Motoring news: Nissan's concept car; David Williams; rally driving; an innovative Mazda

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The Independent Online

Nissan has come up with a radical, bound-to-be-controversial concept car that puts the fun back into driving - even if you're sitting still!

The Urge is a minimalist, aluminium-based sports car that was first exhibited at the Detroit Motor Show in January this year. Stripped down and lacking in the mod cons of many modern sports cars, the Urge should appeal to the street-racing generation and even motorbike fans. But the real hook with this car isn't the scissor doors or the F1-style steering wheel - or even the docking station for your MP3 player. This car can be turned into a full-size gaming machine. Seriously.

The boot houses an Xbox 360. You just park the car, disengage the controls and switch the Urge into "Game mode". Flip down a screen from the rear-view mirror, and the pedals and steering wheel become your game controls. The car's stereo system pumps out the game's driving sounds. Nissan have even thrown in an exclusive demo version of Project Gotham Racing 3. Wow. We want that car.

RALLYING CALL FOR YOUNG JOURNALISTS

A new award has been launched in memory of David Williams, the former rallies editor of Motorsport News who died unexpectedly in August last year. It provides an opportunity for up-and-coming journalists under the age of 23 to make their mark in the exciting world of motorsport journalism.

The award has the backing of many leading names in the fields of journalism and international rallying, including David Richards of Prodrive, former boss of BAR and the family of David Williams, who started his career with Motorsport News straight from college in the mid-1980s.

The challenge for entrants is to write a short piece on rallying that will highlight their potential to establish a career as a motorsport journalist. The reward is an opportunity to get the inside track on the World Rally Championship and a potential future career.

Full details of the David Williams Award are available through the www.wrc.com website, with a deadline for submission of the end of August 2006.

LIKE FATHER LIKE SON

Bet you'd love to get into rally driving. Not for the faint-hearted though - do you fancy driving at 100mph-plus while avoiding trees, ditches and (gulp) ravines by inches?

Matthew Wilson, who only turned 19 in January, does just that, competing in the World Rally Championship, the pinnacle of his sport. And it's a remarkable rise to the top as it's only three years since he first sat alongside his father Malcolm as a co-driver - a year after that he was behind the wheel himself. Rallying is clearly in Wilson's blood: His father competed in 45 WRC events between 1977 and 1995.

Matthew's career was given a boost in 2005 when he was selected to be part of the MSA British Rally Elite Scheme - making him one of only six young drivers and co-drivers chosen to participate. They receive training in areas such as sport psychology and media skills, as well as driver training - there's more to rally driving than just racing down a forest road! Look out for Matthew in 2006 in the WRC driving for the Stobart VK M-Sport team. He's the one in the Ford Focus - and no, not like the one your mum and dad drive!

www.stobartmotorsport.com

SOLED OUT

The new Kabura by Mazda combines existing technology with new ideas. It has an innovative 3 + 1 seating layout, with one small seat behind the driver, but a full-sized rear behind the passenger seat. But perhaps most interesting is what these strangely located seats are made of: the interior is produced from recycled waste, most of which comes from the production of Nike trainers... Weird, huh?

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