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.
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.
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.
The days of simulated grids are long gone, now the cars are parked up behind tensa barrier.
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.
Part 2 to follow.
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