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Autosport International - The Racing Car Show 12-15 Janaury 2012, NEC, Birmingham (Part1)


New Directions? Tony Cotton brings politically incorrect cynicism to a show he thoroughly enjoyed.

Having missed a year (when I was kindly invited to the Classic Car show instead to drool over Rover P5Bs), Aon invited me to the Autosport Show again this year. As regular readers will know, I try to find a theme in the show, and this year I think it might have been change of direction. Mono has a new sponsor, which is good, but the number of current sub-F1 single seaters around seems to be diminishing all the time. Formula Ford may have been there, but I didn't come across it, and the other national single seater championships were low key. That the latest F3 Dallara (F312) made it's debut in an "F3 through the ages" exhibition on the HSCC stand says a lot.

If single seaters seem to be flavour of the month only in F1 and Mono, the ascent of track days and of non-MSA sport continues. As do colleges and universities offering motosrport courses. However, there were far fewer stands selling high end preparation products - polish from Endangered Species earwax, Unicorn Tears screenwash, you know the stuff.

Mono People

The start of my visit, and representing a major event for the club, had to be at Monoposto's new sponsor, St Cross Electronics, where Dax Ward gave me a quick run down. The company has been going for many years, and was bought by Dax and Adrian Jukes about 10 years ago. With a business originating in telecoms, it was a small step to the defence and motorsport products they have now expanded to. Dax was able to show me a beautiful example of a loom for Nascar; the main cable was about 10mm thick, and contained around 60 individual wires, terminating in a military water and nuke-proof spec plug which was foolproof even for accountants or Americans. (My joke, not Dax's). They really looked beautiful and it's nice to think that a little bit of Hampshire is going around in the most American of motorsports.

Nascar loom Dax & Adrian

The rear wing of the Red Bull provides the daily work of Darren Freeman

The crowds beat a path to the HSCC stand where they were delighted to see Jim Blockley's RT3. Several young female "groupies" were inconsolable when told the pin-up boy of Mono was not making a personal appearance.

Electric Cars

Motorsport has to be green, it seems. Or at least appear green. So we had cars like Lord Drayson's Lola, former Labour Minister of Science.Undoubtedly a fantastic technical tour de force, and just the sort of original thinking we might expect from a man who made his fortune from vaccinations by compressed air, withour needles. But whilst, like the F1 cars with KERS, it saves petrol, the resources to produce it must be huge and the fuel in transporting it to the circuit and getting the infrastructure and team there is just the same as its polluting cousin. Nevertheless, good to see innovation.

 

 

 

Porsche 918RSR looked stunning. A bit like a vintage Porsche crossed with a Ferrari 430. That should offend everybody. 550bhp V8, 200bhp motors powered by....

 

....flywheel in passenger well. Even hardened Monposti would surely like this sort of green car. Comuta-Car, produced by Commuter Vehicles, was in the auction. Batteries werre in the bumpers and it was based on the 1974 Sebring-Vanguard CitiCar (Florida USA). Drayson-Lola was a technical tour de force.....
...based on LMP1 Lola as shown on Racecar Engineering stand. The "business end" looked great, ungeared motor. Just a tad of Elise Mk1 in side view of 918RSR. Formulec electric single seater claimed 0-100kph in 3 sec, 250kph max, 1 hour charge and 25 mins endurance.

F1

The days of simulated grids are long gone, now the cars are parked up behind tensa barrier.

Red Bull RB7 Steering wheel looks as garish as a video game from the 90's to aid quick ID, one assumes McLaren had correct shade of grey air in tyres Force India looked good...
...unlike Curborough Special -style livery on Marussia Virgin World's fastest Locaterfield Williams sponsored by freedom-loving Venezuela. McLaren play down the Bahrein connections. Steve Griffin will be having a Torro Rosso engine cover in his office soon, combined art, racing and carbon fibre.

Senna

There was a themed area devoted to Senna, appropriate following the terrific film and the DVD which has ended up in every racing fan's Christmas stocking. No complaints there. Also, thanks to the show organisers for really good ligting which made photographs easy.

The Kart of Ayrton Da Silva, as he then was. Toleman TG183 (Rory Byrne / John Gentry)

Toleman TG184 (Rory Byrne / John Gentry)

Lotus 99T (Gerard Ducarouge / Martin Olgivie)
   
Gordon Murray designed 1988 MP4/4 Honda still looks superb today. 1993 committee designed MP4 /8 is less satisfying in appearance, but still beautiful    

Part 2 to follow.

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: The above represents only the unofficial view of the writer and not of the Monoposto Racing Club in any way whatsover. Subheadlines and captions are not originated from the named author. We are unable to reproduce results due to copyright reasons. If any pictures are copyright and the owner wishes them removed please email us.