Love Cars and Stuck at Home? Here's How to Keep Yourself Entertained

Millions of Canadians are staying home or working from home following urges to practice social distancing to help slow the spread of COVID-19. For most of those people, including the autoTRADER.ca staff working from home, that doesn't mean you need to stop consuming car content. In fact, now that you've cleaned your place four times and have nearly had a fistfight over Risk, you probably need it now more than ever. So here are some suggestions for some automotive distractions to keep you from going stir crazy for the next few weeks.

Go for a Drive

At this point, "staying home" means avoiding people more than just staying inside. The roads are empty and gas is cheap, so why not hit the road? Just don't go to stores. Go to the park, instead. National parks might have their gates closed, but trails are still often open in municipal, provincial, and regional parks. Enjoy some fresh air and get reacquainted with your favourite stretch of tarmac.

Go Car Shopping

We don't mean going out and kicking tires, we mean browsing the autoTRADER.ca listings to look for deals on new and used cars, SUVs, and trucks. You might not even be in the market, but it's fun to look and dream. You can even shop for cars interactively using sites like Cadillac Live. There, you can take an interactive tour of Cadillac's lineup and talk to virtual agents about the vehicles, all of whom are staying socially distanced we're told.

 

Watch Virtual Racing

Many pro drivers these days are young, which means they're also gamers and they're spending the off-season playing on their own home-based racing simulators against online opponents. Since the off-season has been extended, many of them are playing now. Last weekend, to take the place of the cancelled Australian Grand Prix Formula 1 race, a number of drivers participated in the NottheAusGP. It ended up being an F1 simulation with real drivers, some major celebrities, and real announcers. You can watch the replay of the race on YouTube here. There is also a new eNASCAR iRacing Pro series starting this weekend featuring drivers like Dale Jr., Kyle Busch, and Clint Bowyer.

Some drivers, like McLaren driver Lando Norris, have their own Twitch streams where you can watch live. Here's Lando's channel, which was the most popular stream on the site during the race.

Online Learning

There are many online resources for learning more about cars and trucks, but these streams from the Petersen Museum in California look like fun physics lessons for you and the kids. Today at the Petersen's site, they'll be doing the history of the car and a lesson on license plates. Tomorrow will have storytime and an activity featuring making a car of your favourite animal with household items, with more sessions all week.

The Petersen Automotive Museum is also offering live-streamed tours of its exclusive Vault for just US$3 (which is an 86 per cent discount of the in-person admission price). As the physical museum is closed until March 31, the hour-long virtual tour will allow users to have "rare access to never-before-seen race cars, movie cars and culturally significant vehicles," the museum said in a press release. The Vault has 250 special cars for you to check out.

Want to do some automotive maintenance or repairs of your own? You might have plenty of time, so check out your local library's online section for resources like Chilton manuals for your vehicle.

Television That Moves

If you've got one of the dozens of new streaming services, you can find plenty of car content in both film and binge-watchable TV. Hop on Netflix for the latest season of F1: Drive to Survive, plus car movies like Drive, Baby Driver, and Fast & Furious. Or try something different like the Initial D live-action movie. Amazon Prime has The Grand Tour starring Clarkson, Hammond, and May, along with Ford vs. Ferrari, Bumblebee, and more.

The Ultimate Gearhead destination for the next few weeks, though, might be MotorTrend On Demand. It has thousands of episodes of its own original shows like Roadkill but is also loaded with content like the first 25 seasons of Top Gear, and just about every car show that's been on the Discovery Channel including some Canadian content like Restoration Garage and Bad Chad Customs.

The Tubes are Ready for You

YouTube has plenty of great car content, including our own channel that we are, of course, particularly proud of for reviews, buying advice, and comparison tests. We will be continuing to shoot videos and publish them at least once a week every Monday. You should totally subscribe so you never miss one of our videos!

Follow the recommendation hole to other big hits like Jay Leno's Garage for a look at some of his collection as well as some other amazing pieces of machinery. Want something not automotive, but still machinery-related? Farming channels can be shockingly calming. Really!

Break Out the Controllers

Now is a great time to catch up on the best racing games. Play Forza Horizon 4's new Battle Royale Eliminator mode or the ultra-fun Lego Speed Champions Island, set hot laps in Gran Turismo Sport, or start launching blue shells in the latest MarioKart. There are hundreds of good driving games (and thousands of not so good ones), so maybe give a new one a try, especially since most consoles let you buy and download games online these days. It might also be fun to play online with your friends so you can stay in touch while still being socially distant.

Stay at Home: Illustrated

Need more for the kids to do without staring at a screen? It's time to dig out the art supplies. If you've got pencil crayons, regular crayons, markers, or even paint (*note, autoTRADER.ca is not responsible for any accidents involving children and paint) you can print out some amazing and free colouring book pages for the kids (or let's face it, you) to colour in to stay busy. Illustrator Will Pierce is making a book about Group B rallying, one of the wildest times ever in racing, and he has released more than 80 pages to colour in.

Automotive illustrator Final Tenth has also released a PDF of 11 pages to print out and colour. Maybe if you or the kids want to learn how to illustrate and colour using a computer this could be a great time to learn that.

Finally, Mercedes-Benz has its own book of sketches of company models ranging from the latest concepts to the classics. And Audi has just released its own free-to-download colouring book. All free to print and colour.

We've rounded up some fun stuff to keep you busy. 3/18/2020 4:23:27 PM