Since its inception in 1990, the Barber Dodge Pro Series has attended every year of the Autosport International Show in Birmingham, England. The past decade saw a tremendous amount of growth for both the Autosport International Show and the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Witness the fact that Autosport has become the most globally significant motorsports trade show of the year, attracting hoards of fans on the two public days to view displays, products and merchandise from nearly every level of motorsport. In that time as well, Barber Dodge has risen to premier status among the motor racing feeder formulae, giving rise to stars like Juan Pablo Montoya, Kenny Brack and many others.
Autosport was instrumental in several partner and driver relationships throughout the last decade, the most significant being with Reynard Motorsport. The relationship with the multi-CART Constructor champion was announced at Autosport in 1997, when Adrian Reynard and Skip Barber Operations Director Steve Sewell jointly informed the motorsports world on the collaboration. That show was the nucleus of the entire endeavor.
"We, along with Adrian Reynard, William Hewland (of Hewland Gearboxes) and others literally had the initial specs and sketches of what would become the Barber Dodge Reynard 98E on the floor of our booth at the show," said Sewell. "Together with some of the various other suppliers, we resolved what the design parameters of the car would be at Autosport."
The Barber Dodge Reynard eventually went on, after the initial sketches, to be the first car that Reynard designed, and tested solely with Computer Aided Design.
Autosport continues to be a meeting point for the Barber Dodge Pro Series technical staff to maintain relationships with all its European based technical partners and suppliers.
Driver relationships have also been cultivated and cemented over the years at Autosport. Sepp Koster, Giovanni Annapoli, Rino Mastronardi and Thomas Schie are among the many who came to become a part of the Barber Dodge alumni after having met with Barber Dodge representatives at Autosport.
"Over the years, almost one-third of our field has been 'international,'" said Barber Dodge Driver Relations Director Rick Ratajczak. "Although not all of those drivers came to us via Autosport, it is certainly an important venue for us to be in front of an international audience year after year."
For 2001, the Autosport International show at the NEC Birmingham promises to be one of the biggest and best ever. To that end, Barber Dodge will have its biggest European presence ever, stretching back to the mid-eighties when a show car was displayed at the Olympia in London. In addition to the Barber Dodge Reynard, a Formula Dodge R/T 2000 with a cut-away of the five-speed sequential gearbox will take center stage alongside its bigger, faster cousin. Also on hand will be more Barber Dodge representatives than ever before. Look for up to the minute reports direct from the show on skipbarber.com and barberdodge.com.
The Autosport International Show at the NEC Birmingham takes place on Jan. 11-14.