Jaguars will race again at the Le Mans Classic 2018…


The spectacular Le Mans Classic event features on the international 2018 Jaguar Classic Challenge calendar for pre-1966 Jaguar cars, and that is good news for all the Jag enthusiasts.

This Jaguar Classic Challenge returns for its fourth consecutive season, giving owners of pre-1966 race-prepared Jaguar C-types, D-types, E-types, XKs and saloons the opportunity to compete in five 55-60-minute races at prestigious race weekends across the UK and Europe.

Jaguar Le Mans Classic 2016 7th-10th July 2016 World Copyright: Nick Dungan/Patrick Gosling/Beadyeye Ref: JAGUAR-LEMANS-CLASSIC-2016-PG-1295.CR2
Jaguar Le Mans Classic 2016
7th-10th July 2016

The biennial Le Mans Classic event, held on the iconic Circuit de la Sarthe in France – which is where Jaguar scored seven 24-hour race wins between 1951 and 1990 – joins the calendar for 2018, alongside the UK-based Donington Historic Festival, Silverstone International Trophy and Oulton Park Gold Cup, plus the Spa Six Hours in Belgium.

The return to Le Mans Classic on 6-8 July is especially poignant as 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of the Jaguar XJR-9 LM’s win at the 24-hour race. Current Jaguar Classic Chief Test Driver Andy Wallace took victory in 1988 alongside Jan Lammers and Johnny Dumfries.


A look at the Jaguar Classic Challenge calendar shows the following dates: 4-6 May: Donington Historic Festival, Leicestershire, 16-17 June: HSCC Silverstone International Trophy, Northamptonshire,


6-8 July: Le Mans Classic, Circuit de la Sarthe, France, 25-27 August: The HSCC Oulton Park Gold Cup, Cheshire and last but not least 14-16 September: Spa Six Hours, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

When I fell in love with Jaguar…


This is where it all began: as a teenager, I stood eye to eye with the Jaguar D Type at the speed trials in Brecht… 

The announcement of this years’ presence again of Jaguar Classic at the Le Mans Classic 2018 – just read soon our following report in these columns – made me think back to the time when I grew fond of these feline cars. As a teenager, I devoured the British car magazines, and read everything about the powerful post war Jaguars with their fantastic XK six cylinder engine. I still adore this classic, double overhead cam six, with hemispheric combustion chambers and of course crossflow cylinder head.

With my father, I attended in those days the flying – or standing – I do not remember exactly anymore – kilometer speed trials in Brecht, near Antwerp. I stood there eye to eye – as the photo shows – with a D Type. Here, the growling XK was fed by a battery of three double Webers and had dry sump lubrication.

The styling, the shape, the curves, the sound, the speed, it was all fantastic to me and I felt this was all “just right”.

Also the road holding and overall handling was just fantastic, and that this car had the latest technical miracle, disk brakes. Looking at the chassis and suspension, this D type was so much ahead of its time, sporting an ideal weight distribution and aerodynamics. But what seduced me also greatly was the fact that the engine, gearbox, the very heart of the car, stemmed from the series production Jaguars, with that XK engine, with its typical beautiful growl, mated with the very same Moss gearbox which was also found in the Jaguar sports and saloon cars of the day, with the typical whine of the long first gear when they accelerated away.

That was and is Jaguar to me, and still is for me today, as a happy owner of the Mk II Type S, which has the Jaguar E type independent rear suspension and the rear styling reminiscent of the fantastic Mark 10. This was actually the first car I bought when I started to earn money professionally.

I recently rediscovered the Ektachrome slide which my father took of me with his 2.8 Rolleiflex. At the time when I first fell in love with these cars, and rest assured, I am still bitten today…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Lexus design event at the 2018 Milan Design Week: focusing on limitless co-existence



The rays representing each individual form a magnificent “together”, underlining the philosophy of limitless “co”existence…

The Milan Design week, held until 22nd of April, holds also a remarkable event from Lexus, in the framework of their annual Lexus Design Award in Milan. The venue is at CAVALLERIZZE, the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e dellaTecnologia Leonardo da Vinci Via Olona, 6, 20123 Milano MI, Italy.


The exhibits are “CO-” created by featured designers, actually the 12 finalist designs of the Lexus Design Award 2018 (4 prototypes and 8 panel displays). The visitor is taken on a unique experience trip through the building to evoke “Co”togetherness and community…

Just read further…

Continue reading “Lexus design event at the 2018 Milan Design Week: focusing on limitless co-existence”

The Z Story continues – images of an exhibition


Early this year BMW Belux organized a remarkable exhibition in its BMW Brand Store in Brussels.


It was the 11th edition of the BMW Art & Design Sessions, and this time it focused on the iconic roadster age which changed automotive history forever since 1955.


The show was close to breathtaking with on display the very exclusive BMW 507, a pristine Z1, (see photo here above)


a BMW Z3, a Z4 cabrio and coupé, and last but not least a BMW Z8 (well known from the James Bond films).


Of course, one looked also to the future, with an exclusive presentation of the BMW Concept Z4.


We just let you admire our photos here…

Art and design in the BMW Brand Store

Just a few words more about this Brussels BMW Brand Store, situated at the Boulevard de Waterloo. It started life as an Experience Center of the German premium brand, and on January 21 2015 this BMW Brand Store launched the concept ‘Art & Design Sessions’.


Within this concept, an artist or designer presents his work and meets invited people in an exclusive event. The Antwerp photographer Marc Lagrange, designer Xavier Lust, artists Yann Guitton and Hervé Poulain, Nicolas Destino and last but not least iconic photographer Terry O’Neill filled the first editions of the Art & Design Sessions in the BMW Brand Store.


Just for the record, Hervé Poulain is the retired French racing driver and professional auctioneer who instigated the BMW Art Project, where artists could use BMW automobiles as their canvas. In 1975 he commissioned Alexander Calder to paint the first BMW Art Car…

As said, enjoy my photos!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We added a Nikon 5600 to our camera stable…


Looking for improved DSLR connectivity with a smartphone, and still having that trusted Nikon image quality, we opted lately for the Nikon 5600. We did not have yet a DSLR with a moveable screen to enable selfie videos for vlogging, so this was also a good reason to have a go here. It came with a Nikon 18-140 mm lens, which makes it also very versatile. With the 1,5 focal length multiplier, this actually boils down to 27-210 mm.

Here follows our story of unpacking and the first weeks of use…

Hans Knol ten Bensel


Compact body

What we liked first was the compactness of the body, and the nice “feel” of the grip.  Nikon has nevertheless found room for a 3.2″ touchscreen. This screen comes in quite handy when shooting with your right eye, as the right-hand side of the rear LCD can be swiped to position the initial AF point. It’s got a good autofocus system (39 points) which performs wonderfully in terms of simply being given a target and then left to the job of keeping that subject in focus.


Excellent images

Of course, Nikon excellence also comes with the 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor, giving also lively and quite good images, also in JPEG format.

It has also 1080/60p video capability, and what’s more, a time-lapse movie feature.

Of course, one of the good features of a DSLR is its battery stamina: it will “take” 970 images on a full battery charge.


As said, the camera featurs SnapBridge, which is primarily a Bluetooth-based system which uses a low-energy connection to stay connected to your smart device and to transfer images. Although the camera is Wi-Fi capable, that capability is used solely for remote live view operation and video transfer. It works well, as long as you stay in the 2 MP format which is suitable for instance for Facebook use.

The first shots are taken, and results can be seen for instance on the photos of the VW T-Roc. We are quite pleased with the punchy images!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Masters of the automobile: Roberto Giolito


We met Roberto Giolito at the presentation of FCA Heritage at the Rétromobile Show in Paris lately. You can read our report about this presentation and the FCA heritage activities in these columns. Here we focus on the man behind it all, who started in high school as a jazz bass player…and brush him here a short portrait.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “Masters of the automobile: Roberto Giolito”

Volvo wins international prizes with its XC60 and XC40…

Volvo XC60 wins World Car Of The Year 2018
Volvo XC60 wins World Car Of The Year 2018…

The new Volvo XC60 midsize SUV has been named World Car of the Year 2018 at the New York Auto Show, and it also scooped the prestigious North American Utility of the Year Award earlier this year, while the XC40 small SUV was named European Car of the Year at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month.

The World Car of the Year win is the first in this competition for Volvo Cars, and you can understand that this brought some very smiling faces…

XC60 T8 Inscription
The powerful XC60 T8 Inscription…delivering 407hp and acceleration from 0-100 km in just 5.3 seconds.

These two accolades come hot on the heels of Mr Samuelsson’s World Car Person of the Year recognition, awarded by the same panel of international media in Geneva earlier this month. Mr Samuelsson was given this inaugural award in recognition of his work in driving the success of Volvo Cars in recent years.

Volvo Car Group President & CEO Håkan Samuelsson at the European Car of the Year award ceremony
Volvo Car Group President & CEO Håkan Samuelsson proudly posing with the coveted prize at the European Car of the Year award ceremony.

The 2018 European Car of the Year award for the XC40 follows other recent recognition, including the Car of the Year award by leading UK automotive publication “What Car?”

The XC40 is the first model on Volvo Cars’ new compact modular vehicle architecture (CMA), which will underpin all upcoming cars in the 40 Series, including fully electrified vehicles. Co-developed together with Geely, CMA provides the company with the necessary economies of scale for this segment.

New Volvo XC40 - exterior
New Volvo XC40 has pleasing proportions and will be offered with a wide range of drivetrains.

In 2017, the company announced its commitment to electrify all Volvo Cars launched from 2019. In line with this leadership position in electrification, a hybridised as well as a pure electric powertrain option for the XC40 will be added later.

Hans Knol ten Bensel



We spoke with Robert Irlinger, Senior Vice-President BMWi: “our e-mobility strategy is well underway, and is now one of our core competences”


The BMW Group has been working on its strategy for future (e) mobility for years now. Since 2007, they we have grown to a new level, thanks to their Strategy Number ONE. With this strategy, BMW put its BMW EfficientDynamics technology package and, even more importantly, BMW i on the road. Development on the clever and iconic i3 then started in 2008.

Already back in back in 2010, BMW decided to offer all types of drives in all vehicle segments from the next decade on, and to do so depending on market demands: state-of-the-art, efficient, clean combustion engines; plug-in hybrids starting in 2015; and fully electric, battery-powered drives from 2021 onward.

ACES as strategy in NEXT

ACES as strategy in NEXT…

BMW the revised the strategy in 2016 to – Number ONE > NEXT – and has added new topics, namely digitalization, autonomous driving and the far-reaching rollout of e-mobility.

When BMW started to implement this revised strategy in 2016, they realigned their organizational setup in research & development. In doing so, they focused on two top priorities: Digitalization, which includes the extension of connectivity, the application of artificial intelligence, and the development of autonomously driving premium vehicles. The second priority was Drive technology, with EfficientDynamics NEXT for the combustion engines, and the development of semi- and fully electrified vehicles with battery and fuel cell technologies.

Mix drivetrains

The BMW mix of (future) drivetrains: Battery operated/Plug-in-hybrid, fuel cell and last but not least combustion engine...

The driving force of these numerous trendsetting technologies is iNEXT, which is enabling the entire company and all brands to deal with these issues of the future.

In 2021, when the BMW iNEXT is scheduled to hit the roads, it will have integrated all strategic innovation topics for the mobility of tomorrow.

All the more reason to have a talk on the last Brussels Salon with Robert Irlinger, Senior Vice-President BMWi and Peter Henrich, CEO of BMW Group Belux.

Just read on!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “We spoke with Robert Irlinger, Senior Vice-President BMWi: “our e-mobility strategy is well underway, and is now one of our core competences””

We drove the Skoda Karoq 2.0 TDI 150 HP 4×4 automatic: the Yeti successor gets a classic look…and is better than ever.


When it comes to compact and bigger SUV’s, Skoda has some formidable cards up its sleeve. Its SUV’s all look pleasing and well proportioned, and are strong contenders in their respective segments. For the successor of the Yeti, Skoda opted for more mainstream styling, to win the hearts of ever more followers. It also offers even more room. Our test car came with the trusty two litre diesel engine, cleverly coupled to the 7-speed 4×4 DSG transmission. Clearly showing us again how smooth, powerful and thrifty modern powertrains have become…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “We drove the Skoda Karoq 2.0 TDI 150 HP 4×4 automatic: the Yeti successor gets a classic look…and is better than ever.”

We spoke with Peter Quintus, Sales Manager BMW M GmbH: “we embody a unique driving philosophy”

These are great times for BMW “M” : the BMW M5 has been voted “World Performance Car 2018”, making this the seventh time BMW has received a World Car Award from the organisation “World Car of the Year”.


A good occasion to publish here the interview we had with Peter Quintus (on the left of the photo, and with Peter Henrich, CEO of BMW Group Belux) on the Brussels Car Show early this year…just read further!

Hans Knol ten Bensel Continue reading “We spoke with Peter Quintus, Sales Manager BMW M GmbH: “we embody a unique driving philosophy””