Sniff Petrol

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Sniff Petrol
Founder and Owner Richard Porter
Categories Motoring satire, Motorsport
Publisher Online
First issue August 2001
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Sniff Petrol is an online motoring satire magazine,[1] first published in 2001.[2] Sniff Petrol was originally published bi-weekly, but due to other commitments this was reduced, first to a monthly schedule, and now to a blog format, updated on a regular basis. It receives over 10,000 hits a day.[3][4][5]

Sniff Petrol's articles comment on motoring and motorsport (especially Formula One) events, both real and fictional, by parodying the styles of presentation and language used in various motoring fields. Most notably, this includes motor manufacturer press releases, but also extends to motoring magazine reviews and the like.

Regular features[edit]

Alongside satire directed at motoring and motorsport related news, Sniff Petrol has a number of long-running regular features, most notably including:

  • Carcoat Damphands – A used car columnist who aims to give insider information on buying and selling cars. The writing, although superficially intelligible, uses a large number of fake motor trade colloquialisms and made-up rhyming slang which results in a column of incomprehensible whimsy. Signs off every report with the word "minty".
  • Crazy Dave Coulthard – A parody of the racing driver David Coulthard. This feature started as he began the 2005 Formula One season, was a satirical comparison between the public relations attitude of the McLaren F1 team, whom Coulthard had driven for in the 2004 season, and the Red Bull team, whom he was driving for in 2005.[6]
Crazy Dave writes about Formula 1 using a fake urban slang, possibly in an attempt to be relevant to the Red Bull target market, before switching to conventional English for the closing remark which is used to unashamedly promote a product or television programme with which the real life Coulthard is associated.
  • DriveL – The only regular non-satirical content of the site, these are car reviews authored by Richard Porter[7] and primarily written in a day-by-day format.[8] Articles are usually titled "A week with a [car name]", though some reviews encompass a shorter time period.[9]
  • Not advertisements – Spoof car adverts, usually based on a current campaign but modified for humour. These 'adverts' will generally prey upon the perceived attributes of the owners and drivers of the advertised car. MG Rover was a frequent target of these spoofs until the company's demise in 2005.
  • The Schumachers – A running gag which began in August 2004 and appeared several times in following months,[10] it features a picture of Michael Schumacher appearing to snarl a cruel, topical remark at his brother Ralf Schumacher, based upon the public view that younger brother Ralf was a lesser driver than Michael. The photograph has been Photoshopped several times during the life of this recurring joke to give the Schumacher brothers hats and clothes that reflect their current team or sponsors.[11]
  • Small Ads – Classified-style ads, generally spoofing recent Formula 1 activity.
  • Roy Lanchester – A former local newspaper journalist turned blogger, Lanchester typifies a breed of freeloading car writer more concerned with getting fed and plied with alcohol at someone else's expense than with reviewing a car or product, which he always does in an uncritical way. Frequent references are made to his enormous alcohol intake.
  • Troy Queef – A spoof columnist claimed to be the Executive Associate Editor-At-Large for Dab Of Oppo magazine. Queef uses an over-written, pretentious and self-aggrandising style inappropriate for the cheap, slow cars he reviews and signs off each column by claiming that the car in question was "a bitch" which he "spanked". Queef has only driven one car with an engine capacity in excess of 1.8 litres, which he crashed.[12]
  • Trentham Sleaves' Grand Prix Preview – A parody of Formula 1 print journalists and their accounts of Grand Prix weekends, which are often perceived as being overly romantic, self-indulgent, and clichéd. He frequently mentions his "casual" encounters with people such as "my old mate Alain Prost," and "a certain 1998/1999 World Champion", and misinterprets their open disdain for him as jovial banter.[13] He often eats alone at "a charming little Italian off the beaten track, the name of which discretion prevents me from mentioning,"[14] and closes reports by predicting that every team may win on Sunday and that he will be enjoying every moment, "Because remember, I’m here and you’re not."


Sniff Petrol has run several satirical campaigns since its inception. These have included

  • Car Designer Face Hair Removal – An unusual campaign which offered money to car designers if they shaved off their existing beard or moustache.[15] Met with some success when Peter Stevens, then lead designer at MG Rover, shaved off his moustache in return for a donation to charity.[16]
  • Jordan Sponsorship Offer – A short-lived campaign in which the Jordan F1 team was offered £20 to write Sniff Petrol on the side of their racing car.[17]
  • Moped (& Scooter) Campaign – A campaign which aimed to "rid the world of this sub-250cc menace".[18]
  • Stop The Cock – A long-running campaign which aimed to remove commentator James Allen from the then-current ITV F1 coverage.[19] Sniff Petrol produced Stop The Cock T-shirts to promote the campaign leading to the publication of photographs depicting supporters sporting these shirts whilst standing next to F1 pundit Martin Brundle and ITV F1 anchor man Steve Rider.


Sniff Petrol started a Twitter feed in April 2009.[20] In October 2014 it had over 57,000 followers.[21] The Sniff Petrol Twitter account is used chiefly to give real-time commentary on Formula 1 races and brief comment on motoring news as well as reports of mini-cab journeys undertaken by the author. The Sniff Petrol Twitter feed came 17th in the Humor category at the 2010 Shorty Awards.[22]

Media coverage[edit]

Sniff Petrol content has been reproduced on many other websites including US car blog Jalopnik[23] and in other media, including the BBC TV series Top Gear.[24][25]

Sniff Petrol has been mentioned in national newspapers including The Times,[26] the Daily Telegraph[27] and in the Irish Times.[28]

In 2006 a series of Sniff Petrol spoof MG Rover advertisements were turned into a charity calendar.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ InterconnectIT (2009) Sniff Petrol Case Study
  2. ^
  3. ^ InterconnectIT (2009) Sniff Petrol Case Stud
  4. ^ Alexa (2010) Site Info,
  5. ^ Site Analytics (2010) Site Profile for
  6. ^
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  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "2015 Abu Dhabi GP preview". Sniff Petrol. Sniff Petrol. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  14. ^ "2015 Belgian GP preview". Sniff Petrol. Sniff Petrol. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Twitter (2013) Sniffpetrol
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 February 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2011. 
  23. ^!5739964/the-ferrari-ff-has-a-sad
  24. ^
  25. ^ Top Gear (2007) BBC, Series 10, Episode 2, News segment, 18m 47s
  26. ^ The Sunday Times, 18 February 2007, 'Mini Cooper S'
  27. ^
  28. ^ The Irish Times, Wednesday, 20 October 2004, Motors, 'From Beetle to Roller - an eccentric survey of crap cars'
  29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 July 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2011.