Story and photos by Simon Wright
For British motor sport fans, the 2010 season starts at the National Exhibition Centre, near Birmingham. Now in its 20th year, the Autosport show brings together the best of motorsport for the fans to enjoy. This year the show was officially opened by motor sport legend, Sir Stirling Moss. The two public days drew large crowds, 10 percent up on last year, to cheer on Jenson Button, the new Formula 1 World Champion. Jenson was “blown away” by the turnout and great reception he received from fans each day.
The show covered nine halls at the NEC, with two of the halls used for live action shows, one hall dedicated to the Autosport engineering show and one hall for the PistonHeads High Performance car show. The main display was of the 2009 Grand Prix Grid, with most teams displaying their 2009 contenders, allowing fans to get very close to the cars and walk around each vehicle. The Championship-winning Brawn had pride of place at the front of the display on a raised plinth.
Another major display was representing the 60 years of Autosport magazine. This had various iconic cars on display, ranging from a 1950’s Maserati 250F, a Ford Lotus Cortina racing saloon, the iconic 1970s JPS Lotus 72 of Ronnie Peterson, Nigel Mansell’s 1992 Championship-winning Williams Renault and the amazing Audi Quattro rally car.
Rally fans also had a large display to represent the 30th anniversary of the World Rally Championship. The mighty Metro 6R4, Peugeot 205 and a couple of Subarus were displayed next to a Ford Focus Rally car from the 2009 Rally World Championship, with the unmistakable Lancia Stratos on a neighbouring stand.
On the Friday, The Historic Sports Car club, whose stand was filled with seven Formula 5000 cars, arranged for various of the original Formula 5000 drivers from the 1970s to attend a reunion along with another couple of famous faces popping in. British Formula 5000 champion of 1974 – Bob Evans, arrived a little late for the group shot, and multiple Le Mans winner Derek Bell also made a late appearance. Former British Olympic skier and British Formula 1 lady racer between 1976 and 1978 Davina Galica was also present. Others present included Willie Green, Chris Craft, Mike Wilds, Gordon Spice, Bob Marston, Clive Baker, Denis Leach, Cyd Williams and Patrick Sumner.
Other famous drivers seen at the show included David Brabham, Alexander Wurtz and British favourite all rounder Barrie ‘Wizzo’ Williams.
Classic Team Lotus can always be relied upon to give a good display. This year was no exception with a Jim Clark Lotus 32B Tasman Championship winning car from 1965, supported by a 1978 JPS Lotus 79 of Ronnie Peterson, a 1970 Gold Leaf Team Lotus 49 and a rare V12 Lamborghini-powered Lotus Type 102 from 1990 as driven by Derek Warwick.
Don Wales, grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell, and nephew of Donald Campbell is also following the family tradition of holding a World Land Speed record. Driving for the British Steam car team, Don set a World speed record for a steam powered car at Edwards Airforce base on August 26th, 2009. He averaged 148.308mph for the measured Kilometer, while teammate Charles Burnett III the day before broke the measured mile World Land Speed record with an average speed of 138.843mph
Overall the show was a great success and the 2011 show preparation is already under way.
2010 Autosport International Show Photo Gallery (photo credit: Simon Wright)
[Source: Simon Wright]