The Steer | May's motoring news and highlights

Key stories from the past month in motoring include the sad passing of F1 legend Niki Lauda, and updates on new electric vehicles from Volkswagen, Vauxhall and even Dyson.

Niki Lauda dies aged 70

This month we learnt of Niki Lauda’s passing.

Niki Lauda, Formula 1 icon, dies aged 70

Lauda, a three-time Formula 1 world champion, passed away on Monday 20th May surrounded by family.

The Austrian driver inspired fans and fellow racers alike after suffering an almost fatal crash at the German GP in 1976, only to return to racing just 40 days later.

Former teammate John Watson said it was “the most courageous act of any sportsman” he’d ever seen.

The Volkswagen ID.3 now on sale

Preorders have now opened on VW’s ID.3, the first in a new line of electric vehicles (EVs) from the manufacturer.

The VW ID.3 is open for preorders

The ID.3 will match the Golf for size and is due to be displayed to the public at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

With 10,000 preorders registered in the first 24 hours, it’s already proving popular and bodes well for the raft of VW EVs that are expected in the next few years.

The first-edition model is expected to have a range of roughly 260 miles, and gets access to a year’s worth of free charging at specified charge points.

Renault break Nurburgring record

The French manufacturer has taken the record for the fastest front-wheel drive production car to lap the Nurburgring.

A time of 7 minutes 40.1 seconds was clocked by the Renault Megane RS Trophy-R – an ever-hotter hatch than the standard RS Trophy.

It’s powered by the same 1.8-litre petrol turbo as the regular version, but comes in 130kg lighter.

It’ll go on sale before the end of the year as an exclusive model, with prices yet to be confirmed.

First look at Dyson’s electric car

Patent filings have given a first look at Dyson’s EV, which’ll be manufactured in Singapore from 2021.

A first look at Dyson's electric car

It seems to be a fairly standard hatchback shape, with five seats across two rows and short overhangs for improved manoeuvrability.

There are currently 400 staff working on the company’s EV program, with that number expected to rise further.

Last year plans were also revealed on a 10-mile test track at the current HQ in Hullavington, before it’s moved to Singapore, taking the overall investment in the project to £200m.

Pigeon saves speeding driver from fine

In the most bizarre of May’s highlights, a pigeon helped a speeding driver avoid prosecution in Germany.

A speeding driver in Germany was saved from prosecution by a pigeon

The car passed a speed camera around 15mph over the limit, but at that exact moment a pigeon also flew by and obscured the driver’s face.

In Viersen, Germany – where the offence took place – the driver would usually be fined €105, but the police force admit they can’t argue against a “hint from above”.

It was also confirmed that the pigeon will skip a fine.

And from the world of Lookers…

Vauxhall reveals the Corsa-e

We’ve gotten first sight of Vauxhall’s latest EV, the Corsa-e that’ll launch the manufacturer’s new electric range.

Vauxhall has revealed the first images of the upcoming Corsa-e EV

The new shape fits in well with the other models in the range, sharing the angular daytime running LEDs and fold that runs down the centre of the bonnet.

Vauxhall claim a top-end range just shy of 300 miles, and the ability to jump from 0-31mph in just over three seconds.

Orders books for the Corsa-e will open this month, June 2019, but you can register your interest with Lookers Vauxhall now.

Charity trek reaches halfway stage at Charles Hurst

Brian Burnie, founder of Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care, has reached the halfway point of a 7,000-mile hike around the UK and Ireland.

Charles Hurst Nissan in Belfast, part of the Lookers family, welcomed Brian Burnie at the halfway stage of his fundraising trek

The milestone was marked at Charles Hurst Nissan in Belfast, part of the Lookers family.

The trek will raise funds for the charity, which is currently ran from Gosforth, Newcastle, but could branch out across Great Britain and Ireland in future.

Lookers provided the 30 fleet vehicles that the charity uses to transport patients to the RVI and Freeman hospitals in Newcastle, along with a Nissan Navara support vehicle for the fundraising journey. Find out more about the charity here.

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