The Autosport international show got underway once again on Thursday at the NEC in Birmingham. As usual there are a large amount of things to see and do around the show and over the next few days we’ll be reporting on some of the events, attractions and news at the show.
Many companies, championships and teams use the event to launch new ventures and this year is no exception. One of the first launches of the day was from BTCC Rob Austin racing who announced on the Dunlop stand that they would be racing with backing from Wix Filters in 2013. Rob will be joined by Will Bratt in the second car. We’ll have plenty of coverage of all the BTCC news and attractions at the show in another report over the weekend.
Also launched today were some new championships. Perhaps the most high profile was the MSV Formula 4 championship. Announced last year today saw the public debut of the new car on the MSV stand. Boss, former Formula 1 driver Jonathan Palmer was on hand to do the unveiling and he is excited about the potential of the new championship;
"The stage is set for the BRDC F4 championship to be an outstanding success and one that will produce the Jenson Buttons and Lewis Hamiltons of the future."
Another brand new series is the Aerial Cup. Using the Atom road car as a base, the racer features more enclosed bodywork, improved roll over protection and a 245bhp version of the Honda Type R 2 litre. Despite the additions the car only weighs 500kg. The championship will have full tv coverage and if the US championship is anything to go by, it should be a great success.
Another championship with news at the show is the Smart Fortwo cup. Now going into it’s third season, it now moves away from Britcar and joins up with the BRSCC, racing at the 3 of the clubs uk events, including races at Rockingham. Added to these will be races in Belgium and Holland, including the legendary circuits of Spa, Zandvort and Zolder. The existing multi class format will be kept, enabling drivers to compete no matter which version of the Smart they have. Another change though is the addition of some longer 45 minute races, meaning drivers get more track time for their money.
Another BRSCC championship with news is the Funcup UK. The VW Beetle shaped space frame racers will be changing to a single class format this year with all the cars changing to petrol engines with a sequential gearbox. The move seems to be popular among both their existing and new customers with a car being sold on the first day! JPR who run the Funcup are also displaying the latest Saker. This is a sleek, Le mans style GT with a Subaru engine. It’s eligible for many UK championships.
Auto Gp, the European based Single seater series, have the lastest version of their car on show. Still based on the cars that originally competed in the early years of A1gp, the cars now have updated bodywork and increased performance. With the demise of Formula 2, it’s now a good option for drivers who don’t have the budget for the F1 supporting GP3 and GP2 championships.
The stunning new Bentley GT3 car is on display on the Autosport stage. This beautiful but imposing car is eligible for the many championships around the world that accept GT3 cars. The car is expected to be raced by a factory supported team at some point during the 2013 season and if it proves competitive then customer cars may be sold.
Radical, the world’s biggest producer of racing and track day cars, are showing off the Brand new RXC (Radical Xtreme Coupe) for the first time. More than just a Radical with a roof, this all new car is powered by a Ford 3.7 V6. The car is capable of 175mph and can reach 62mph in just 2.8 seconds. It resembles a mini Le Mans car and is almost as quick!
The Sin 01 is an Anglo-German venture involving Sin Car GmbH of Germany and Pro Formance metals from the UK. Aimed at GT racing it has a 6.2 litre Chevrolet V8 producing a considerable 500Bhp. With the car weighing 1500Kg it’s going to be quick. A road legal version is also in development. The show is the cars world debut.
Despite the show being primarily a racing car show, Suzuki are launching two special edition models of it’s Swift at the show. With no UK motorshows taking place anymore, Manufacturers are increasingly turning to motorsport based events to launch their road models with the Goodwood festival of speed in the summer also becoming a favoured launching platform.
Ford are another road car manufacturer with a stand at the show but this one does have a motorsport purpose with the debut of the new Formula Ford car that will be supporting the BTCC season. Now using slick tyres and with wings front and rears, it will be considerably faster than its predecessor but the hope is to still have the close racing that the championship is famous for.
The show is open for the trade again on Friday 11th January (The final day of the engineering exhibition.) With the public days taking place on Saturday (12th) and Sunday (13th). Tickets are available at the show. We’ll have more show news in our report tomorrow. By Marc Waller