Racing drivers compete for MPG Marathon title
Three-time British Touring Car Champion, Matt Neal, a member of the 2014 Honda Yuasa Racing Team, has confirmed that he will be taking part in this year’s event, on Wednesday 8th October and Thursday 9th October.
He will be behind the wheel of a Honda Civic 1.6 litre diesel Tourer, a far cry from the super-charged racing version he is used to, when his co-driver will be team-mate and 2012 BTCC champion, Gordon Shedden. Both will have to rein in their natural tendencies as they attempt to win the most coveted eco-driving title in the country.
The two Honda BTCC stars will be competing against two more teams which can boast racing champions in their own right.
Ford racing driver, Louise Richardson, star of the family-run Richardson Racing team, will be taking part for the first time with co-driver, and up-and-coming racing star, Harrison Scott.
Louise, 21, is the first female racer of an EcoBoost Formula Ford car, while 18-year old Falcon Motorsport driver Harrison is current leader of the 2014 Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship with a 17-point advantage.
The pair will be driving a new Ford Fiesta ST-3 1.6 litre EcoBoost with 182PS on tap and a 0-62mph time of just 6.9 seconds.
The two teams of current racing drivers will be joined by former rally star, Andy Dawson, who will be again participating with long time co-driver and motorsports journalist, Andrew Marriott.
The pair will be driving a new Ford Focus ST-3 2.0T 250PS five door model which has a 0-62mph time of just 6.5 seconds. They will be hoping to repeat their 2012 triumph when they beat the 100mpg barrier for the first time in a Ford Fiesta ECOnetic 1.6 TDCi.
All three teams will be hoping that they can wrest the prestigious title away from the reigning MPG Marathon champions, Nick Chapman and Rosemary Homer from Leicestershire County Council, who have confirmed they are to defend the crown they won in last year’s event.
Chapman and Homer, who achieved an average of 88.69mpg last year, drove a Ford Fiesta ECOnetic 1.6 diesel-engined Titanium model, and out-performed the field of 23 other vehicles with a dazzling array of lean-driving skills.
They will now be trying to retain their hard-won title – a feat which has only been achieved once before.
Event organiser, Ross Durkin, said: “We are delighted to see such an array of motor racing stars at this year’s MPG Marathon, and it will be fascinating to see if these ultra-quick racing drivers can curb their natural instincts in trying to use as little fuel as possible over the two-day event.
“Eco-driving and lean driving techniques have been shown to cut fuel costs by up to 10% and generate six-figure savings on a fleet of several hundred cars. It will be interesting to see if our racing stars can apply the same techniques over the duration of this year’s event,” he said.
This year’s MPG Marathon is being sponsored by ALD Automotive and organized by Fleet World magazine and has again attracted a huge amount of interest.
The event is again open to fleet managers, representatives from fleet services, contract hire and leasing and fleet management companies, and from the motor industry, plus anyone associated with it.
The 2014 MPG Marathon, the 14th to date, will be based at the luxurious Cotswold Water Park Four Pillars Hotel, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire.
This year’s 360-mile route begins at Cirencester and takes in the Brecon Beacons in Wales plus a number of points in between, but contestants are allowed to plan their own routes, provided they include a number of pre-agreed, fixed points, which make keen navigational skills vital.
For the first time this year, electric and hybrid vehicles are being included in three new classes: for pure electric vehicles, for range extenders and for plug-in hybrids.
They will be joining the more familiar diesel and petrol engined cars and vans that traditionally take part in the event.
There are eight main classes of passenger cars and vans, restricted to a maximum carbon ceiling of 190g/km, and five classes of light commercial vehicles, which will not have a carbon ceiling.
This year’s course will again have a minimum, straight-line distance of around 360 miles in total, and all cars will again be fitted with TRACKER tracking equipment so that organisers will know exactly where each car has been and how far it has travelled.
For more details of the MPG Marathon please phone 01727 739160, or visit the event website at http://www.thempgmarathon.co.uk/