There’s the usual mix of displays and stands. Thursday and Friday are the two trade only days and also feature Autosport engineering which showcases the companies you need to build and maintain a racing car. This is replaced at the weekend by the Oval and extreme racing show, featuring everything you’d find at one of the countries many short oval tracks as well as other attractions such as dragsters from Santa Pod.
Displays this year include the usual F1 Racing grid display, featuring one car from each of the 2013 F1 teams. On the Historic side, there is a tribute to John Surtees, the only man to be world champion on two and four wheels. His display included many of his famous machines from both disciplines. Motorsport news have a display Focusing on the Rally GB including former winning cars of Colin Mcrae (97) and Richard Burns (2001). Dunlop’s stand is again devoted to the BTCC this year and it’s the BTCC that provided much of the shows first day news.
On the eve of the show, the MG Kx momentum team announced an unchanged line up for 2014, with Jason Plato and Sam Tordoff returning to drive the MG6. Marc Hynes joins Triple Eight, who run the KX Momentum team but his MG6 will be run as a separate entry. Speaking at the show, Hynes described some early testing worries;
“For the first few laps I felt like I’d forgotten how to drive!” came his surprising admission. “It even felt strange putting a helmet on, after over 5 years away. The car feels great though, the nearest thing I can compare it to, is the V8 Supercar I last drove. The change to front wheel doesn’t seem to be an issue though, although I would like more downforce!”
Welch Motorsport announced a new driver today with Ollie Jackson joining Daniel Welch at the team in a second Proton after running a Speedworks Toyota Avensis. He is keen to get going;
“I’ve been involved the chassis development so I’m keen to get going and contribute my bit to developing the car.”
Welch is pleased to have a team mate in the same car. “it’ll really help with development. We indentified all our week spots over the past season, we will work on these and fix them before the season starts. We should have a great car, the season is looking very exciting.”
Dave Newsham Unveiled the livery of his AMD Focus, having announced he was moving to the team late in 2013. The team will have support from Motorbase who built the car and team boss Shaun Hollamby is looking forward to running an NGTC car for the first time. With a car that’s previously won races being driven by a driver who has won races, the team have a great chance to leap up the grid and maybe take their first win. Hollamby is happy to have the team that built the car supporting their efforts;
“It’s great to have the support from Motorbase. The BTCC can be a bit of a high contact sport at times and so it’s good to be able to go to the garage next door to ask for a bumper or a wing if our parts bin starts to run low!”
Also unveiling his car for 2014 was Simon Belcher. He Graduates from the Renault Clio championship to a Speedworks built Toyota Avensis. He will be run by his own team, Handy Motorsport but with support from Speedworks. Belcher is already impressed with the support he has received from the team;
“Speedworks have been great, they ran us at the first test with the car and it went flawlessly. Their experience with the cars should help us in 2014.”
Rob Austin Racing unveiled new colours on one of their Audi A4’s today as Exocet fuel additives take full branding. The colour Scheme is similar to the one run on the car driven by Jake Hill in the final race of the season. The car will be entered under the name of Excocet racing. The team also have support from Duo Plc, continuing their backing from 2013 and Visual effect and signing company, Finch signs. There is no confirmation yet on who will run in the second Audi.
Rob Holland has announced he will be entering the championship full time in 2014 with an Audi S3 run by Rotek racing. Both the driver and team are from the US although the team has Uk premises to run its BTCC campaign from. The car is not yet complete and it’s likely to be a learning year for the team and driver. Holland has previously driven cars for Team Hard in a few one off outings, an S2000 Honda Civic in 2012 and an NGTC Vauxhall Insignia in 2013.
Honda Racing have one of last year’s Honda Civic’s on display on the Dunlop feature stand but they are showing off one of the new for 2014 Civic Tourers on the Team Dynamics stand. (Team Dynamics are the outfit behind Honda Racing.)
2013 champion Andrew Jordan has announced he has support from Red Bull for 2014 as he has become a Red Bull Athlete. His Helmet will now be in the famous Red Bull colours. It’s not thought that they will have logos on the car though.
There is an Ebay Motors BMW 1 series on display as well on another stand but they have so far made no announcements.
The BTCC itself today announced Haymarket as it’s new media partner, with reports and features appearing on various Haymarket publications and websites, including Autocar, Autosport and Pistonheads.com.
There may be other BTCC news during the show and we will bring you these in future reports.
Friday sees the last trade only day before the public show starts on Saturday.
We’ll be providing further coverage of the show throughout the weekend. By Marc Waller