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Birmingham, 08-11 January 2015

The Autosport International Racing Car Show, celebrated its 25th anniversary with the 2015 edition. Once again it was held in conjunction with the Performance Car Show, and ran between 08 – 11 January at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. The combined shows occupied 9 halls, with one hall occupied by the Live Action Arena, and another by the Adrenaline Zone. In the former one could witness various forms of motor sport, including drifting, with its clouds of acrid rubber smoke, 2014 FIA World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg in his Citroen Xsara, demonstration runs from the likes of the Ferrari 458 Speciale and Porsche 911 GT3, and cars from other forms of motor sport. In the Adenaline Zone one could buy a passenger ride in a Ginetta G40 Drivers Club Car, or take the wheel of a Kart yourself. The Thursday and Friday of the show also featured the Autosport Engineering Show in two of the halls, dedicated to companies providing race engineering technology. Another important facet of the show is the educational aspect, with a number of universities and training specialists that provide specialist engineering courses in attendance.

At any motor show, whether it be current, racing or classic, it is predominantly the cars that people go to see, particularly those that are new or rarely seen in everyday life. The Autosport show covered all these genres, with a number of premieres for small manufacturers, a plethora of racing cars from all areas of motor sport, and numerous classic cars spread around the halls and in the Coys Auction, which was held on the Saturday. There was also the regular feature of the F1 grid, allowing people to get a rare close-up view of recent F1 cars from all the current Championship contenders, and the Autosport stage, where there were regular interview sessions from personalities from a variety of motor sport fields.

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Amongst the cars on display in the Performance Car Show section were a Ferrari 458 Speciale, a California a F12 and a LaFerrari, a Lamborghini Hurracan, a pair of McLaren MP4-12Cs, Aston Martins, Porsches and a variety of bespoke personalised cars and SUVs. There was an expansive celebration of the Brabham marque, with a display covering a wide spectrum of the racing models that the company produced over the years, including F1, F2, F3 and sports cars. Another memorable display was that provided by Classic Team Lotus, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of Jim Clark’s triple. In 1965 he won the Tasman Championship, the Indianapolis 500 and his second F1 World Drivers’ Championship, and the three cars with which he won the respective titles were on display. Another anniversary celebrated was that of the motoring newspaper, Motoring News, which is now 60 years old, with a diverse array of cars featuring in the display, including a Williams F1 car, a Jaguar D-Type, a a Ford Mustang, a Lancia Stratos and Petter Solberg’s World Rallycross Championship winning Citroen DS3.

Amongst the manufacturers with displays were Porsche with a trio from their current range, Renault with the British premiere of the R.S.01 race car which will run in the Renault Sport Trophy series this year, together with a Clio Cup car and a Megane Trophy car, all illustrating their sporting side, and Lotus with a nice selection of race orientated models. There were also numerous smaller manufacturers, like the German company Sin Cars, who made their debut at the show in 2013, and have expanded their wild looking range to three models now. Then there were home grown niche manufacturers like Lister, Noble, Radical and Zenos, to name but a few. Once you add in all the diverse array of stands covering virtually every aspect of motor sport from karting, through autocross, drifting, rallying, rallycross, drag racing, and all genres of track sport through to F1, it can be seen that it is a very broad sheet of motor sport that is covered. If you still had time, then there were the numerous vendor stalls with a wide variety of related goods on offer, to make your wallet lighter and bag heavier for the journey home.

Keith Bluemel