Held at the NEC in Birmingham since 1991, the annual Autosport show has come to be known as one of the UK’s biggest motorsport events on the calendar. Making my first trip over (although some of my companions had been before), I was unsure exactly what type of event to expect, given that I had only attended modified or classic shows at the NEC before. As befits it’s name though, I was pleased to find that the Autosport show was very much focused on Motorsport related technologies and services.
Spread over a number of the massive halls available in the NEC, the show runs for 4 days consecutively – 2 for trade (Thurs/Fri), and then 2 for Public (Sat/Sun). One of the halls was mainly reserved for car displays, with a wide selection of all levels of rally cars, GT cars, drift cars and even F1 cars on display – and everything else in between. Whilst most of the cars were there to promote some of the tuning firms and racing teams behind them, a large number were also showcasing newer technologies. A barebone frame of the new McLlaren MP4-12C supercar was a prime example, with a carbon fibre monocoque and extensive updated weight saving measures, not to mention the Thrust SCC car itself.
A second hall was dedicated mostly to Trade stands, with a wide variety of automotive businesses peddling their wares. This hall had some very impressive stands with such items as 8-pot carbon brakes on display, computer assisted machining processes, numerous types of motorsport camera technologies and much more.
A third hall was reserved for the Live Arena, which seemed to garner great praise across the board. With more than ample seating and 2 large screens for those who couldn’t get close to the action, spectators were treated to a mixed display of sprints and stunts from a wide variety of vehicles – stock cars, GT cars, drift cars, even Robin Reliant racing at the very end. Notable mention must be paid to the Sumo Power Nissan GTR, which wowed everybody by sheer virtue of its noise and power.
It must be said that the atmosphere at the show was very relaxed and friendly, with all show participants seemingly happy to give their time and attention for any questions relating to their areas of expertise. In addition, there were numerous distractions available for those times when you wanted a little more than just looking at the cars – the racing simulators and Caterham experiences being two terrific examples.
All in all, the show comes highly commended and I look forward – with any luck – to repeating the experience next January.