by Chris Mace and Catalina George
The 27th Autosport International racing car show hits the ground at Birmingham NEC with heavy horsepower and adrenaline pumping attractions. Opening on Saturday January 14th to the public, the event exhibits big industry brands together with big names in the racing scene.
Jacques Villeneuve, 1997 Formula 1 World Champion, will open the show on Sunday. He will also feature in the 11:30 and 14:00 Live Action Arena display, according to the organisers.
Prior to the event, Villeneuve said:
“Autosport International is at the heart of what both drivers and fans love about racing. It is an opportunity to indulge in all things motorsport. I’m very excited to share my stories and my experiences of my life behind the wheel, twenty years on from winning the Formula 1 World Championship. I’m also looking forward to meet the fans who have supported my racing career for over 30 years.”
Watch the live demo in the arena filmed on Thursday January 12th, for a taster of what is in store at the weekend:
Situated at the back of Hall 20, in an aircraft hangar, the Live Action Arena features a big open area for stunt driving and indoor racing. The live shows here display rally cross simulated races and stunts demos. Be warned, it gets loud and dusty!
Visitors with a taste to experience real action can use the so-called Adrenaline Zone, for a drift experience with a trained driver or to use the full karting track. We presented the demo of the Ginetta drifting experience in our above video. Costing £20, this includes two laps and a photograph taken of the guest, the car and the driver.
Virtual Reality also enhances the overall experience for visitors. On a quick stroll around the exhibition, we noticed at least 5 simulators, which give drivers the opportunity to see what it would be really like to drive a race car.
One of the participants on the first day, open to trade only, tested one of the simulators. Watch him as he talks about his experience:
The show features a full collection of 2016’s F1 cars, including the Mercedes-Benz which Nico Rosberg drove to win the world title. Williams Formula One team and Lotus display historic racers and world championship winning machines. Seen live, they can strike the viewer with their real dimensions: more than 6 metres long, but less than a meter tall.
Stand after stand in the main exhibition area, from kart racing vehicles to big SUV types, big industry producers display their best. See the gallery for a preview of what is on show.
This edition of the biggest preseason car show in Europe marks William’s 40th anniversary, with Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, and Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering, participating on Sunday.
Names well known to fans, such as Martin Brundle, Derek Warwick, Johnny Herbert and Kenneth Hansen, also feature during the two days of the show at NEC Birmingham.