April and May have been two very exciting months here at GMD.
On the 22nd April Shell launched Project M, the vehicle was unveiled in Beijing with the support of our Design Director - Andy Jones, and the team at GMD. The global response has been fascinating.The results from the programme tests have once again shown the value of light-weighting in all the cars we drive and also the importance of taking into account the full life cycle energy consumption of a vehicle and not just the tail pipe emissions.
The Shell car bettered a modern hybrid by 32% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to a typical hybrid during NEDC test and fuel consumption of 107 miles per UK gallon (38km/ltr), at a constant 70kph.
For me personally, the project has been great fun - working together with my friend Osamu Goto once again - Osamu was head of Honda Engines in the successful McLaren Honda period of the 1980's with our drivers Senna and Prost.
As I have mentioned before, I have a long history with Shell dating back to 1967 when I had minor sponsorship from Shell SA during the 2 seasons I raced IGM T.1, my own sports car in South Africa.
The other exciting news was the recent unveiling at the London Motor Show on 5th May, working with Les Edgar and his team at TVR on the first ‘physical’ public showing of the new car. As we’re in the process of finalising the aerodynamics and styling, TVR could only show a full size model under a tight cover alongside a profile of the car and teaser tape drawing of the 'new face' of the brand, but I hope it gave visitors a good feel of both the size and proportions of the car. I am very proud of the engineering and styling teams here at GMD. It was amazing to watch Kevin Richards – Creative Director and the creative team in the styling studio producing the tape drawing video (available to view on our website, under News – TVR). I have never seen this done before - what a fantastic talent!
The response from having been at the show and the feedback that we’ve received following the unveiling has been utterly overwhelming. The team at GMD are very passionate about the TVR programme, but what is extraordinary is just how much interest the brand generates within the automotive community. There will be lots more to follow on the design, so please continue to watch this space.
On a final note, I had mixed feelings for the Mercedes team whilst watching last weekend's race in Spain. I felt sorry for them when both cars were 'taken out' as I had a similar experience when Ayton Senna was taken out by a back marker at Monza in 1988 which resulted in our only failure to win in the entire season. The other half of me thought that there is hope for my record of ‘most number of wins in a season’ to remain should Mercedes get beaten in one more race!