The white gloves are off – how to become a professional chauffeur

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

Source : The white gloves are off – how to become a professional chauffeur

What does of which take to be a top chauffeur? We find out on Rolls-Royce’s exclusive training course

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The back pages of Autocar looked very different in 1915. Squeezed between all the classified ads for mechanics in addition to also also engineers were large sections advertising chauffeurs.

Here, young men posted ads “seeking situations” with employers. One was my own great-grandfather, a professional butler whose job included ferrying his employer, the ninth Earl of Shaftesbury, around the country on visits.

Which got me thinking: do I have what of which takes to become a professional chauffeur inside the modern era? Step forward Rolls-Royce. of which still trains professional drivers inside the art (in addition to also also etiquette) of chauffeuring, under the banner of  White Glove Training, although of which’s currently an exclusive  service available to high-profile customers only.

My trainer is usually Andi McCann, the man asked for by name to drive Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös inside the UK in addition to also also abroad. He’ll adopt the Autocar star rating system to see if I have what of which takes.

First things first: we need to go for a drive, so we borrow an extended-wheelbase Phantom in addition to also also head for the roads surrounding Rolls-Royce’s Goodwood headquarters to allow McCann to assess my base driving level.

I’m nervous in addition to also also McCann isn’t giving anything away. We choose a short route with plenty of roundabouts in addition to also also obstacles to see how I handle the 2670kg, V12-engined Phantom, in addition to also also I try to be as smooth as possible. Balance the throttle to prevent any lurching movement, steady the brake as we stop, no sudden movements.

I think I’m doing well as we turn back onto Rolls-Royce property. McCann hands me a three-star rating. of which, according to the back pages of of which magazine, means I’m average in most areas in addition to also also outstanding in none. Room for improvement, then.

We go right back to basics, including the proper way to open your vehicle’s mammoth doors in addition to also also the correct procedure for shielding a female passenger by the prying lenses of the paparazzi on arrival at a major event.

of which procedure involves keeping the rear doors locked – some paparazzi will try to open these doors on arrival, says McCann – as we arrive, before I get out in addition to also also walk around to the passenger side.

I then reach into the front passenger door to retrieve the famous Rolls-Royce umbrella by its holder, before unlocking the rear doors.I stand in front of the opening to protect my passenger’s dignity, opening the umbrella to mask the camera flashes. When the passenger is usually ready, she’ll tap me on the shoulder in addition to also also together we move forward, in addition to also also of which’s only then of which my role is usually complete.

We also cover in-car etiquette, including angling the rear-view mirror upwards to ensure of which the passenger isn’t faced with the driver’s eyes, in addition to also also using technology like the Surround View cameras to position your vehicle at the correct distance by the kerb when pulling up.

of which’s fascinating to learn how much preparation goes into a simple ‘pick-up’, too. Professional drivers will scout their locations in addition to also also routes to maximise efficiency, because their clientele won’t be left hanging around at any cost. McCann tells me he was once berated for being six seconds late for a client. Crikey.

Next, of which’s driver training. We go through the four key skills of the chauffeur – braking, accelerating, steering in addition to also also balance – in addition to also also how to keep the experience “sharp in addition to also also effortless” at all times.

Finally, of which’s time for my retest. We take the same route as before, in addition to also also of which time I’m far more aware of my surroundings. If there’s no traffic approaching a roundabout, I’ll keep the Phantom rolling rather than coming to a halt, in addition to also also I look farther ahead to anticipate any obstacles or dangers. I also learn to slow the Phantom down more effortlessly, by pre-warming the brakes first.

I find much of the skill is usually in looking two or three cars ahead. Even something as simple as accelerating to join a dual carriageway must be done smoothly in addition to also also with finesse.

Again, McCann says nothing as we pull up at the end, in addition to also also I’m truly nervous as he reveals the final score: four in addition to also also a half stars. Not the full a few-star verdict, then, although at least I’m near class-leading in some key areas. not bad enough, says McCann, to one day become a professional chauffeur. I’ll thank my great-grandfather for of which.

The chauffeur’s top tips

1 – Be sharp in addition to also also effortless in everything you do.

2 – Know your limits in addition to also also don’t drive beyond them.

3 – Know everything about the route in addition to also also your passenger.

4 – Whatever the job, remember safety first.

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