Autosport International………otherwise known as the Racing Car show.
Story and photos by Roy Smith
And what a show it was! On January 10-13, the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in the UK hosted the annual show for the business of Motor Sport.
On Thursday and Friday the show was restricted to visitors from the trade and the business end of the sport, along with those studying Engineering at the schools and Universities, who attended the show to see the many thousands of components and equipment that go into making things work on the road and track. Deals were being made, new machines ordered, while engineering components were displayed as works of art.
Of course it is the cars, the teams and the drivers that make this spectacular show work, and this years’ offering did not disappoint. The spectacular Porsche 918 drew a lot of attention, as did the Noble M600 225mph projectile that’s sure to get your license endorsed! On the Formula 1 side. a grand display of the 2012 cars (mock ups and real) kept the punters happily snapping away at their favorites, which they rarely get a chance to get near.
Force India driver Paul de Resta and thirteen times Grand Prix Winner David Coulthard were on hand to talk to all those who would listen. A huge crowd gathered around the live stage Saturday and Sunday. Sir Jackie Stewart was joined by Le Mans 24 hours experts Derek Bell, Emanuele Pirro and Alan McNish, with Johnny Herbert opening Saturday’s show day. From the historical point of view, a fine collection of Lancias lined up complementing a superb display of cars driven by Sir Jackie Stewart during his exemplary career.
Of course the Autosport International show, like nearly all the current exhibitions, featured a high quality range of cars in the Coys Historic Car Auction. The Rolls-Royce once owned by legendary rock band Queen front man, the late Freddie Mercury, was estimated to sell at £9 to £11,000. It sold for an incredible £74,000. The highest bidding went to the 1953 BMW Willis Special which sold at £154,000 to a buyer in Oregon USA. A 1972 Porsche 911S rebuilt to a ST specification sold for £125,000!
Also linked to the Autosport exhibition was this year’s performance car show: powered by Pistonheads.com, where road exotica was displayed. Lamborghinis, Mercedes, Porsches and many “specials” were there for the speed freaks to drool over.
All in all, a good representation of the world that Autosport has to offer, and one that will be remembered by many. However, in my opinion, the show was not as spectacular as previous years and it seemed not quite so busy; maybe the hefty £34 entry ticket price had something to do with it. Will we be back next year? Of course we will. More photos below.