F1 Maylasia 2015

Its no secret we are big Formula 1 fans here in the office, and 2014 was a very exciting year. However the start of the 2015 season in Australia was marred by the heavily reduced field due to drivers and cars not being ready for the start of the season.  In addition with a crash from Lotus and retirements from Red Bull, Lotus and Toro Rosso all but one driver, Button, who finished the race scored points.

This weekend is the Malaysian Grand Prix and the good news is:

  • McLaren’s Fernando Alonso is fit to race
  • Williams’ Valtteri Bottas is fit to race
  • Marussia will be racing

So with more cars and drivers, and hopefully a few lessons learned, this weekend could be even better.

Subprime borrower? Some Auto Loan tips for you.

Do you know your credit score? What it means? How it affects your chances of getting a loan, how much you can borrow, and ultimately getting on the road?

AutoTrader.com say know your credit score as its the first piece of information a lender asks for: “It’s the best tool to determine your credit status and the interest rate for which you qualify”. In 2014 around 14 million subprime borrowers acquired new and used-car loans, out of approximately 25 million new and used car buyers in the nonprime (601-660), subprime (501-600) and deep-subprime (<500) (Data from Experian Automotive).

So what is the best way to prepare for your purchase in advance?

1. The first would be to cleaning up your credit report where possible. It is possible that it could contain errors or out-of-date information. Any of the three major credit-reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) could have made a mistake.

2. Next, work out how much can you afford? It is easy to get carried away when faced with looking at lovely shiny metal. But remember all the costs involved in running your car, and your life. As a rule of thumb you should not be paying out more than 10% of your income in car loan payments. Then you should also budget for fuel, tyres, servicing, insurance. The costs soon mount up.

3. You could need up to 10% deposit, so make sure you have that amount saved. And ideally that should be at least $,1000. So if you are getting a loan for $8,000 you will still need a $1,000 down payment.

4. Before applying make sure you have all the paperwork you need to prove things like income, residency and a record of on-time payments. If you can show a good credit history the more likely you will be seen as an acceptable risk by a lender.

5. Secure your loan before visiting the dealership. You should already have your maximum purchase price secured and this means you can not be pushed in to a higher purchase price. You can apply online here at 247AutoFinance.com and we give you access to dealerships across all states and cities.

6. Now the fun begins. What kind of car do you want? A new one or an old one?

Remember to check its service history, that the mileage and the log-book tally, the tyres have plenty of tread. Look for any leaks under the car. Is the wear on the drivers seat in line with the mileage of the car? Check the oil levels – if they are too low then maybe the car hasn’t been looked after very well. Make sure the car is cold when it is started up as the dealer may have warmed it up already. Listen for any unusual squeaks, rattles or bumps when driving.

Wheeler Dealers – The US Car Episodes

In the UK there is a great TV show made by The Discovery Cannel called Wheeler Dealers. There are two presenters, Mike Brewer and Ed China, and the premise of the program is very simple but effective. Each episode Mike buys a second hand motor on a budget, Ed works on its bodywork and mechanicals to bring it up to scratch, then Mike sells it on, hopefully for a profit.

The thing that sets this program apart is that it doesn’t shy away from the details. Mike gives lots of great tips on how to locate, test drive and bargain for the car. Ed then goes through all the details of the work required to fix the car. And finally Mike goes through the details of how to secure a sale.

Highlights of the program to date have included:

  • a Lamborghini Urraco purchased in Poland
  • a Ferrari Dino 308 GT4
  • Lancia Delta HF Integrale 8v
  • DeLorean DMC-12

Series 1 was first aired in 2003, and to date 11 series have been aired (up to March 2014). However we are about to be treated to a new series, series 12, starting in March 2015 in which Ed and Mike set up a temporary workshop in Huntington Beach, CA.

To celebrate the start of the new series we wanted to give you a run down of the US cars they have tackles to day (series 1 to 11):

Series Vehicle Budget Purchase Price Repair Costs Selling Price Profit/Loss
1 1967 Chevrolet El Camino $9,600 $9,600 $808 $9,900 -$508
1 1967 Chevrolet Camaro $17,201 $15,000 $100 $27,142 $9,292
2 Willys Jeep $19,950 $10,000 $48 $10,435 $387
3 Chevrolet Opala $20,337 $5,217 $6 $6,522 $1,319
3 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray $21,655 $17,000 $440 $22,500 $5,060
3 Chevrolet Apache $26,715 $11,000 $940 $14,500 $2,560

Don’t miss series 12…

Top Gear Poll – March 2015

There has been a lot of bad publicity related to Top Gear recently (Argentina, Burma, Jeremy Clarkson etc.) and the latest (and possibly last?) UK episode showed what a great driver/petrol head Tanner Foust is. Has the pupil now become the master?

[socialpoll id=”2258974″]

F1 Australia 2015

Was the start of the 2015 season a disappointment.  A heavily reduced starting lineup and  various engine and gearbox failures meant that only 11 cars finished, with all but an ever optimistic Jensen Button piloting the new Maclaren/Honda getting a point.

Ferrari must feel pleased with their podium finish which points to 2015 being a more successful year, but after their dreadful 2014 season it couldn’t really have been worse.  Looks like the excitement for the first few races of 2015 will come from the race between Ferrari and Williams.  Poor Alonso must be feeling like he took a wrong turn with his move to Maclaren.

Next race will be on 28th March in Malaysia.  Predictions?  Lets hope Bottas is race fit for Williams, and Red Bull/Renault are over some of their teething problems.  Hamilton/Rosberg sure to be 1st/2nd.  But after that its could be very close…

2015 Formula 1 Season Starts This Week


A sport that has been growing in popularity in North America is Formula 1.  And for good reason.  The years proceeding the 2014 championship were dominated by the Red Bull Racing Team and their driver Sebastian Vettel.  Whilst the visceral wail of the V8 engines was intoxicating, the drivers and constructors championships were becoming predictable.

However that all changed for the 2014 session, in which the FIA took the brave decision to radically change the series.  By removing the V8s and swapping for 6 cylinder plus electrical hybrid systems and introducing stringent fuel efficiency rules the FIA made F1 relevant to the challenges facing today’s motor industry.

But what would the racing be like…?

Well 2014 proved to be one the most exciting years for F1 ever.  The once dominant force of Red Bull was over shadowed by Mercedes.  And the once dominant driving skills of Sebastian Vettel were overshadowed by the Australian Daniel Ricciardo (possibly spurred on by the thought of .

And to crown it we had one of the most exciting season-long team-mate driver battles ever in the history of F1.  The rivalry between Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg was up there with the likes of Alain Prost vs. Nigel Mansell, and James Hunt vs Niki Lauda.

The head to head battle was full of acrimony, crashes, and season long jostling for position.  In the end it was Hamilton who was victorious as he managed to secure his 2nd world championship in the final race of the season.

So tune in for the start of 2015 in Australia:

  • Practice Friday 13th March
  • Qualifying Saturday 14th March
  • Racing Sunday 15th March

If you don’t want to miss any races you can view the full calendar here.

Baby you can’t park your car!

Parking is something that everyone who drives has to do.  Its a skill that comes easy to some, more difficult to others.  And it can be a real source of tension between neighbours and other road users when people park inconsiderately or dangerously.

Some of the best parking videos ever (with thanks to YouTube):

And finally, as a word of caution.  Remember this?  Malcolm In The Middle – Duel at the Mall

Road Atlanta Announces 2015 Spectator Schedule

Sept. 30 – Oct. 3. 2015.

Vintage racing. Drifting. Sportscar racing. And now, after a short hiatus, Road Atlanta welcomes top-tier two-wheeled racing back to the 2015 schedule! MotoAmerica, the new premiere North American motorcycle championship, joins the lineup of spectator events at Road Atlanta this season and begins a new chapter in their rich motorcycle racing history. MotoAmerica is seeking to reinvigorate professional motorcycle racing in North America by assembling a season-long roster of the best competitors in the world at some of the most challenging and scenic race tracks across the country.

You can register for more information here.

Geneva Motor Show 2015


The 85th International Motor Show opened this week.  Running from 5th to 15th March 2015, it provides the world premiere for some of the best launches from the car industry this year.

Highlights include:

For those of us not lucky enough to be able to attend, we can see the cars at the official website.

Or watch a great walk-through of the show by Chris Harris here.