projects leader, Dr April Fürst. “To create this technology, we recruited a ŠKODA ‘Scream Team’ – a group of volunteers dedicated to solving this global parenting issue,” explained Lence.

Seat unveils Arona Copper Edition – the penny-powered crossover that costs pence to run

SEAT has unveiled a world first with the latest version of its Arona Crossover; coined the Arona Copper Edition and powered by pennies, this latest SEAT is the first car ever that truly does cost pence to run.

Featuring a coin slot in the dashboard which activates the engine, the SEAT Arona Copper Edition is a direct response to the Treasury’s push to scrap copper coins from circulation, and means drivers can jump in a sporty crossover with just a handful of change.

However, with its wealth of features, riders in the Arona Copper Edition certainly won’t feel short-changed. The unmistakable silhouette is completed with eye-catching Eclipse Orange metallic paint and 17” alloys, while on the inside copper dash inserts complement a spacious interior that’s crammed with tech, safety and connectivity equipment as standard.

Rhea Sonible-Price, product manager at SEAT UK commented: “Research shows that some of our customers are understandably brassed off that copper coins could disappear forever, but here at SEAT we’re convinced there’s a new lease of life to be had for these little bits of history as part of the workings of a cutting-edge, modern car.

Alpaca gives MG fuel for thought!

MG Motor UK has announced a new engine development programme to power its cars by alpaca waste in a move that will be a world first.

Technical engineers at MG have been researching the potential for using alpaca waste as a power source for several years. The revolutionary new fuel is produced using a process known as anaerobic digestion, during which microorganisms break down biodegradable material to produce pellets that can be used to power car engines.

Alpaca waste has been specifically chosen as it doesn’t need to be aged before it can be transformed into a useable fuel.

Commenting on the new trials, Daniel Gregorious, Head of Sales & Marketing at MG Motor UK, said: “We have launched a pilot programme in the UK with the Faerie Tale alpaca farm in Kenilworth and the initial results are very impressive. Following our decisions to no longer sell diesel-powered vehicles in the UK market, we wanted to take it one step further and see what was possible using alternative fuels to develop low emission vehicles.

“We look forward to the day when people resign horsepower to the history books and refer to alpaca power. It really packs a punch.”

Hyundai i30N development secrets unwrapped

Hyundai Motor UK has unwrapped the development secrets behind the i30N hot hatch’s dynamic handling, with a special film recorded at its top-secret test track. The film uncovers the unique Cacao Corner, featuring a bespoke surface cooked up by Hyundai’s engineers to capture tyre prints for dynamic analysis.

The bespoke high viscosity material has been produced in Hyundai’s Research & Development facility using a selection of abundant natural and completely biodegradable components. Following months of testing, and the combination of hundreds of different ingredients, Hyundai settled on a mixture of just three…

Thanks to the unique properties of the corner – created by mixing cocoa, butter and milk – parts of Cacao Corner can be removed and refrigerated to create a long-lasting record of previous testing results. These samples are traditionally responsibly disposed of by Hyundai’s engineers during Easter.

Hyundai’s Chief Materials Engineer, Cara Mell, said: “At Hyundai we create almost everything needed to produce our cars, including the steel, the robots, and the ships to transport them. So, it only makes sense that we create our own track-testing surfaces, including the unique butter, milk and cocoa mixture used for Cacao corner. The team of people that develops the mixture is among the most dedicated in the business, but they do tend to go a bit quiet over the Easter period…”

Optician council develops prescription windscreens

Well we couldn’t post the best fools stories without mentioning our own! Yep, in case you hadn’t guessed – and we are sure you did – There is no UK optician council, no prescription windscreen and no search for garage partners… but it’s all in the name of fun!