Words: Daniel Allard | Photography: Jonny Smith
It only feels like a week ago we attended the Lancaster Classic car show at the Birmingham NEC (2 months really does fly). We were back visiting the same venue but this time to see what Autosport 2017 had to offer.
Autosport is always a good way to start the year, it is Europe’s largest indoor pre-season motorsport event and it features the latest in motorsport, automotive and performance engineering technology, alongside cars and exhibitors from every level of motor racing, with the occasional show car thrown in for good measure. The show provides the perfect platform for members of the industry to meet, network and do business as well as enthusiasts like us to see what the world of motorsport has to offer in the year ahead.
This year we attended one of the two trade days which meant we were able to have a first look at what the parts manufacturers have been developing. The show provides everything from suspension components to motorsport communication systems. The Autosport Engineering hall brings out the inner child in any petrolhead, whether you are there to just have a nose or are looking to upgrade your car. It was great to see a lot of components up close that would usually be tucked away. One company that stood out was Brembo and their new calipers.
An impressive highlight of the show was this this year, there were 10, yes 10 RS 500's, all parked next to each other! These cars had travelled from as far as Australia to be shown together which had taken 6 months to organise. We love the 80/90's era of motorsport, the cars, liveries and how they were built. Our personal favourite livery was the Mach5 wearing a set of BBS E50's.
We managed a quick chat with one of the guys from the RS500 forum whilst looking at the red Shell Ultra H1 car and we quickly learnt, that this is one of the most successful RS500's ever raced. Piloted by Dick Johnson, this and its sister car dominated the Australian Touring car circuit in the late 80's and early 90's. Normally after a race the car would be retired and it would change hands with collectors retaining a piece of classic car history however not this car, it is stilll owned by the same person who picked it up in 1987, that has to be a first?
Walking around the show it was nice to see the guys from Liberty Walk making a big impact within the Motorsport crowd. The owner, Kato shipped his Lamborghini and Ferrari over from Japan in 2016, to do a tour of Europe and help with the growth of Liberty Walk's ever expanding empire. This was the first time we got to see the cars in the flesh and I was very impressed with the high end finish. This was the last event for the cars this side of the world, the cars are now going to be shipped back to Japan and hopefully we will get to see Kato's latest creations back over here at the end of this year. Big thank you to Indy from The Performance Company for allowing us a look around the stand and as always it was great to have a catch up.
As expected, Formula One plays a big part in the show and it was nice to see the multi-million pound developed cars from last year’s race season. It was also good to see cars from previous seasons dotted around the show, some as far back as the 60’s.
Walking around the Team Lotus display it was great to see the cars up close and in person and I couldn’t help but think you have to be completely mental to race them. Not just for the fact that these cars have practically zero safety or driving aids but the fuel tanks sit directly behind engine at the most rear point of the car, we can all guess what would happen if the car was rear ended.
The guys from Team Lotus didn’t only have a great selection of cars on display, but also some of the original car schematics and drawing equipment used to design the cars, a far cry from how this season’s Formula One cars are designed.
I love a model! Maybe its because I spent many of my Sunday mornings at car boot sales when I was younger, hunting out die cast cars and its obvious the attraction is still there. When I saw some 1:8 scale cars in a lit up glass cabinet I was naturally drawn in. The Amalgam Collection had a great selection of cars on display from a Ferrari 250 GTO to the McLaren MP4/4 car you see below.
Next up for us is Ultimate Dubs 2017 on the 12th of March at the Telford International Centre. If you’re visiting please don’t forget to come say hello and check out our brand new range of apparel and another selection of cars on display.