Motorsport reconvened today as the 2008 season got underway in style with the Autosport International Show at Birmingham's NEC. Headline events included the unveiling of Ford's latest offering in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), the ...
Motorsport reconvened today as the 2008 season got underway in style with the Autosport International Show at Birmingham's NEC.
Headline events included the unveiling of Ford's latest offering in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), the announcement from Vauxhall's British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) works team VX Racing that it will run a third driver this year with Tom Onslow-Cole and the hard-working Prodrive stand, which built and dismantled its 2008 WRC Subaru every four hours to entertain the tremendous crowds.
"We decided to do something different with building the car in situ this year," said Prodrive Chairman and Chief Executive David Richards, who also unveiled the 2008 Aston Martin that will compete in this season's Le Mans 24 Hours. "We don't build them in four hours normally but it shows people what goes into the cars.
"We've got a real diversity of interest on the stand this year with the rally appeal of the Subaru and the Aston Martin keeping the race enthusiast satisfied. We've had an excellent day today; a lot of interest."
David Richards presents new cars on the Prodrive stand
The show attracted a wide variety of visitors including some local Aston Villa footballers, midfielder Stiliyan Petrov among them, who were visiting the SEAT Sport UK stand as it announced plans to run a two-car diesel assault on the BTCC this season. "The players were really into the racing," said Darren Turner, who races for SEAT in the BTCC. "Any person who does sport can appreciate another person at the top of their game; it's impressive! "
SEAT Sport UK unveiled its new diesel Leon for the 2008 BTCC
ITV F1's Louise Goodman presided over the Live Action Arena, where cars were choreographed to create the maximum impact for cheering crowds.
"One of the great things about the show is the huge range of variety from all the different branches of motorsport," said Louise. "The key thing about the Live Action Arena is that you get to see some of those cars in action; if you're a motorsport fan that's the key thing.
"The dragster is new for this year and one of the things I love most about it is the noise; you can actually feel it through your entire body!"
Plenty is still planned for the show over the next three days. Formula One takes centre-stage tomorrow, as brand-new team Force India unveils its 2008 car after today announcing its driver line-up of Giancarlo Fisichella supported by Adrian Sutil.
Also, former F1 drivers Jean Alesi and Johnny Herbert will be promoting the new Speedcar Series they are signed up for and Herbert will be taking part in the charity kart race.
Autosport International will be open to the public on Saturday 12 to Sunday 13 January 2008 with trade days on Thursday 10 and Friday 11 January. Adult tickets start at 28.00 GBP per day with children's tickets costing 18.50 GBP.
To book, visit www.autosport-international.com or call 0044 (0)870 040 0396.