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Life as a Young Motoring Journalist

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Mazda MX-5 treeFor those who don’t know, my name is Tyler Heatley, the Editor-in-Chief of this humble motoring journal. I love all things on four wheels. Well, I’d be in the wrong occupation if I didn’t… Ever since I was a child sitting in my neighbours old Jaguar XJ, my fascination with cars has only ever grown. How they work, what they can do, and once I passed my driving test, how they drove out on the open road. I had driven a fair amount on racetracks and through young driver events from age 14 onwards, plenty of karting before that, but to have the keys to a car and the ability drive freely is what motoring is all about. I knew that my choice career, even as a teenager, was to be a motoring journalist. But being a young guy who knew a lot about cars was never going to be enough to land me my dream job. Shortly after my 17th Birthday I decided that if nobody was going to give me this job, I would go it alone. I set up my own website and wrote about motor shows and what I Toyota GT86 TRDthought of these fabled creatures unveiled from beneath silk covers. You folks on the internet seemed interested and so the website grew. After passing my driving test I tried my luck at local dealerships asking for test drives. Every now and then a salesman indulged me and my enthusiasm. The actual car manufacturers started to catch wind of Inside Lane and one day I received an E-Mail asking if I would like to attend a car launch abroad. Since then things have snowballed into borrowing press cars weekly and being lucky enough to be amongst the first to drive new cars from a multitude of segments. In many respects it is the realisation of a dream. But what is life really like as a young motoring journalist?

Overall it is a fantastic lifestyle to lead. I have always been told that “if you do a job you love, you never have to work a day in your life.” That line sits very close to my heart. However, it’s not all jetting off to foreign lands and driving shiny motors. As I am sure every motoring journalist will tell you, it takes a lot of dedication and hard work with many hours lost to your computer screen. Often you have to sacrifice being social with friends or family in order to maintain the high standards you must set yourself. As someone who is currently 22 and loves spending time with my mates, that is something I find very difficult. Long hours and not brilliant amounts of pay, but then none of us do this job for money. We do it because of our passion for writing and driving.

Some of the unsung heroes of the automotive world are the manufacturer’s PR teams. These ever helpful men and women arrange everything from insurance for car loans to travel arrangements for our trips around the world. With my age sometimes restricting what I can drive, due to insurance directives, the PR’s have always lent me a helping hand in getting the keys to what I could. After turning 21 I have found more doors open to manufactures who’s insurance will only cover drivers 21 and over. Us journalists are always very well looked after and so I’d just like to take a moment to thank all of those people from PR.

On launch events, driving something very few others have is always exciting, but these days are non-stop. Up before the sun rises to catch a flight, to bed late after tapping away at the keyboard. These long days might be tiering, but they are one of the highlights of this job. Deducing what a car has to offer during the day and meeting some of the worlds most interesting people over dinner in the early evening, what’s not to love?

Having a car on loan, usually for a week, allows you to grow your understanding of what it has to offer. It is our opportunity to deliver a insight into what living with the product is like, something prospective buyers value. We get a good mix of BMW M235i wheelcars from estates, SUVs and hatchbacks to sports cars and beyond. It’s great getting the keys to a car you have been looking forward to for weeks because other journalist will have told you little bits and bobs about it, but to drive it for yourself makes me childishly excited. Having good contacts is key and proving that you are worth the investment in time and money to a car manufacturer is all important. Obviously these things come with time. A few games I enjoy playing with friends in press cars include; “how long before they notice I’ve turned their heated seat on?” and “where the hell is the fuel filler cap release?”

It can be exhausting, frustrating, infinitely time consuming and lonely. But my god, the pros outweigh the cons and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love this job more than I ever have done and my passion for this industry has only grown with time.

Hopefully this little article has given you a bit of an insight into what life as a young motoring journalist is like.

1 COMMENT

  1. I'd love to be able to follow this career path. However I just don't have the money or ability to be able to travel to every car show or enough people following me on the internet to be cheeky enough to go and ask dealers for test drives.
    It would be a dream to do this though, even with all the hard work included!

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