Drive

Leading automotive editorial brand launches a new automotive lifestyle TV show

Drive, a leader in Australian automotive editorial and content for over 25 years, has launched an all-new TV series. The half-hour show commenced in January and brings entertaining and informative car content to TV to meet Australian’s love of great drives and great cars.

CEO of Drive Simon Halfhide made the announcement of the new TV series as Drive completed its annual Upfront presentations to the automotive industry at the end of 2021.

“The Drive TV series is automotive storytelling at its absolute best, showcasing what’s next in all things cars and the automotive topics Australian consumers should be thinking about today” said CEO Simon Halfhide.

Cars will be put to the test in a variety of environments and engaging stories that visualise Australian’s love for a great Drive, meeting interesting locals, and discovering new adventures when on the road.

The new program, simply named DRIVE, has been created to appeal to all types of Drivers, from the most passionate enthusiast to the everyday adventure seeker and is now being broadcast on Channel 9, 9Rush, and 9Now.

The series will be hosted by Drive’s industry experts and journalists including James Ward, Trent Nikolic, Susannah Guthrie, and Emma Notarfrancesco. The team’s experience, passion, and energy are central to its success, said Drive’s Director of Content James Ward.

“Our amazingly talented journalists draw on decades of local and international automotive industry knowledge and experience to deliver their insights and advice through a highly-relatable consumer lens. There are so many cars and categories on offer to consumers today so the TV show will highlight their unique personalities and benefits to Drivers.

Drive has a long history of producing authoritative car commentary, imagery, and video content. The new TV format allows the brand to showcase this expertise to a wider market and push their production capabilities even further to deliver visually stunning and creative content for Australian Drivers.

“We are thrilled to see the Drive brand on the 9Network in 2022,” said Simon Halfhide, CEO of Drive. “This is the next stage of our long-term evolution which sees Drive give auto brands access to our unique media ecosystem across online, print, radio and now television.”

Executive Producer Terry King agrees, saying: “The TV opportunity for Drive creates an amazing platform to broaden the reach and appeal of our industry-leading content. We all research and consume content in different ways and not everyone wants to read a written review. Today’s car researchers expect content to be available on every platform and format”

“The past 12 months have been transformational for the relaunched Drive brand. We’re on a strategic journey that continues to accelerate Drive’s market-leading automotive commentary, comparison, and commerce and ensures it is at the heart of everything we do” said Halfhide.

Episode 2 is on Sunday 16 January

The first episodes of DRIVE aired on Channel 9, 9Rush, and 9Now on January 9, 2022.

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Drive is on Nine at 10am Sundays, while Sports Sunday takes a break.

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KIA Sportage named the 2022 Drive Car of the Year

A Kia SUV has beaten an all-electric Hyundai and a hybrid Toyota family SUV to win Australia’s most coveted new car accolade, the Drive Car of the Year overall award.

The Drive Car of the Year awards, now in their 16th year, shines the spotlight on the best vehicle in each of 20 consumer-focused new car categories.

The categories include Best Small Car, Best Medium SUV, Best Dual-Cab Ute, Best Hot Hatch and Best Value Car, plus 15 others, all tailored to help Australian consumers buy smarter.

From those 20 winners, one car is crowned the best of the best, the Drive Car of the Year overall winner. The vehicle that wins this ultimate prize is the one the judges believe makes the most significant automotive advances that will impact more Australian new car consumers.

In 2022, the Drive Car of the Year overall winner is the Kia Sportage.

Judges found that the Kia Sportage Medium SUV sets new benchmarks for safety, technology, refinement and affordability, and it does so in the most competitive and most popular new car segment in Australia.

With eleven affordably-priced variants kicking off with the Sport S at $32,445 and stretching to $52,370 for the highly-equipped Sportage GT-Line, there’s a Sportage to suit all Medium SUV needs and budgets.

All Kia Sportage variants are equipped with class-leading safety features to keep occupants and other road users as safe as possible.

The Kia Sportage’s interior style, space and refinement elevated the new Kia beyond many of its rivals and combined with class-leading safety and driving dynamics tuned specially for Australian conditions to make the Sportage the standout choice in the medium SUV class.

Then there’s the peace of mind of Kia’s seven-year warranty, which is one of the longest new car warranties in Australia.

All this and the Sportage’s strong value equation combined to elevate it beyond its two main rivals for the Drive Car of the Year overall award, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Toyota Kluger family SUV.

“This is the second year in a row that Kia has taken our top prize,” said Drive’s Director of Content James Ward. “Last year it was the Kia Sorento large SUV, and this year it’s the Sorento’s all-new little brother.”

“Back-to-back wins are testament to the incredible leaps in quality, style, driving engagement and value that Kia’s new-generation vehicles are making”.

“Thank you to Drive for recognising the all-new Sportage as the outstanding package that it is; offering an innovative, sophisticated and let’s not forget localised, medium SUV choice to buyers in an increasingly competitive segment,” said Kia Australia’s Chief Operating Office, Damien Meredith.

“To win Drive’s overall Car of the Year title for a second consecutive year, following all-new Sorento taking out the honours in 2021, is humbling and the Kia family couldn’t be happier with this achievement.”

Drive CEO, Simon Halfhide said “The past 12 months have seen the automotive industry deal with unprecedented change, including supply shortages due to global COVID-19 disruptions impacting semiconductor chips, shipping delays, and advancements in alternative fuel and Electric Vehicle technology. However, in the face of such adversity, the Australian new car market has taken huge leaps forward, delivering world-class cars to new car buyers at affordable prices.”

This year marks the 16th running of the Drive Car of the Year awards. Drive’s dedicated team of automotive experts tested more than 80 cars across 20 categories during three evaluation weeks. In all, judges covered more than 20,000km in their exhaustive sear5ch for Australia’s best cars.

Vehicles are judged against an established set of criteria that mirror Australian consumer expectations. These include technology, comfort, safety, ongoing running costs, design, performance and handling.

“There’s no other judging process that’s as thorough or judging panel with this much expertise,” said Drive’s Head of Content, Glenn Butler. “Drive Car of the Year is the most comprehensive and most relevant awards in Australia.”

The full list of categories and winners of the 2022 Drive Car of the Year are:

2022 Drive Car of the Year: KIA Sportage

2022 Drive Car of the Year Category winners:

  1. Best Light SUV – Ford Puma
  2. Best Dual-Cab Ute – Dual winners: Isuzu D-Max 4×4 and Mazda BT-50 4×4
  3. Best Small Car – Volkswagen Golf
  4. Best Medium Luxury Car – BMW 3 Series
  5. Best Hot Hatch – Hyundai i30 N
  6. Best Small Luxury SUV – Volvo XC40
  7. Best People Mover – Kia Carnival
  8. Best Upper Large SUV – Land Rover Defender 110
  9. Best Large Off-Road SUV – Ford Everest
  10. Best Off-Road Dual-Cab Ute – Ford Ranger Raptor
  11. Best Medium Luxury SUV – Jaguar F-Pace
  12. Best Sports Coupe – Ford Mustang V8
  13. Best Electric Vehicle Under $100,000 – Hyundai Ioniq 5
  14. Best Large SUV – Toyota Kluger
  15. Best Electric Vehicle Over $100,000 – Porsche Taycan
  16. Best Small SUV – Skoda Kamiq
  17. Best First Car – Toyota Corolla SX Auto
  18. Best Medium SUV – Kia Sportage
  19. Best Value Car – Kia Cerato S
  20. Best Medium to Large Car – Skoda Octavia

For more information about the Drive Car of the Year program see: Drive Car of the Year New Car Awards - Drive

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The team at Drive – leaders in automotive journalism and independent reviews – has joined forces with 9Podcasts to launch the brand new Drive Motoring News podcast.

The first three episodes of Drive Motoring News are available now, with new episodes released every Tuesday, wherever you get your podcasts.

Drive TV special to help prime Aussies on electric vehicles

Australia’s leading automotive news and reviews website Drive.com.au will air a television special on Channel 9 this weekend to help educate and inspire Australians on the benefits of electric vehicles (EVs).

The program ‘Drive Electric’ is hosted by the trusted Drive team of Trent Nikolic, and Emma Notarfrancesco, as they share the basics of EVs, including the types of cars, how to charge at home and on the road, as well as some of the unique challenges presented by Australia’s size and distance.

The team will also be joined by special guests Catherine King, Minister Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development; Tim Washington, CEO of JET Charge and Chargefox and Chair of EV Council; Scott Nargar, Hyundai Senior Manager of Future Mobility & Government Relations and Co-Founder and Director of the Australian Hydrogen Council; Paul Samson, Executive Director of the Volkswagen Group Australia; and Joshua Cunningham, Strategic Fuels & Mobility Marketing Manager at BP.

The information will also be published in a special eight page liftout in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age this weekend (15-16 October).

Presenter and Drive’s Director of Content, James Ward says: “EVs represent the biggest change to everyday transport since we swapped horses for horsepower – they’re fast, silent and cost efficient to run – but these are still early days, and there is plenty for Australians to learn and some barriers to still overcome.”

“The special program ‘Drive Electric’ has been created with Aussie drivers in mind. If you’re considering going electric for your next car, or even your next, next car, you need to think of what type will you choose, where and how will you charge it, and how can you get the most benefits and value for your whole family.

“Our goal was to help take the hassle out of the research process, and have sought out leading industry experts to share their knowledge on the journey to electrification, and what the future may look like for Australian drivers”, said Ward.

The future of motoring is happening right now, so plug-in with Drive as they get Australians ready for an electric future.

Drive Electric airs at 3pm this Sunday 16 October on Channel 9.

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Drive gets behind the wheel with Dylan Alcott on the ‘Road to the Australian Open’

The ‘Road to the Open’, Drive TV episode featuring Kia ambassador Dylan Alcott will air on the 9Network this Sunday 29 January in the lead up to the 2023 Australian Open Men’s Singles Final.

Ahead of the start of its fourth season, this special episode of Drive TV sees host Emma Notarfrancesco get behind the wheel with Australian of the Year 2022 and winner of 23 Grand Slam titles, Dylan Alcott AO.

A proud Kia ambassador, Dylan shares with the audience the road to his success. Including taking viewers back to where it all began serving up a few expert tips to show host Emma along the way. As well as sharing his favourite Melbourne coffee spot and why ‘the North’ is his place of choice.

Dylan also provides insights into how he drives and the role automotive manufacturers, like Kia, can play.

“I drive with my hands, is that wigging you out? It’s a bit like playing play-station,” says Dylan during the episode.

Drive’s Director of Content, James Ward says, “Dylan is a natural talent – both on the court and in front of the camera. Producing content pieces such as this with Kia Australia allows us to demonstrate the technology and features of a vehicle and bring it to life in a meaningful way.”

This Drive TV Production is the latest extension to Drive’s broadcast suite of content products. “This first project with Kia Australia is ultimately a human story”, said Drive’s Executive Producer Terry King. “Dylan is an inspiring individual and a respected brand ambassador. Collaborating with brands and their ambassadors in this way produces genuine and engaging content.”

Kia’s General Manager of Marketing Dean Norbiato agrees. “Dylan is such an inspiring Australian. Drive has done a cracking job in celebrating our relationship with Dylan, the Australian Open and one of our most exciting vehicles, the fully electric Kia EV6.

Drive TV launched in 2022 and is broadcast weekly on 9Network. Season four returns to air February 2023. To view previous episodes, please visit: Drive TV - Drive

Drive presents ‘The Road to the Open: with Dylan Alcott’ on 9Network this Sunday 29 January at 1.30pm AEDT, 12.30pm AEST, 1.00pm ACsT, and 2.30pm AWST.

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We’re charged up and ready to go – Drive TV returns on Channel 9 and 9Now this Sunday, February 19

Drive TV returns for a fourth season at 11:00am this Sunday, February 19 on Channel 9 and 9Now with all ten episodes dedicated to electric vehicles.

Drive TV hosts Trent Nikolic and Emma Notarfrancesco take viewers on an electric journey delving deeper into the vehicle’s performance and technology whilst exploring some of their favourite road trip destinations across Australia.

“The Australian audience is a smart one. They want to see topics covered beyond the typical anxiety-inducing range questions”, said Trent Nikolic, host and Managing Editor of Drive.com.au.

“We received such a great response from our audience on the hour-long EV feature episode which aired last year, we realised we could dedicate an entire season to electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to paint a more detailed picture of how the Australian automotive landscape is changing.”

Drive TV Executive Producer, Terry King said, “Our previous electric vehicle TV feature was our highest rated and most streamed episode to date. Electric vehicles are so topical and we’re all thirsty for real-world, relatable content as we hear more manufacturers announce their transition targets to make the switch to a fully electric fleet.”

“Our audience is almost a 50/50 female to male split and we wanted this season to focus on the vehicle as much as the destination,” said Drive TV host, Emma Notarfrancesco.

“Our first episode stars the Tesla Model Y. We’re regularly seeing the Tesla brand featured in the top ten new vehicle sales race each month, so there’s a real interest there in the Australian market.

“There’s something for everyone in this season of Drive TV. We showcase a range of electric vehicles to suit all budgets ranging from the practical MG to the blisteringly fast Ferrari. That’s a price difference of almost $500k!”

With 173 episodes screened across multiple channels to date, another 30 episodes produced for 2023, plus a one hour follow up documentary ‘Living with EV’s’ due to air in May, Drive TV has its foot firmly on the accelerator.

Tune in for Drive TV season four, episode one at 11:00am Sunday February 19 on Channel 9 and 9Now. All previous episodes are available for streaming on 9Now.

ABOUT DRIVE TV

With 10.5 million eyeballs across 31 episodes and a 49% female audience, Drive TV continues to reach more Australians and represents a greater portion of the new car buying market in Australia. Launched in 2022 on Nine, each episode is available on eight different platforms spanning TV, digital and social offering unrivalled automotive broadcast content.

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Ute-beauty! Ford Ranger Dual-Cab takes out prestigious 2023 Drive Car of the Year award

In a sign of changing new car buyer preferences, and for the first time in its history, the 2023 Drive Car of the Year overall award has been won by a commercial vehicle. This year marks the 17th annual Drive Car of the Year awards, one of the longest-running, most expansive, and authoritative consumer automotive awards in Australia.

“This year we’ve seen a dual-cab ute, the Ford Ranger, take out the 2023 overall Drive Car of the Year award for the first time”, said James Ward, Director of Content at Drive.com.au.

“This is also reflective of the current Australian sales mix. The Ford Ranger has redefined the 4×4 ute market by evolving into a cohesive lifestyle machine it’s – the SUV of utes.”

The result is also a great success story for the local automotive industry, as Ford Australia took the global lead on the new Ranger’s engineering and development. The Ford Ranger is offered in more than 180 markets around the world, serving as testament to the world class automotive expertise available on our doorstep.

Featuring new brands, new cars, new judges, and a new testing facility, Drive’s annual Car of the Year awards has never been bigger, better, or more comprehensive in its search for Australia’s best new cars.

“We’re ever adapting to suit the changing Australian automotive landscape,” said Ward.

“Our 2023 awards programme also incorporated four electric and hybrid vehicle categories and I think we’ll continue to see this segment of our testing continue to evolve.

“Hybridisation is the recurring theme we’re hearing from manufacturers as many of the models consumers already know and trust will soon be offered in a hybrid or electric option.”

“We are so proud that the Ranger has been named the 2023 Drive Car of the Year. To Ranger owners – whether you’re new to Ford or have been with us on the journey before – and to our passionate team at Ford Australia: this one’s for you” said Andrew Birkic, President and CEO, Ford Australia and New Zealand.

A team of more than 20 road testers and editors put more than 60 of the best and newest vehicles on the market through their paces on road, race track, and 4×4 off-road. Drive’s vision continues to offer the deepest and most relevant awards programme for Australia’s new car buyer.

Drive.com.au CEO, Simon Halfhide said, “I am so proud of the team here at Drive. Every year Drive Car of the Year continues to push the envelope setting the benchmark for Australian automotive awards testing.”

“These awards are not only trusted by the Australian buyer, they’re also highly valued by the automotive brands we work closely with. We consistently hear from brands how much a win such as this means to the team locally but also globally, be it engineering, design or marketing. This recognition also translates to sales.

Previous winners such as the Kia Sportage, reported a 22.8 per cent rise in Sportage total sales (source: Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI)) over the three months following their Drive Car of the Year win compared to the three months prior.

“Every year, more than 500 new models enter the Australian car market. We are seeing many consumers overwhelmed by the research and comparison process. Drive Car of the Year does the hard work for them. Being an independent endorser and authoritative third party differentiates these awards as the most relevant in the market and makes us a trusted voice for the Australian new car buyer,” said Halfhide.

Whether it’s practical cars, go-anywhere SUVs, sexy sports cars, or electrifying EVs, the Drive Car of the Year Awards highlights the best new cars that represent the biggest step forward for the Australian buyer.

2023 Drive Car of the Year – Category Winners

Category Name Make Model
Best Medium to Large Car Skoda Octavia
Best Small Car Volkswagen Golf
Best Medium Luxury Car Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Best Large Car for Families Kia Carnival
Best Sports Coupe Nissan Z
Best Hot Hatch Volkswagen Gold R
Best Small SUV Nissan Qashqai
Best Light SUV Ford Puma
Best Medium Hybrid SUV Mitsubishi Outlander
Best Large SUV Toyota Kluger
Best Small Luxury SUV Volvo XC40
Best Medium Luxury SUV Jaguar F-Pace
Best Dual-Cab Ute Ford Ranger
Best Medium SUV Nissan X-Trail
Best EV Under $70K BYD Atto 3
Best EV $70K-$120K Kia EV6
Best EV Over $120K BMW i7
Best Off-Road SUV Land Rover Defender
Best Off-Road Duel-Cab Ute Ford Ranger
2023 DRIVE Car of the Year Ford Ranger
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Drive shines a spotlight on real world drivers living the electric dream

Drive TV electric vehicle feature documentary ‘Living with Electric Vehicles’ to air at 12pm Saturday 27 May on 9Network, with supporting 12-page print lift-out available in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Drive presenters Trent Nikolic, Emma Notarfrancesco, Susannah Guthrie and James Ward meet five people who have made ‘the switch’ and follow them on their electric vehicle ownership journey. The Drive EV feature documentary and print lift-out looks at what challenges, costs and stereotypes these real-world owners have overcome to make electric vehicles integrate into their everyday lives and homes.

“If you are part of the 86 per cent of the Australian population who lives in an urban area and travel less than 100km per day, then electric vehicle ownership can absolutely work if you want it to,” said James Ward, Drive’s Director of Content.

EV ownership isn’t just restricted to the city dwellers. The electric special also looks at what it means to make the switch when one doesn’t have the luxury of big city infrastructure.

“Not all of our owners can charge at home, as our regional and high-density owners need to use the public network. And while it’s still desperately lagging, with a few considerations to how you go about your week, even this can be easy – with planning. However, the best part is it’s going to get even easier,” adds James.

According to data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, 23,926 electric vehicles have been reported as sold over the first four months of this year. This represents an increase of 214 per cent increase over the same period last year. Based on this projection, we’re set to see 70,000 new electric cars on Australian roads by the end of the year.

“Australia presents a challenging motoring landscape. While we’re still behind the likes of many countries when it comes to charging infrastructure, we’re seeing buyer confidence like never before,” said Drive TV host and Drive.com.au Managing Editor, Trent Nikolic.

“For the first time we’ve seen electric vehicles outsell the more traditional hybrid model which tells us we’re starting to see buyer decision evolve beyond traditional EV ownership barriers. Living the electric dream may just be easier than you think,” said Trent.

Recently aired on 9Network, Drive TV Season 4 featured 10 episodes dedicated to electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles while celebrating the great Australian road trip. This latest feature in Drive TV’s electric vehicle suite follows on from the hugely popular EV special which aired in October 2022 – the highest rated and most streamed Drive TV episode to date.

Tune in for Drive TV ‘Living with Electric Vehicles’ at 12pm Saturday 27 May on 9Network. All previous episodes are available for streaming on 9Now: https://www.9now.com.au/drive-tv

The Drive TV announcements include:
• Drive TV’s first prime audience slots across both Nine and Nine Rush (Q1 2024)
• Drive FAST Channel: 24/7 automotive video on demand channel (H2 2024)
• Drive TV and Getaway: An integrated Drive segment within travel program, Getaway (Q1 2024)
• A new Drive TV series dedicated to editorial reviews (Q1 2024)
• A 2024 Drive Car of the Year Special featuring and promoting award winners at scale (Q1 2024)
• Drive TV will also complete its Electric documentary series and conclude with the buyer’s guide in Q1 and Q2 respectively.

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Chasing Champions will be shown on Nine this Sunday (January 28) at the following times:
12.30pm - QLD
1pm - SA
1.30pm - NSW/VIC/ACT/TAS
2pm - WA
3.30pm - NT

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Nine.com.au and Drive join forces to launch P-Plate Drive Safe campaign

With the Easter break historically one of the busiest on our roads, Nine.com.au and Drive today launched a month-long campaign to raise awareness of the importance of defensive driver training courses.

Too many young drivers are killed or injured on our roads each year. Younger drivers are the most overrepresented group in this tragic statistic with 20% of all driver fatalities in the past five years aged between 17-25 years (source Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics Jan-19 to Jan-24).

Drive and Nine.com.au believe that being a better-trained driver makes you a safer driver, and have launched ‘P-Plate Drive Safe’ with this as the end goal.

The four-week campaign is about raising awareness for further training for our young drivers, sharing stories of those who have been impacted by road tragedy, and encouraging all drivers to take action.

Nationally available Defensive Driver courses are designed to improve the driving knowledge and hands-on skills of all drivers, however awareness is low amongst the community of their presence, benefits and how easy it is to access them. ‘P-Plate Drive Safe’ aims to change that.

Kevin Flynn, Master Trainer at Driver Dynamics says: “The best way to build safer driving behaviours is to influence drivers at a young age, before bad habits set in. There are many young drivers on the roads who may have been taught by parents and adults with old or outdated driving techniques. Defensive driving courses provide the most up-to-date training to better prepare young drivers on today’s roads.”

Drive CEO, Simon Halfhide said: “Inexperienced young drivers involved in road trauma events have such a lifelong impact on too many Australian families, including my own. At Drive, we want more young drivers and their parents to have access to these potentially lifesaving resources, which we know can make a difference. Money and location should not be a barrier to saving lives on the road.”

Nine.com.au Director, Kerri Elstub said: “As the mother of two young men at the beginning of a lifetime of driving, I know first hand how valuable these courses are in setting safe driving behaviours. We want to ensure this training is available and affordable for as many families a possible.”

Through the impact and reach of the combined assets this campaign will reach more than 10 millions Australian. (Combined deduped number of nine.com.au and Drive,10.699m.)

Source: Ipsos iris Online Audience Measurement Service January 2024, Age 14+, PC/laptop/smartphone/tablet, Text only, Media Plus Report, Audience (000s). Total Brand Group.

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Season 7 starts this Sunday (March 17) at 1.30pm. Vehicles tested in the first episode are the Ferrari Purosangue, Ford 150 heavy weight Ute and the Audi Q4 eTron.

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Sunday 24 March 1:30pm

CRV: Honda’s Highflyer - Space, Savings, & Style
This episode finds the perfect SUV for growing families and city dwellers, blending value with versatility.

Saturday 30 March 2:30 pm

DRIVE TV-EV3 BUILDING THE FUTURE
Join Trent as they dive into electric vehicle design! Explore the challenges and possibilities of building EVs from scratch, from studios to factories. Witness the future of sustainable transportation come to life.

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The Lap series will run for eight weeks on Nine, 9Rush, and 9Now. The first episode airs tomorrow (May 11) at 3.30pm on Nine.

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The 4-part series premieres on Nine tomorrow (June 8) at 12.30pm with Scott Cam as special guest.

Business Drive will also feature as a 12-page limited edition print lift out published in SMH and The Age next Saturday, June 15.

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