x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

First UAE team at 24 Hours of Le Mans earns respectable finish

Week in Motoring: Car from 1980 is fastest street-legal vehicle; disco music inspires solution to blind spot problem; taxi driver hits one million miles in a Ford

Last weekend's 24 Hours of Le Mans race saw two UAE cars compete for the first time in the epic endurance event. With UAE flags adorning the bodywork of Gulf Racing Middle East's two identical Nissan-powered Lola B12/80 cars, the team did great in a first attempt, finishing a respectable 85th and 89th out of a total of 167 competitors in the LMP2 class. Audi Sport Team Joest won the overall race to claim the car maker's 11th Le Mans win in 14 years. Among the Gulf team's drivers was Keiko Ihara, from Japan, who was the only woman to compete at this year's Le Mans. In its first year, the Gulf team have had problems with the supply of parts and they also lost driver Frederic Fatien after he broke his ankle at Spa-Francorchamps in May. Considering the problems, the Gulf team said they were pleased to finish the race where they did.

Car from 1980 is now fastest on the street

A car bought in 1980 for just Dh347 has become the world's fastest street-legal car. Andy Frost's red Vauxhall Victor broke the record over 400m, completing the distance is just over six seconds. The Briton has overhauled the car since buying it, spending more than 1,600 hours and about Dh600,000 to make it into a monster that can reach 100kph in under one second and has a top speed of 400kph. The Victor has a powerful V8 engine and two turbos taken from a large digger. Frost, 50, from Wolverhampton, told the Daily Mail: "I've spent almost £4,000 (Dh23,000) a year on this car since I bought it second hand. I have slowly improved it in my spare time. It has been a lifelong dream to be able to say I own the world's fastest street-legal car - it makes all the hard work worthwhile, but I won't stop tinkering with it."

Disco inspires solution to blind spot problem

Driving blind spots could be a thing of the past due to a new creation inspired by disco balls. A professor from Drexel University, in Philadelphia, US, has come up with the idea of wing mirrors using multiple smaller mirrors side-by-side and facing slightly different angles, just like a disco ball. The idea is that drivers will then have a much wider field of view than traditional car mirrors - a 45° view, in fact, compared with the usual 15° to 17° view. Maths professor R Andrew Hicks said: "Imagine that the mirror's surface is made of many smaller mirrors turned to different angles, like a disco ball. Each ray of light bouncing off the mirror shows the driver a wide, but not too distorted, picture of the scene behind him." US regulations restrict his product to aftermarket sales, but the mirror could become standard in Europe. Hicks is already in talks with interested parties.

Taxi driver hits one million miles in Ford

A taxi driver has clocked one million miles (1.6 million kilometres) in his 1996 Ford Mondeo. Brian Holmes, of Preesall, UK, regularly drives clients from his hometown to Manchester Airport, 120 miles away and, in the 16 years he's had the car, he's now completed the journey more than 8,000 times. The 1.8L turbodiesel engine in the estate Mondeo has now travelled enough miles to circumnavigate the earth 40 times. Holmes, 67, said he's not had many issues with the car, "just wear and tear". His odometer on the car only went as high as 999,999 miles so now it has reset, starting again from 000,000.