Millions of Canadians are staying home or working from home following urges to practice social distancing to help slow the spread of COVID-19. If you're looking for something to help you pass the time, we've compiled a roundup of some cool car-related things (some of which are free) that you can use to keep you and your family entertained.
Here are some suggestions for some automotive distractions to keep you from going stir crazy for the next few weeks.
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. A couple weeks ago, 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 and Museum Tours
There are many online resources for learning more about cars and trucks, but the livestreams from the Petersen Museum in California look like fun physics lessons for you and the kids. Previously at the Petersen's site, they taught about the history of the car and offered a lesson on license plates. They've also had storytime and an activity featuring making a car of your favourite animal with household items.
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 at least April 19, 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.
Other automotive museums are also offering online tours. You can tour the Lamborghini museum in Italy via Google street view, Porsche's museum in Germany can be toured online, and Mercedes is also offering free 360-degree virtual tours that are compatible with VR headsets.
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.
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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. BMW has its own colouring pages as well, which includes some paint by number sheets and templates to build paper cars. Another luxury German automaker, Porsche, has also just come out with its own colouring pages for different 911 models. At Porsche's "From Home" page, they also have fun backgrounds you can download to use on your conference calls!
Ford also has a whole hub dedicated to family fun that includes colouring pages, origami, connect the dots pages, spot the difference photo challenges, mazes, and more. Fiat has also released colouring pages of its adorable 500, both the vintage one and the new one, which can be found here. Chevrolet has two colouring pages on its Pinterest page. Don't forget Volkswagen's colouring pages! Nissan has some great colouring pages too, which include both new and vintage models. Infiniti has released its own "Carigami" page where you can download and print instructions to build three paper cars. Land Rover has just released some of its own colouring pages for its new Defender.
All free to print and colour.
Lotus has a free download to build a paper version of the submarine Esprit S1 called "Wet Nellie" that was featured in the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.
If you're looking for something a bit more challenging, Porsche has a "Get Creative With Porsche" series of masterclasses where one of its lead designers teaches you how to draw a 911 from scratch. In another class, you can learn about automotive photography.
Go for a Drive
Although the Canadian government has advised against non-essential travel, perhaps taking the long route home by yourself after a grocery run might be excusable, as you can practice physical distancing from your car. After all, the roads are empty and gas is cheap.
Research Cars Online
If you need a car at this time, you do have some resources. In some provinces, car dealerships are considered as essential services, and you can always browse our own listings and research online from home. 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. We have a thorough article here that goes through some of the ins and outs of car ownership during these extraordinary times.
Article last updated April 30, 2020
The health and safety of our community is our top priority. autoTRADER.ca encourages all Canadians to practice social distancing in accordance with recommendations by Health Canada and avoid non-essential travel. It's up to all of us to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. If the purchase of a vehicle is essential to your situation, please contact your local dealership to discuss options relative to your region and ensure accordance with Health Canada guidelines. For more information on how COVID-19 might impact Canadian car owners, see our resource page here.