Seeing as I have never attended the Autosport International show before, I had no idea what to expect.
I mean, I had a good idea, the vast halls of Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre were to be filled with a cross section of motor-sports finest offerings. So there was going to be cars. And seeing as this was a public event, there was bound to be people too.
We started the day, or at least I did at 4:30 in the morning. I set off to rendezvous with other Fueltopia members, Phil ‘Paps’ McCusker and Kim Pham as well as a few other friends at the Ace Cafe at 6am before setting off in search of food and coffee. As the NEC loomed closer, the sun came up and caffeine started to finally take hold, we started to speculate as to what we might find in these great halls.
First port of call was our own Fueltopia stand displaying offerings from Fueltopia Barrel Sprint, European Burnout Championship and Formula G. It was so good to see us with such a large presence, all three are our own sports that we are proud of and it is nice to see them growing so well. Our staff were on hand to offer advice and encourage people to get involved with variety of grass roots motor-sports. Literally all you need to get involved is a valid European driving licence.
You may also recognise this BMW that we featured a few weeks back. It was great to see it receive so much attention on the stand.
Back to the show itself. Like many of you, my winter in the UK involved more booze and food than it did cars. Autosport provides a nice platform to spark enthusiasm and make plans for the coming year. It serves the public with big, bold and brash displays whilst giving plenty of opportunities to industry folk to discuss future plans and forge new alliances. My right hand spent as much time taking photos as it did shaking the hands of new acquaintances.
Plodding through the vast hall in a zig-zag manor I found myself feeling overwhelmed with excitement and fear or missing something, much like a kid in a toy store. There was literally something for everyone here, from precision race cars to purpose built show cars. I felt a sense of guilt as well, as one stand tries to outdo the other you feel you might bypass something really special. A sense of regret at not spending more than one day there.
For instance you could spend a whole day pouring over the intricate details of both modern and historic Formula 1 cars. I may be biased towards the older generation of cars with their raw lines but their modern counterparts are dripping with details dreamt up by the world’s best engineers.
Keeping an eye open on social media, I have already spotted a few cars that I completely missed. Most regrettably is the new Honda NSX – a car that I know pretty well as I did the online configurator for it, I am still yet to see one in person.
However one car did stop me in my tracks, it isn’t the most flashiest of cars there but I was overcome with the urge to sit in it and go tearing down some back roads. It was the Abarth 124 Rally. It is undeniably cute, I really, really want one. We will show you a bit more about this car over the next week or so.
The squadron of Group A Ford Sierra RS500’s left me a little shell shocked. Cars from the ’80s have a special place in my heart. Judging by the constant buzz around them, I am sure I was not alone in thinking so.
Mmm whale tail heaven!
Speaking of ’80s, this E30 M3 Rally car really caught my attention, I knew the shot I wanted, I even waited for about 5 minutes to get it. I was so enamoured that I completely missed the bagged E30 M3 right in front of me. That was equally as flawless. And this was much the same story as you walked around, you would look at one thing, and like a siren, you would be drawn to it, blinkered to stunning machinery around it.
Eventually Phil & I dragged ourselves away from the automotive candy store and headed to the live show arena.
The hour long show was a true automotive mix bag ranging from Stock Cars to legendary Rally Cars to new concept GT cars.
And whilst the show was entertaining, no one was showing off more than Liam Doran who was in full attack mode! With anti-lag on, he was putting on his own firework display.
Coming in hot…
…before disappearing in a cloud of smoke.
Words & Pictures: Dave Cox (ShootingDave)
Additional Pictures: Phil ‘Paps’ McCusker