Saturday 11 January 2014

Autosport International 2014

The Racing Car Show
Today I paid a visit to the Autosport International show for the first time. This is a huge event held at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre (NEC) and features a wide variety of racing cars on static display, trade and promotional stands from the big names in motorsport, an indoor live action arena show, and access to a backstage paddock area. This year's show also had a special display celebrating the racing career of F1 World Champion John Surtees.
Many different motorsports were represented from Formula 1, Le Mans and British Touring Cars all the way to Autograss and radio controlled cars. The event was held in association with the Autocar and Pistonheads' Performance Car Show, so along with the pure racing machines there were many exotic sports cars on display. Personal favourites of mine were the McLaren MP4-12C Spider, the Ferrari F12, the Japspeed drift cars, Lotus Evora GT4, and the full-size Bloodhound SSC land speed record car. I also spotted a Gran Turismo 6 stand were fans could get a chance to try out the new game and see a Red Bull X2010 on display. I was pleased to be able to see the Le Mans 24 hours winning Audi R18 e-tron, though what struck me about this car was the size as it was a lot smaller than I imagined.
Not surprisingly the F1 cars drew a large crowd as it's not everyday you get the opportunity to be so close to them. Each team had a car on display and it was great to be able to compare all the intricacies and differing designs. Since it was so busy it was difficult to get good pictures, but I found in general if people saw you were taking a photo they would try to avoid walking in front of you which was nice to see. Most of my pictures were taken on my phone so the quality isn't great but I think they give a sense of the atmosphere in the exhibition halls.
Alongside the supercars and exotic racing machinery, the MX-5 was well represented thanks to the popular MX5Nutz forum. The stand showcased each generation with a selection of modified examples voted for by the forum users. I spotted a couple of other MX-5s around the show including Mission Motorsport's car and Roddison's Le Mans liveried NC race car on the Nankang tyres stand.
There was plenty on offer from aftermarket suppliers too with trade display stands from the likes of Yokohama, Ohlins, Akrapovic, Samco, Quaife, Demon Tweeks, Rally Design, Bilstein, and many more. Omex had a stand that caught my eye as they had a display of Duratec engines in various states of tune. Given that the Duratec is a derivative of the Mazda L-Series MZR engine, it was interesting to see the performance parts that could be used on an NC MX-5. I did like the look of this 200 Bhp 2.0 litre with the Jenvey throttle kit fitted.
It was a great show with good variety and something for everyone, I'll definitely be back next year!