On Saturday 21st January 2017 I will be making my debut on BBC1's 'Celebrity Pointless' TV quiz show, alongisde my TV husband Tiff Needell, at 6.10pm.
Will be on the top step of the podium at the end...?!
A very Happy New Year to you! I'm hopeful that I will maintain my 2017 resolution which is to ride my Ducati Monster 750 often. It's been under a duvet for the last few years because I couldn't find a baby seat that would fit it... But I'm hoping for plenty of non-icy sunny winter mornings for a blast of the V-Twin.
The slopes beckon me as well, so I'm off to go as fast as I can go downhill without an engine, and without the repeat of a massive shunt and broken collarbone that I successfully managed as a teenager. We'll see!
Have a super start to the year!
If you're looking for a TV show about cars at this time of year, tune in to Channel 5's show - The Cars That Made Britain Great, at 8pm on Fridays (starting September 2nd). As well as banter about British cars, I also road test an Austin Healey.
I'm also scratching a motorbike itch by spectating at the British Moto GP round at Silverstone. And will be continuing to watch the ups and downs in F1's race for the Driver's Championship between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Autumn has so much to offer!
Fellow petrol heads can rejoice in motorsport this summer with the TT, F1, Le Mans, Goodwood and more. I shall be attending (or at least watching) them all! I might even have a look at England's short/long participation in the Euro Cup (no eninges, just a ball).
I've filmed a show for the UK afternoon TV quiz show 'Celebrity Pointless' where my Fifth Gear husband, Tiff Needell, and I pitted our wits against other people from the telly. We did rather well... It will be screened in the Autumn.
Equally exciting is the news that the most recent series of Fifth Gear will be on terrestrial TV for the first time in the UK. It will start on Friday 15th April at 8pm on ITV4 and will be on for a total of 6 weeks.
Happy New Year and hope you have a fuel-filled 2016! Fifth Gear has been on air on ITV4 for the first time, and the most recent series is scheduled to be shown soon. I'll keep you posted.
Meantime, happy motoring!
I had my first car race in 5 years (off having babies)! Racing a 255bhp MINI John Cooper Works at Donington Park, it was also the first time I'd raced against my younger brother Charlie. He won! I romped home a hard-charging, battle-scarred and jubilant 9th (out of 16). Awesome.
Fifth Gear is being shown on terrestrial TV on Quest TV from October on Thursdays at 8pm - Freeview channel 37, SKY channel 144 amd Virgin channel 172.
For the best price on my first book - "Vicki Butler-Henderson's 100 Sexiest Cars" - go on-line to Amazon
We come to the end of 6 great new shows of Fifth Gear being screened on History for the first time. Later this summer, those episodes will be shown on ITV4 in the UK. And then a new batch will air on History, with autumn screenings once more on ITV4.
One of my highlights was a trip to Romania with Tiff Needell where we went exreme off-roading - we were so deep in mud and hills that I could only dream of a tarmac road!
My birthday month! It's also a month where I'm in South Africa filming for Fifth Gear - the furthest flung part of the globe I've yet been to for the show.
Have a really great month - especially if you have a birthday!
A very happy new year to you and thank you for taking a moment to visit my website. The next series of Fifth Gear will be aired in March this year and we're currently running around filming all sorts of motors for it - despite the cold weather and dark afternoons here in the UK.
Have a great month and I'll let you know more details of where to watch soon.
Fifth Gear may be off the air at the moment after our Spring series, but we're planning to be back for our usual Autumn series later in the year.
In the meantime I'm making the occasional appearance as a racing pundit on a new F1 tech show every Thursday night until late June. Called 'One Second In F1 Racing', it's on CNBC, 10.30pm, Freesat 210 & Sky 505.
We are back on TV with our 23rd series of Fifth Gear - Discovery Channel, 8pm Mondays (Sky 520 & Virgin 212). I'm testing a Dakar Rally beast, driving an armoured vehicle off-road using night vision only and messing about in cars with my fellow presenters.
This month I'm also collecting my Gran's Mk1 Ford Fiesta following a restoration project by Practical Classics magazine - a mag I was once Staff Writer on. Can't wait to be reuinited with the Yellow Peril machine.
I hope we all have a fuel-filled and fun-packed 2014. I started the year in a Bentley Fying Spur and then a week on a pair of skis - so far so good!
I am continuing to write my monthly car columns for both Country & Town House magazine, and Scotland's Press & Journal newspaper. And will have my third article published in America's Road & Track mag (March issue). Very thrilled.
Have a wonderful 4 weeks.
This month sees the final few shows of the current series of Fifth Gear (new one due in Spring 2014). I've been lucky enough to drive a racing truck (sideways!), a Donkervoort sportscar in its home-country of Holland (sideways!), and an electric Land Rover around the manufacturer's off-road course (uphill!). Lucky me!
Have a super month.
The 22nd series of Fifth Gear is on air this month! Every Monday from 16th September for 9 weeks on the Discovery Channel (Sky 520, Virgin 212).
We are already filming for the 23rd series (out in the Spring) so it's a wonderfully car-filled time at the moment.
STOP PRESS! On Friday 31st at 11am BBC Radio 4 is repeating the enthralling James Hunt and Niki Lauda documentary that I was privileged to do the voice over for. More info go to:
On Fifth Gear news, we are currently fimling the next series which will appear on the Discovery Channel in the autumn (Sky 520, Virgin212). It's going really well with plenty of exciting machines on test!
The driving days I co-host with Porsche at Silverstone are in full swing for the year, so if you want to hone your sliding and skidding talents in your own car (non-Porsches very welcome!) then go to the DRIVING section of my website, and then select DRIVING DAYS.
Have a sunny month!
I hope you all have a great start to a wonderful year!
The new series of Fifth Gear starts on the Discovery Channel at 8pm on Monday 11th February. There are 9 weekly shows to enjoy and it is our 22nd series of the programme!
For more news find me on Twitter @vb_h
OCTOBER 25th 2012
I am co-presenting the Top Gear Live event for the following four days at the NEC in Birmingham. Tiff Needell and I host the action-packed track show - which includes The Stig - as we warm up the crowd for 50-minutes before we hand over to the main event and the big boys of Clarkson, May and Hammond. Come and see us if you can!
The latest series of Fifth Gear hits American TV screens this month on the Velocity channel. And we continue to be on the Discovery Channel in the UK every Monday at 8pm on Sky 520 and Virgin 212.
On this month's batch of shows I'll be testing a £50,000 Land Rover Defender (8th Oct), a Jaguar XJ Supersport Speed Pack (15th Oct), having a go at motorbike Speedway (22nd Oct) and racing a kart (29th Oct). And then, sadly, that is it for our currrent 9-episode series! But we'll be back on air with another brand new batch of programmes in the Spring.
Over the last couple of weeks I've been getting to grips with the world of Twitter, well sort of, and enjoying some free time at home. I've tested the new Ford B-Max mini-MPV machine with sliding rear doors, which have proved a godsend to me as a Mummy in the super-tight supermarket car park I use!
Have a wonderful 4 weeks!
SEPTEMBER 14th 2012
I have finally found my way to Twitter! You can follow me @vb_h
Hope my tweets are worthy of your following!
Don't forget Fifth Gear is on every Monday night for the next 7 weeks at 8pm on the Discovery Channel (Sky 520 and Virgin 212).
I have been flat-out filming for the last couple of months as we gear up to our first show of the latest series going on TV. We are now exclusively on the Discovery Channel starting on Monday 3rd September at 8pm, and every Monday after that for 9 weeks. Very exciting.
Since my last update I have been doing some brilliant stuff. I raced the new Porsche Boxster against a jet plane - I was doing 150mph with the top down in the car, and the plane flew over me at 400mph almost close enough for me to reach up and touch it!
I went back to my roots and raced a 90mph kart in one of the most competitive series around - Formula Kart Stars. The last time I raced one was when I was a teenager and it showed!
And I was lucky enough to visit the Olympics and am thrilled to be going to watch the Rugby at the Paralympics. All the athletes are phenomenal human beings and it is my privelege to cheer them on!
Where is the year rushing? June already. I had the pleasure of filming with former Lotus F1 driver Karun Chandhok recently who threw me about in the latest Lotus Exige S at a racing circuit. I returned the favour. Neither of us are very good passengers.
I also spent a day with McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray and drove his new electric car for Fifth Gear. Both were fabulous. I'm also writing about it for the motoring section of Saturday's Telegraph newspaper which should be published in a few weeks.
And in this month's MSN Cars column I admit to being done for gross-misconduct in my past! Go to the LINKS section of my website to read more.
Have a wonderful (and dry!) June.
After 14 glorious years together, I have put my MkII Volkswagen Golf GTI 16v up for sale. I have loved every mile in it and it's being sold through Volkswizard in Birmingham and here's the link if you are interested in giving her a new home: www.volkswizard.co.uk
I went to the Top Marques supercar show in Monaco last week which was great fun. I drove the Fisker Karma - the £86,000 electric four-seater super-coupé that also has a 2.0-litre turbo engine when you need to extend the range. It was seriously good and has a creatively designed interior that's a joy to be in. But it was a gorgeous power boat that stole the show for me - a Hunton - that's impeccably finished, can do 65mph on the water, and is made in the UK. I need to win the lottery!
In this month's MSN Cars column I have written about women in Formula One - how there have been five already and what the future holds for the fairer sex in the sport. Please go to my LINKS section to get there, then scroll down a bit!
Have fun whatever wheel you find yourself behind this month!
We begin filming for the next series of Fifth Gear this month. It will be the 11th year of the show and I think it's still the best job in the world! We do not have an exact date for when it will be on TV but I'll keep you posted on that front.
The Formula One season is just a month away and I'm counting the days for that to start as well, hoping to see the McLaren and Ferrari boys closing that gap to Red Bull once and for all.
Happy motoring for now!
I hope your 2012 has roared into action perfectly! I've been busy recording my voice for a cherished part in a wonderful children's TV animation called 'Olly The Little White Van'. In one of the episodes from the forthcoming second series I play myself, but from a car show called "High Revs", and I road test Olly and set some challenges for him and his other vehicle friends. It's so sweet! It'll be on Children's ITV channel in the next couple of months - I'll let you know the date. A must for all car-loving kids (and parents!).
If you have a few minutes and fancy reading more car related antics from my keyboard, please read my monthly columns at MSN Cars - which you can find by clicking on my LINKS section.
DECEMBER 12th 2011
There are two more Fifth Gear shows to air before the end of the year. This Friday I'm going sideways in BMW's new M5 super saloon, and the following week I'll be taught some police driving techniques as well as crashing into some parked cars. Like you do!
As the year draws to a close, the three top cars I've been lucky enough to drive and that stand out are the Ferrari 458 Spider, BMW M3 GTS and BMW 1 Series M Coupe. A trio of terrific machines! Roll on new metal for 2012 too.
I hope you all have a really fabulous Christmas and enjoy some fun time with friends, family and behind the wheel!
Thank you so much for your support this year.
Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!
NOVEMBER 22nd 2011
I have been having almost too much fun blasting about in new machines over the last few weeks. From going sideways in the new BMW M5 at Pau racing circuit in France, to teaching cricketers Stuart Broad and Matt Prior to sling a Jaguar XFR round a UK track. Oh, and being very, very sick down the side of a Skoda Fabia vRS as I played navigator to a future World Rally Champion, Andreas Mikkelsen, in a night rally - it was not my best look, that's for sure, but was actually a big giggle!
It can all be seen on Fifth Gear on the remaining five shows for this series, every Friday at 7.30pm on Channel Five in the run-up to Christmas. Or you can catch-up on the Fifth Gear website.
OCTOBER 24th 2011
The 20th series of Fifth Gear is now on! Tune in to Channel Five on Friday nights at 7.30pm for the 10-week run.
I went to Ferrari's HQ in Italy last week to drive the 458 Spider - oh wow, one of the best car's I've ever driven. An amazing rear-drive chassis coupled with a fantastic V8 engine with a supreme sound. It'll be on the show next week (November 4th).
Have a top week!
OCTOBER 10th 2011
Really enjoyed yesterday's F1 GP. I was more moved by Button's race win than Vettel's Championship victory, but a top job done by both chaps.
I am off filming with the Fifth Gear boys this week for a few Team Tests where we'll be looking at some new metal, including the VW Golf Cabriolet. And then I'm off to Italy to film the 458 Spider. Yipee!
Have a wonderful seven days.
OCTOBER 3rd 2011
I don't have any filming this week, but am looking forward to this weekend's Formula One race in Japan. I think it's a given that Vetttel will be crowned the Champion for the second time, so my eyes are more drawn to who will be runner-up - Button, Alonso, Webber or Hamilton. Should be a cracker!
Hope you're enjoying the sunshine where it falls in the UK this week.
SEPTEMBER 26th 2011
The summer seems to have flown by and we're already filming for the Autumn/Winter series for Fifth Gear. It's our 20th series, having filmed two series each year for the last decade. That has whizzed by too.
Last week I was in Bedfordshire, Austria and Croatia with the new Range Rover Evoque, Porsche Panamera Diesel, Mercedes-Benz SLK, Mini Coupé and Bentley Continental GT Convertible. It was a good week!
We are back on air on Channel Five from Friday 14th October at 7.30pm and for a 10-week run.
Have a lovely week.
AUGUST 1st 2011
My brother was racing at the Silverstone Classic meeting the other weekend and it was great to see thousands of petrol heads and their fine array of motor vehicles. Almost every car ever made was either on display or in the car parks, and and I've never seen so many E-Type Jags in my life, let alone one place - celebrating the car's 50th birthday.
Congrats to Jenson Button on his Formula One win yesterday - a cracking race full of twists that was fabulous to watch. But even better to drive, I'm certain.
JULY 11th 2011
I had a great weekend at Silverstone and it was wonderful to see the sea of fans around the circuit, mostly cheering on the Brits. Paul di Resta's 6th qualifying position was fantastic, and the few overtakes from the McLaren boys were a joy to behold. It's just a pity none of them made it to the podium. Next time!
Fifth Gear is on air this Friday on Channel Five, 7.30pm, and I'll be testing a BMW M3 GTS against Tiff in a Porsche 911 GTS RS - hope you enjoy the tyre smoking antics!
Have a great seven days.
JUNE 27th 2011
I am a huge F1 fan but was left feeling a bit flat after yesterday's relatively uneventful race from Valencia, Spain. The track never produces loads of overtakes, plus Sebastian Vettel's dominance is getting too much for me (a Mark Webber fan). I'm sure Vettel and his family love it though, and to be fair he's the best driver in the best car at the moment. I'll be at the Silverstone GP in a couple of weeks though, and am really looking forward to seeing and hearing the cars in all their glory!
Have a lovely week.
JUNE 20th 2011
The 'pipe roll' stunt that I filmed a few weeks ago with 'The World's Greatest Stuntman' is going to be on Fifth Gear this Friday (June24th). Daredevil Vic Armstrong managed to put me at ease with his calm professionalism, as well as being wonderful human being. I hope you enjoy our efforts when you see them. It was much more scary than it looks!
On Saturday I hosted one of the regular 'YouDrive@Porsche' days at Silverstone. They are great fun and are one of the best events where you can put your own car (whatever the make and model) into a skid, spin and slide without ruining your tyres. All within the safe confines of a purpose-built facility with professional instructors keeping a keen eye on improving your skills. Do come along! They are once a month on a Saturday. Google it for more details.
Have a great first Wimbledon week!
MAY 23rd 2011
Although there is no Fifth Gear this Friday on TV (because of cricket), I will be filming a 'pipe roll' stunt to be shown in a couple of weeks. It involves me driving towards a raised pipe, launching the car onto it, and that will hopefully result in the car flipping over.
Not quite sure why I've volunteered for this one... but I'll be under the superb guidance of one of the world's most experienced stuntmen, Vic Armstrong - he was the stunt double for Indiana Jones, Superman and a few James Bonds. Hopefully all will go well...
Hope you have a much more relaxed week!
MAY 16th 2011
This week I'll be at Rockingham racing circuit in the truly fabulous BMW M3 GTS - the most track-focused and expensive M3 available. I'll be putting it up against a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, driven by the very talented Tiff Needell. We'll have a sideways challenge and then a race against the clock for a lap to see which car is the ultimate. Can't wait!
Have a great seven days.
MAY 9th 2011
I've had huge fun slinging a £178,000 Mercedes-Benz SLS round Rockingham circuit in the name of Fifth Gear. My latest challenge was to slice a cucumber in half as it poked from the top of a road cone in the middle of a bend, using the car which had a knife attached to the bonnet! I also had to teach the TV chef, James Martin, how to do it. Find out the results on Friday 20th May at 7.30pm on Channel Five.
And this Friday (13th May) I will be putting a Lotus Evora S up against a Porsche 911 S at Assen racing circuit.
Have a fabulous week.
APRIL 25th 2011
It's been a few months since I last managed to update this NEWS section - motherhood is keeping me very busy!
However, I have found some time to film the current series of Fifth Gear which you can see on Channel Five on Fridays at 7.30pm. However, there's no show this week because of the Royal Wedding coverage.
So far this year I've been lucky enough to test Audi's new hot hatch, the RS3, which was a fine piece of kit but one that sadly didn't make me feel really special. But BMW's limited edition track-focused M3 GTS certainly did - wow, what a car, and what a price tag at almost £120,000. It is one of the best handling cars I've ever driven.
And I have just filmed the Mercedes SLS AMG gullwinged supercar which had a knife attached to the bonnet... My mission with it was as follows: Whilst doing a power slide, I had to slice the top off a cucumber which was stuck into the top of a roadworks cone and placed at the apex of a corner. And then I had to teach the TV chef, James Martin, how to do it. It was enormous fun and really tricky, but tune in to Fifth Gear over the next few weeks to see if we managed it.
FEBRUARY 7th 2011
I hope your year is progressing brilliantly - mine is truly magical.
Two manufacturers who have started off well are Ferrari and Pagani, makers of exclusive supercars we can all lust after, if not afford.
Ferrari's offering is the FF - a four-seater, four-wheel-drive, V12 machine that looks a lot like a larger version of BMW's Z3M Coupé (which is no bad thing). The purist in me is sad that it's not a rear-drive machine though!
Pagani has unveiled its replacement for the Zonda. I loved driving a bright yellow Zonda Roadster a few years ago and can't wait to have a go in the new £844,000 Huayra (pronounced 'wirer' with a Spanish waiter accent!). Hopefully I can get my mitts on it when we start filming the new series of Fifth Gear - back on TV in April.
I will update my NEWS section again when time permits.
In the meantime, happy motoring!
Happy New Year! And I really hope 2011 is a fun-filled motoring adventure for you.
The year has started off better than I could have dreamed thanks to the arrival of my first child, a daughter - and future Formula One champion of course!
My weekly updates won't be quite so regular for the next couple of months, but you can read my weekly column for top tips on a variety of car topics at MSN Cars - please go to my LINKS section for direct access.
If you are going to the Autosport International Racing Car Show on January 13th-16th at Birmingham's NEC, please go to see Jason Plato and Tiff Needell (and me on a pre-recorded video screen) at the Fifth Gear Live Action Arena. Enjoy their car sliding and tyre smoking antics!
All the best to you.
DECEMBER 20th 2010
Christmas week! My tree is up, the gifts are wrapped and I've hung up the car keys for the week. I really hope the roads become hassle-free soon and everyone gets home safely for a relaxed and happy Christmas.
If you are still looking for those last minute presents, I have come up with my top 20 that you can view at my weekly column for MSN Cars. Either go to LINKS on my website here and then click on 'MSN Cars', or go direct to the following address that takes you straight to the column:
I hope Father Christmas delivers everything you wish for, but most importantly that you spend some wonderful time with the people who matter most to you.
A very Merry Christmas to you all and thank you so much for your continued support throughout this year.
DECEMBER 6th 2010
I have done a fair few hundred miles in a £20,500+ Peugeot RCZ coupé over the last few days and had a ball in it. It's a worthy winner of the awards it has received recently in end of year ceremonies - it looks good with a 'double bubble' rear screen and it is my favourite handling Pug for many a year.
Fifth Gear's last show of the current 10-programme series is on air this Friday, and I'll unveil our best fast car of the year, as well as the best small car and family one.
Have a great week.
I update this NEWS section every Monday (unless I'm away!).
NOVEMER 29th 2010
I have been to this year's Motorcylce Show at the NEC in Birmingham where 37 manufacturers have sparkling metal on display, and kids can have a go on two wheels for the first time. Adults can get their leg over too with free 'taster rides' in the special 'Get On' section. It's on until Sunday and well worth a day out for all petrol heads.
This Friday sees the penultimate Fifth Gear show for the current series and I'll be putting the big new 4-door Mini Countryman through its paces. It starts at 7.30pm on Channel Five.
Have a wonderful and warm week!
NOVEMBER 22nd 2010
I am filming the Fifth Gear Awards show this week which is planned to be on TV on Friday 10th December. It's great to have a collective look back at the best cars on sale this year, but it also reminds me how quickly another year seems to have slipped by! I'd love to let you know which cars are our winners, but I am forbidden from doing so.
I'm still busy promoting my book and have a signing this Saturday at Motor Books at Cecil Court near Leicester Square in London from 12.30pm.
Have a wonderful week.
NOVEMBER 15th 2010
I am surprised and delighted to announce I have been voted the 'Broadcast Journalist of the Year' by my industry peers. The "headlineauto" awards celebrate the best in motoring journalism, writing and photography and I am honoured to be the recipient. Very exciting!
The Formula One Drivers' Championship was wrapped up yesterday and although I was hoping Mark Webber would bag his first title, Sebastian Vettel's tearful appearance on the podium won me over. It was lovely, and quite fitting, to see him sandwiched by Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button whilst up there too, as they won the title in 2008 and 2009 respectively. A great season closes and I'm already looking forward to 2011. First race is the Bahrain GP on March 13th.
Have a fast and safe week!
NOVEMBER 8th 2010
I have had a wonderfully full couple of weeks which is why I've not been able to update my NEWS section until now. Most of my time has been promoting my book including an appearance on Channel Five's The Wright Stuff and the MPH Show in London at the weekend. I will be at the MPH show again in Birmingham this Saturday, signing my book between 1pm and 2pm.
I have been an exceptionally lucky bunny too as I have driven the Aston Martin DB5 that Sean Connery drove as James Bond in Goldfinger and Thunderball. I was so excited about getting behind the wheel of this iconic car that I stood admiring it for a full ten minutes before I even touched it. It went on to be sold at auction a couple of days later for £2.6 million. My antics in it - albeit at slow speeds because of the restrictions that were put on us - can be seen on Fifth Gear this Friday at 7.30pm on Channel Five.
In the meantime, have a top week.
OCTOBER 18th 2010
I am still busy promoting my book - a BBC Radio 4 interview last week and a double page spread in the Sunday Express yesterday were particular highlights.
I shall be driving the new Renault Wind on Friday night's Fifth Gear on Channel Five, so I hope you can tune in at 7.30pm.
Have a wonderful week.
OCTOBER 11th 2010
I am really excited this week because my first ever book is being launched - "VBH's 100 Sexiest Cars"! I have a busy few days ahead promoting it on TV shows and radio stations and I just hope that it's well received! There is more information about it on my website here, under the cunning title 'My New Book', as well as a piccy of the front cover. It will be on sale in all good book shops this week!
Fifth Gear started its 18th series on Friday night at 7.30pm on Channel Five, and will be on air for the next nine weeks. On this Friday's show I look at all the new cars and concept machines on display at the Paris Motor Show.
Have a fantastic week!
OCTOBER 4th 2010
I'm gearing up for my book launch next week so it's an exciting time arranging radio and TV interviews. I shall also be on the EVO magazine stand at the MPH Show in London and in Birmingham in November signing copies, so please come and see me if you are planning to be there.
I have also just launched a new weekly column on one of the UK's biggest car websites, MSN Cars, where I'll be writing about my favourite and least favourite cars and everything to do with cars every seven days. A new column will appear each Tuesday on that site. To view my first week's column please click on http://cars.uk.msn.com/features/photos.aspx?cp-documentid=154610755
And finally, as much as I'd love to let you know which group of finalists won last week's SEAT Sex Drive - men or women - I can't until the end of November, because of some grown-up rules. But it was close stuff...
Fifth Gear is back on Channel Five on Friday night at 7.30pm and for the next 10 weeks. In the first show I will be driving the world's fastest four-seater convertible, the Bentley Supersports Convertible!
Have a fun week.
SEPTEMBER 27th 2010
I spent the weekend driving the fastest four-seater drop-top in the world - Bentley's new Continental Supersports Convertible. It costs £178,000, has 612bhp and will hit 62mph in 3.9seconds, which is quick enough to pin you to the seat! You can see it for yourself on Fifth Gear when the show starts up again on FRIDAY 8th OCTOBER at 7.30pm on Channel Five. Our new series will be on air for ten weeks.
Last week's SEAT Sex Drive competition that I'm co-hosting (in conjunction with Fifth Gear), threw up some talented drivers of both sexes. Together with the men's celebrity captain, adrenalin junkie Jack Osbourne, and the women's captain, Big Brother's Little Brother presenter Emma Willis, we have found four lads and four lasses who will drive their hearts out in the finals this week to win an amazing prize - to become racing drivers and compete in a round of the Britcar endurance championship next year. Just one team can be victorious - may the best girls win...!
Have a lovely seven days.
SEPTEMBER 21st 2010
I'm co-hosting the auditions for the Fifth Gear/SEAT Sex Drive competition this week in Warwickshire. It's a battle of the sexes as hundreds of men and women will test their driving skills against eachother in a variety of stunts to see who is the best - though of course, I know the fairer sex will be the winners...Come on Girls! The finals take place next week.
I'm off to Ireland as well later to drive Bentley's most expensive and most powerful offering of its Continental car, the Supersports Convertible. It's also the fastest four-seater drop top in the world with a top speed of 202mph.
Oh, I've got a tough week ahead...
Hope yours will be too.
SEPTEMBER 13th 2010
I settled down anticipating a cracking Formula One race from Monza yesterday, but as soon as Lewis Hamilton went out on the first lap I knew it wouldn't be an epic one. I was really looking forward to seeing him move up through the field to tussle with pole-sitter Fernando Alonso, but it wasn't to be.
However, the man I've fancied all year to win the title - Mark Webber - now sits at the top of the drivers' standings, so it was a great race in that respect!
I'm doing some filming for Fifth Gear Web TV this week, with an Infiniti M37 and a VW Toureg, and I'm being interviewed by one of my favourite magazines that I read as a teenager - Karting magazine. Can't wait!
Have a speedy week.
SEPTEMBER 6th 2010
The DTM (German Touring Cars) race on Sunday at Brands Hatch was spine-tinglingly fantastic. The noise had even the hardest race fan reaching for the ear plugs, and the cornering speed and traction of these Audis and Mercedes-Benzs was eye watering.
To put their performance into perspective, the race winner Paul Di Resta (Force India's F1 Friday test driver) lapped the 1.2-mile circuit in just over 41 seconds. When I raced there last year in a fully-blown race-spec Ferrari F430 I was lapping in 49 seconds, which was fast enough for me to finish in second place.
Ex-F1 racer David Coulthard finished 12th in his first visit to Brands as a DTM driver, and if you fancy seeing them for yourself the next round is on September 19th in Germany. It'll be well worth the visit!
My brother finished 3rd and 4th in his two Trofeo Abarth 500 GB races and suffered gearbox problems in both, but they were great fun to watch too, if not quite as quick as the DTMs, lapping in 53 seconds.
If you were one of the many people who took the time to come and see Charlie and I during our autograph session, then thank you very much!
Have a fast seven days!
AUGUST 30th 2010
I've started filming for the next series of Fifth Gear which is scheduled to be on Channel Five in the Autumn/Winter. One of the car's I've driven is the Renault Wind - a humorously-title two-seater which has a convertible roof that opens up in 12 seconds by flipping itself 180 degrees backwards.
I enjoyed watching the Formula One race from Spa yesterday and thought it was one of the most action-packed of the year. And I'm really looking forward to more close racing at this weekend's German Touring Car Championship (DTM) at Brands Hatch. My brother Charlie will be there too, competing in the latest round of the Trofeo Abarth 500 GB Championship. He's currently lying second in the drivers' standings and I shall be shouting him onwards from the side lines.
Hope you have a fun-filled seven days.
AUGUST 16th 2010
On Saturday I co-hosted another fun day on the YouDrive@Porsche driving course at Porsche's specially-designed tracks at Silverstone. Guests brought all sorts of machines including a Ford Focus and an old school M5, though one of my favourite cars was a 993 Porsche 911 with its timeless curves. I had a cheeky drive in it and although it was about 15 years old, it still felt super special.
I drove the latest range-topping £82,000 Range Rover Autobiography last week with a 5.0-litre V8 engine and a staggering 503bhp. It has a really clever TV screen that allows the front passenger to watch as much telly as they want, but when the driver looks at the screen all they can see is a list of car data, so it's not distracting. Other manufacturers will make their own version of it soon I'm sure.
Whatever car you drive this week though, enjoy the miles.
AUGUST 9th 2010
This is one of the most exciting weeks of the year for me because my first book is currently being produced! Called Vicki Butler-Henderson's 100 Sexiest Cars, it will be on sale on October 7th which is only two months away. Each car I've chosen has a special story attached to it from my childhood, from the years I presented BBC Top Gear and the last nine years with Fifth Gear. They are not all supercars - the Ford Capri and Peugeot 205 GTi make an appearance as well as others - and I've also added a few of the worst cars I've had the misfortune to test, as well as the most unusual. I really hope you like it!
This Thursday (7.30pm on FIVE) is the last show in the current series of Fifth Gear. We've had 10 great shows and we're all looking forward to filming the next series soon, which is expected to be back on the TV in the autumn/winter.
Have a great week.
JULY 26th 2010
Both Tiff Needell and I were judges at London's Salon Privé car show on Friday which was an honour and great fun. Our day with exotic and rare machines worth millions of pounds can be seen on Fifth Gear within the next few shows. And about the programme, Fifth Gear is not on air this Thursday because of cricket, but will be back at 7.30pm next week on FIVE.
I drove a few hundred miles in my Mk II Golf GTI this weekend and it didn't put a tyre wrong despite its high 176,000 miles. It's the only car I daren't thrash - such a mature machine (1989 vintage) needs a certain respect. I love it.
And my brother finished on the podium in both his Trofeo Abarth 500 GB races at the Silverstone Classic meeting, which are great results.
Hope your next seven days are fabulously successful.
JULY 19th 2010
I was back at Silverstone at the weekend to host another 'YouDrive@Porsche' course - which gives you the opportunity to learn how to control a skid and a slide in your own car, using the purpose-built low-friction tracks at the Porsche Experience Centre. We had a great mix of cars from a pick-up truck to a Peugeot 306 and it was as much fun to watch them spinning as it must have been to be inside them.
This week I am filming my final item for the current series of Fifth Gear (although episode 8 of 10 is on TV this Thursday night). I'm off to the Salon Privé in London which is like a lovely garden party but you're surrounded by lots of exotic supercars, old and new. I am a judge, as is Tiff Needell, and you'll be able to see our exploits from the event in a couple of weeks.
Hope you have a good week.
JULY 12th 2010
I spent a lovely weekend amongst fellow petrol heads at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. More than 100,000 fans were cheering around the track on the Sunday which was a fabulous sight and sound.
I am off to meet one of the greatest car designers of our time this week, Gordon Murray, who created the McLaren F1 road car. I'm talking to him about his new city car and my interview will be aired on Fifth Gear (Thursday nights at 7.30pm on FIVE) within the next three weeks.
Have a top seven days.
JULY 5th 2010
This Thursday's Fifth Gear sees me test the new BMW 5-series which is packed with more technology than ever. But is it all worth it? I'm not a fan of too many driver aids so tune in on Thursday night at 7.30pm on FIVE to find out.
Later in the week I am off to the Silverstone F1 Grand Prix and even though I'll be working, I will still feel privileged to be at the scene of one of the world's best sporting events of the year. And for the first time in a long while we can welcome home the British team-mates of current World Champion, Jenson Button, and former World Champion, Lewis Hamilton. And I know all of us fans will provide them with the most intoxicating atmosphere of the year.
Wherever you watch the race from, hope you have a great time.
JUNE 28th 2010
Yesterday's Formula One race at Valencia was much more entertaining than England's World Cup performance against Germany... And to see Red Bull's Mark Webber walk away from his high-speed acrobatic crash was almost miraculous. Thank goodness safety is such a serious consideration when the teams construct their cars.
I have been driving the RenaultSport Clio 182 that Fifth Gear is giving away as a competition prize and it's such fun. Its perky chassis and engine, cute looks and decent fuel economy makes me wish I could win it myself!
Have a wonderful week, especially if you are going to the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend.
JUNE 21st 2010
My life has been taken over by sport this week, but none that I am actually participating in. I am becoming an expert football manager on my sofa and am desperate for the England team to stay in the World Cup. It's not easy being a fan.
And then there's Wimbledon which starts today. Tennis is a sport I love so I'm hoping to catch as many matches as I can, probably on the radio as I travel around.
I'm testing Alfa Romeo's new Giulietta this week and I hope I find it as good as it looks.
Have a winning week!
JUNE 14th 2010
Last week's Fifth Gear wasn't the episode that was advertised, so apologies for that. My Maserati road trip should be on the show this Thursday on Five at 7.30pm, as well as Jason Plato in an attempt to hit 200mph in the new Noble.
The Rolls Royce Ghost I drove last week was fabulously grand and will be on Fifth Gear as soon as soon as it's scheduled. I'm testing something at the other end of the motoring spectrum this week - the world's first sporty hybrid car, the Honda CR-Z.
It uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor to help give it a fuel economy figure of 56.5mpg, and it's also free of London's congestion charge (£8 per day). It costs £17,000 to buy and although there are some cars that are even greener and leaner, the CR-Z is a funky little two-seater (with two very small rear seats) that makes you feel like you're doing your bit for the planet.
Hope your next 7 World Cup days are great and that the England football team can get a win on Friday!
JUNE 7th 2010
I’ll be driving the new baby Rolls Royce this week for Fifth Gear. It costs almost £196,000, is powered by a 6.6-litre V12 and has about as much power as the new Ferrari 458 Italia with a juicy 563bhp. I can’t wait!
Don’t forget that the new series of the show is on Five on Thursday nights at 7.30pm. This week sees me drive the Maserati Gran Cabrio from Paris to Monaco, while Jason Plato tries to hit 200mph in a new Noble sportscar. Tiff and Jonny are thrown together in an electric car too, which is amusing.
The latest issue of Fifth Gear Web TV, where I test the £50,000 Infiniti Range Rover-rival, is now on the internet and you can view it on either of the two links:
Have a top week.
JUNE 1st 2010
My big news this week is that the new series of Fifth Gear will be on FIVE this Thursday (3rd June) at 7.30pm. In this week's show I am paired with Tiff Needell to find out our favourite hot hatch on sale right now. It's our 17th series, having made two a year since 2002, and even Lewis Hamilton pops up in this week's show. Hope you can watch it. And enjoy it!
Have a great week.
MAY 24th 2010
My brother Charlie finished his racing weekend to lead the Trofeo Abarth 500 GB championship after a pair of podium positions at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire. We're all very proud of him.
The 1.4-litre turbocharged pocket rockets shared the billing with the British Superbike Championship, and as I watched them on TV I was left in awe to see those two-wheel heroes go airborne as they crested The Mountain section of the Lincolshire track. Amazing.
Fifth Gear is back on Five next week - Thursday 3rd June - and I'll let you know more about the contents next week. I'm back with Tiff Needell, Jason Plato and Jonny Smith.
In the meantime for Fifth Gear Web TV, I've been testing a Mountune Ford Focus MP350 which is the tuning company's take on Ford's super-exclusive RS500. Here are two links to view it:
Hope your week is a motor-fuelled one.
MAY 17th 2010
I was glued to the Formula One race yesterday as it's one of the most exciting venues on the calendar with its close barriers and super-brave overtaking opportunities. And of course I had more of an interest in it because I'd driven a couple laps of the track the week before.
I have another two races to look forward to this weekend and that's the much-slower but sometimes more-entertaining Trofeo Abarth 500 GB Championship. My brother will be racing amongst the pack at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire and he'll be fighting for points to at least keep his second place in the title race. Very exciting.
Have a lovely seven days.
MAY 10th 2010
Just had a mammoth drive in the new Maserati Gran Cabrio from Paris to Monaco which was enormous fun. I managed to do two laps of the Monaco F1 track at my destination, and it's almost ready to go for this Sunday's GP race. It was so exciting to see the brand new red and white kerbs stuck onto the tarmac, the metal barriers in place that the cars sometimes skim, and of course I went through the tunnel and gave the V8 some beans! The film of it will be screened on the second show of the new Fifth Gear series which starts at the beginning of June.
I'm now spending the rest of this week writing and remembering the sound of the Maserati's V8.
Have a top week.
MAY 3rd 2010
Thank you so much if you were one of the many people who came to see me and my brother at the AutoItalia magazine car fest at Brooklands on Saturday. I drove an Abarth 500 Esseesse up the steep hill which was a giggle, and there was a wonderful atmosphere as hundreds of people and Italian cars mixed at the historic venue - a place where my Grandfather, Lionel, actually raced in a Frazer Nash many decades ago around the banked outer circuit.
Yesterday I was at the National Kit Car Show in Warwickshire which was full of a variety of all sorts of motors I don't see too often, and despite the freezing cold weather I received a warm welcome - so thank you as well if you took the time to come and say hello. I appreciated it very much.
I'm off the France this week to drive the new Maserati Gran Cabrio for Fifth Gear, so au revoir for now!
APRIL 26th 2010
I have a fun-packed week ahead with a variety of cars I'm filming for the upcoming series of Fifth Gear, as well as Fifth Gear Web TV. I'm going off-road in Land Rover's latest Discovery as it battles against Toyota's Land Cruiser, and then I have a single test of Alfa Romeo's MiTo with the new Cloverleaf engine.
On Saturday I'll be at the AutoItalia magazine car show at Brooklands in Surrey where I'm hoping to drive an Abarth 500 up the hill. My brother will also be with me alongside his racing Trofeo Abarth racing car. And then on Sunday I'll be at the National Kit Car show at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire to see the latest and maddest motors to emerge from garages all over the country. Tiff Needell is the show's guest on Monday, so if you plan a visit please come and say hello to either one of us.
Hope you have a great week and weekend whatever you're up to.
APRIL 19th 2010
My road test of Porsche's Boxster Spyder is now on-line for you to have a look at if you've got nothing better to do for five minutes! By the end of the day it will be on both http://fwd.five.tv/fifth-gear and youtube.com/fifthgearuk - which also contains lots of videos of cars I've tested for the Fifth Gear Web TV brand.
My brother had another podium place in yesterday's Trofeo Abarth 500 GB Championship race on the Silverstone GP track, and a fourth place after Saturday's race. The next outing is at Cadwell Park in Loncolnshire on 22nd-23rd May.
I've had a few people recently ask me why I'm not on Facebook or Twitter. It's just because I would hate to bore anyone! And because I don't have the time at the moment but I won't rule it out for the future.
Have a great week.
APRIL 12th 2010
My review of a three-seater exoskeleton car hogged the cover and centre pages of yesterday's Sunday Times 'In Gear' motoring section, and I still get a buzz when I see my copy in print. Which reminds me of the first time I saw my words published - it was a letter I wrote to Horse and Pony magazine when I was about 10!
On Saturday I hosted another day of YouDrive@Porsche at Porsche's purpose-built facility at Silverstone, and managed to take the new GT3 RS for some sideways stuff. It is divine - light, precise, powerful and super sexy. My perfect motor.
Last week Tiff and I had a top laugh thrashing around in four of the best hot hatches on sale today - Scirocco R, Megane 250 Cup, Focus RS and Mazda 3 MPS. I'd love to tell you the winner, but I'm contractually obliged to urge you to watch the next series of Fifth Gear to find out. I'll let you know the exact date nearer the time.
All the best,
APRIL 5th 2010
The Trofeo Abarth 500 GB Championship started over this Bank Holiday weekend at Oulton Park in Cheshire. I was due to race in the series but due to work commitments I wouldn't be able to compete in all the races, so I have stepped aside for my younger brother, Charlie, to take the seat. He's been racing since he was 8 years old (karting with the likes of Jenson Button and Anthony Davidson) and is my more-than-perfect replacement.
And he did me proud by finishing second in the first race! And a fourth in the second race. The next two rounds are on April 17-18th on the Silverstone GP circuit.
I have a couple of days filming for Fifth Gear this week, including a Hot Hatch group test with Tiff at a racing circuit which I'm really looking forward to. I really enjoy driving with him (and against him!) and we'll have a good giggle while we do it, too.
Have a great four-day working week!
MARCH 29th 2010
What a fabulous F1 GP yesterday in Australia and well worth the early start to watch it. The weather gave us some drama early on, the circuit gave us some overtaking, the crowds gave us an atmosphere and the two McLaren drivers gave us a few things to shout about from under our duvets. Let's hope for more excitement from Malaysia on Sunday.
Another sporting event this weekend is Saturday's 'Cambridge versus Oxford Boat Race' on the River Thames. Having gone to school in Cambridge, I'll be cheering for the boys in pale blue and I'm really looking forward to it as it only happens once a year.
Hope you have a successfully competitive week! And Happy Easter!
MARCH 22nd 2010
This week I have the pleasure of driving Porsche's new lightweight Boxster - the Spyder - at the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone for an upcoming episode of Fifth Gear Web TV. And following some anticipated oversteer antics in that, I will be testing the Abarth Punto against the Alfa Romeo MiTo for Auto Italia magazine.
Then gearing up for more F1 action over the weekend!
Have a top seven days!
MARCH 15th 2010
It was great to see Lewis Hamilton on the podium after Sunday's first F1 race of the season, and to witness Michael Schumacher's credible return. But where were the crowds? I think it would have been more colourful and atmospheric to start the year off in Australia. But I really enjoyed it and was pleased to see the three new teams start, and of course was chuffed for everyone involved in the Lotus team for finishing. The racing will only get better.
I've just come back from the first Fifth Gear production meeting for our new series, which will be back on Five and Discovery in May for a 10-week run. The presenter line-up is Tiff Needell, Jason Plato, Jonny Smith and me. We start filming this week and I'll be testing BMW's new 5-Series, and Tiff is doing the Aston Martin Rapide. Can't wait!
Happy motoring to you this week.
MARCH 8th 2010
I am super-excited this week about the start of the new Formula One season on Sunday! Qualifying is on the TV on Saturday at 11am, with the race at 12 noon on Sunday. Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher have proved to be the ones to watch after pre-season tests of their average lap times during race simulations. I am bursting with anticipation.
Today I have been helping to promote 'Motor Codes', which is Government-backed industry body set up to ultimately rid this country of dodgy garages. All service and repair garages are being encouraged to voluntarily subscribe to Motor Codes and therefore adhere to new industry standards. Their work will then be routinely checked and rated by customers, as well as regular RAC inspections.
These garages will also guarantee you and I an open, honest and trustworthy service at fair, transparent prices. They will agree a price before any work is done, so you won't get hit with the nasty surprise of a big bill at the end of the work. Motor Codes also offers free advice and dispute solutions in the unlikely event that any problems arise.
And you can find your local Motor Codes-accredited garage by using the 'Garage Finder' on the website (motorcodes.co.uk). Or if you have a fabulous local garage, then push them to join up.
There are about 30,000 garages in the UK, and so far 6,200 have signed up (at a cost to them of only £75 per year). It's good news for us consumers and starts to see the end of bad garages that rip us off. Hurrah!
Have a super seven days.
MARCH 1st 2010
I can't believe two months of this year have whizzed by already. Time flies when you're having fun they say, and I totally agree.
I've been whizzing about in my MkII Golf GTi over the last week, clocking up 800 miles between jobs and meetings, and I've loved every single mile. I've been excited each morning as I settle into the (now slightly aged) sports seat and fire up the 1.8-litre engine, and I'm constantly amazed at how big all the windows are, and how narrow the A and B pillars, compared to modern hot hatches which favour sharp angles and beefy pillars rather than great visibility.
I tested Volvo's face-lifted C30 hatch-coupé on Thursday which I think does a great job in standing out from the crowd regarding its design. I drove the 2.0-litre 134bhp turbodiesel which costs £19,000 but it sadly failed to get my pulse racing at all (unlike my Golf!). It's a very sombre, mature car to drive, despite its youthful, fun-seeking looks.
Happy motoring this week, no matter what car you drive!
FEBRUARY 22nd 2010
On Friday morning I made my first appearance on BBC Breakfast talking about electric cars. I think they definitely have good and bad points.
They are free from road-tax, congestion charges and some parking tickets, they can run on wind-generated electricity to make them as green as possible, and they don't emit carbon dioxide like petrol and diesel cars do when travelling. However, they do consume energy when they're made, and dismantled at the end of their lives, they have a range from only 40 to 100 miles between charges, the UK has a poor re-charging infrastructure, and most of them are just two-seaters.
I think hydrogen power is the best bet for the future (see News from November 30th 2009). But let's not overlook a couple of really good combustion-engined motors that emit fewer than 100 grammes per kilometre of CO2, and have a range of around 700 miles per tank of fuel - VW's £18,000 Golf Blue Motion 1.6, and Ford's £15,000 Fiesta Econetic 1.6 TDCi.
And after all that, I'm now off to drive a V8-powered Range Rover!
Enjoy your week.
FEBRUARY 15th 2010
I made my ITV This Morning debut last week, giving a guide on buying secondhand cars. Eamonn Holmes and his fiancée Ruth Langsford were hosting the show that day, who were great fun, and I hope my advice helps people to avoid certain pitfalls.
The Porsche 911 GT3 I drove at Brands Hatch is an immaculate piece of engineering. At £86,000 and with a 3.8-litre 345bhp engine, it's a track-focused road car that's sublime round the bends, powerful along the straights and looks sensational with a new rear wing.
On Saturday, I hosted another 'YouDrive@Porsche' day, which is a half-day course for you to drive your own car (it doesn't have to be a Porsche!) and improve your skills around the purpose-built courses at the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone. There's an ice hill, kick-plate which pitches your car into a skid, and a low-friction surface area where you can exploit your car's traction control systems (or not, if they're not fitted!). There's also an interactive classroom theory session which I co-host. For more info, click on the heading 'Driving' and then 'Driving Days' here on my website.
This week is my birthday week, so I've purposefully not got a lot on.
Have a lovely week, especially if it's your birthday, too!
FEBRUARY 1st 2010
Today is a great day for F1 fans - me! - because some of the new cars and drivers are at the first test session of the season, at Valencia in Spain. Sadly this isn't on the TV that I can find, so I'm having to look at various websites for the latest timings. I'm not a betting girl, but I might just put a little cash on three drivers! Hedging my bets a little here, and I'll let you know once the bets are done.
This week I have the honour of pairing up with the latest Porsche 911 GT3 for a play at a racing circuit. All the name of writing an article about it for the next issue of Porsche's customer magazine 'Christophorus'. Bring it on.
Hope you enjoy your week as much as I'll enjoy mine!
JANUARY 25th 2010
Last week's highlight was the Citroen DS3 launch which is a cracking little car, and its multitude of colours and roof patterns will surely steal sales from BMW's Mini and Fiat's 500.
I also wrote a 'Great Drives' article for the Sunday Times In Gear section describing one of my favourite roads, and I shall be doing a few more of them in the future. It's always good to share cracking B-roads!
This week I shall be at the launch of the new Fiat Punto Evo, and filming a series of competition items for GMTV - both fun but extremely different.
Have a lovely 7 days.
JANUARY 18th 2010
I had a sideways-packed Saturday at the Autosport International Show in a Porsche 911 S. I was competing against Tiff Needell who was in a Jaguar XKR to see which of the two cars was the best at power slides, and then over the course of a 2-lap race at the NEC's indoor arena.
We concluded the Jag looked the most impressive when it was sideways because its rear tyres are brilliant at smoking, and the Porky was the most agile in the race. Slinging £90,000 of beautiful metal around the arena's concrete posts was such a hoot. If you took the time to come and see us, and cheered for me and the 911, then thank you very much!
And then Tiff and I interviewed Formula One's World Champion, Jenson Button, for a Fifth Gear Web TV item and he was in top form. It was lovely to see that he is just as excited about this year's grid as we are, especially the return of Michael Schumacher.
I am off to France this week to drive the new Citroen DS3.
So 'au revoir' for now.
JANUARY 11th 2010
This week sees the launch of my first motoring column - titled 'Diary of a Car Girl' - for Country and Town House magazine. The February issue is now on sale in every Waitrose up and down the country, so hope you can have a look if you fancy!
There was a story in the In Gear motoring section of the Sunday Times yesterday saying Fifth Gear will be resurrected. This follows a story in The Mail on Sunday last October saying the show had reached the end of the road with FIVE. Well, it looks very likely that we will be back later this year - or rather that we never went away. I'll let you know when I do.
But Fifth Gear will certainly have a presence at this weekend's Autosport International Show at Birmingham's NEC, because Tiff Needell and I will be doing a small stunt show in the live action arena throughout Saturday (16th). It should be a great day out for all motorsport fans.
Have a safe week.
JANUARY 6th 2010
Happy New Year to you and I really hope all your motoring wishes come true! This week is panning out to be a one where I'll be doing a bit more writing than driving, as I have some features to scribble for The Sunday Times, Country and Town House magazine, Auto Italia, and Ferrari's own mag - all about my most recent exploits and cars I've tested. So cups of tea will be my fuel for a few days.
The Porsche Panamera test I filmed for Fifth Gear Web TV before Christmas is now on the Fifth Gear website or via the following:
Hope your return to work isn't too horrid.
DECEMBER 21st 2009
Every year I know when Christmas happens, but it seems as though there's never enough time to organise everything before it's here! I'm looking forward to spending relaxing time with my family and having fun.
I wish you a very Merry Christmas yourself, and a wonderful New Year.
DECEMBER 14th 2009
Last week's Porche Panamera drive was fabulous. I was filming it at the Porsche Experience Centre track, at Silverstone, and it was a wet morning so, with the traction systems off, I spent a couple of hours sliding sideways in the 500bhp four-wheel-drive motor. Bliss.
I'll be spending most of this week at my computer, writing a couple of features for a couple of car magazines. And I'll also be hosting an evening for Rolls Royce, which is a great honour.
I have a Jaguar XF 3.0-litre diesel to play with this week, which is one of the best-looking models to come from the manufacturer in a long time, so I'm looking forward to putting some miles on its clock.
As ever, enjoy the week.
DECEMBER 7th 2009
I love Christmas and have been rushing around getting the tree up and the fairy lights twinkling!
On a more motoring note, I am driving a couple of interesting cars this week - the Porsche Panamera Turbo which is a 500bhp supercar, with limousine space, for £95,000. I'm filming it for Fifth Gear Web TV and even though I drove one a couple of months ago, it was so impressive that I can't wait to do it again.
The second car is VW Golf GTi's latest rival - the Mazda 3 MPS (Mazda Performance Series). It costs £21,500 so is cheaper than the VW, and it's more powerful too. I'm also filming that for Fifth Gear Web TV and will be making a podcast about it for my fortnightly pods.
Have a fabulous festive week.
NOVEMBER 30th 2009
The latest fortnightly issue of Fifth Gear Web TV is now available and it features my Ferrari F430 race from Brands Hatch.
Please have a look at the following address - my race starts just before the 8-minute mark, if you are squeezed for time!
I went to Frankfurt last week to drive the Honda FCX Clarity - a four-door family car that's powered by hydrogen, so its only emission is water. It will travel for 270 miles between fill-ups, which is at least four times that of an electric-car. It's surprisingly swift off the mark, and I thought the technology and execution of it was amazing. And even though it's not as involving to drive as a BMW 3-series, I was seriously impressed. You can see my exploits in the next Fifth Gear Web TV issue, in a couple of weeks.
I also went to the International Motorcycle and Scooter Show at Birmingham's NEC last week, to help launch a 'win-a-bike' initiative for the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists). I am working with the IAM to help make drivers and riders enhance their skills and be better and more confident, which is something I have been passionate about for a long time.
And lastly, I have written for a couple of magazines - Auto Italia magazine (issue 165), and Country and Town House (January 2010 issue) - both of which will be in very good shops by the end of this week!
Have a terrific seven days!
NOVEMBER 23rd 2009
I tested the smallest racing car I've ever driven at the weekend at Brands Hatch - a Fiat 500 Abarth. It is one of about twenty cars that will form a brand new one-make racing series next year, called Trofeo Abarth 500 GB. The car is owned by Fiat and Nissan dealership, Glyn Hopkin, which also has an Abarth dealership in Romford, and with any luck it will be the car that I will race for the whole season!
I raced a Ferrari F430 last month in the GT Cup series, and the half hour TV race coverage is on Motors TV this week - Monday 23rd at 10.20pm, Tuesday 24th at 1.30pm and 5.25pm. In the two 25-minute races I finished 2nd and 3rd in Class.
I'm driving the Honda FCX Clarity hydrogen-powered car this week for Fifth Gear Web TV, which I'm really looking forward to.
Enjoy your week.
NOVEMBER 16th 2009
Thank you for taking the time to visit me at my new website.
This week sees the launch of Jeremy Clarkson's annual Christmas DVD in which I make an appearance. Mr C invited me to race a Ferrari California against him in an Aston Martin DBS, at Silverstone, which we filmed in the Summer. I didn't stop grinning as I tore through a set of rear tyres in the Fezza, whilst Jezza did a good job slinging the DBS sideways in an effort to win. I am probably contractually obliged to let you know it's in all good shops now...
Hope you have a great week.
NOVEMBER 9th 2009
A very warm welcome to my website which I'm delighted to launch this week!
It comes after a hectic weekend when I was competing at Brands Hatch in the UK's only racing Honda NSX. It was the car's first race, and the owner, David Fenn, and I shared the 90 minute race to cross the finish line in 2nd place in our Class, and 7th overall in the Britcar Production series. It was hard work - with no power steering and a road-going gearbox - but great fun.
And earlier this month I finally raced a Ferrari - having wanted to do so since I was 12 years old. It was a F430 Challenge car but with a massive carbonfibre rear spoiler and front splitter. My Fox Motorsport-owned car was being run by the fabulous FF Corse team, and I finished 2nd in Class in my first race, and 3rd in the following 25-minute race. Two trophies! A dream come true! Pictures are on my Gallery page and I'm sourcing some on-board footage and will put that on my Video section ASAP.