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F1 cars return to the streets of London at the 2016 Regent Street Motor Show

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F1 cars return to the streets of London at the 2016 Regent Street Motor Show
Nov 5, 2016, 8:24 PM

Formula 1 machinery returned to the streets of central London today as part of the Royal Automobile Club’s 2016 Regent Street Motor Show.

Formula 1 machinery returned to the streets of central London today as part of the Royal Automobile Club’s 2016 Regent Street Motor Show.

James Hunt’s title winning 1976 McLaren M23 and a Red Bull RB6 display car were lined up on the road - closed to traffic from Piccadilly Circus up to Oxford Street for the day - alongside approximately 200 machines from the last 125 years of motoring history.

JAonF1 went a long to sample the atmosphere at the annual free-to-view event.

Regent Street Motor Show

“Everyday motoring can be boring and what we’ve got here is a whole range of different kinds of cars, cars you don’t normally see,” explained Nick Wigley CEO of Goose Live Events, the organisers of the Regent Street Motor Show.

The cars on display included 100 entrants from the 2016 Bonhams Veteran Car run - all built before 1905 - that were exhibited throughout the day as part of the event’s International Concours d’Elegance gathering that takes place a day before those taking part set off on their annual trip from London to Brighton.

The drivers and passengers were not hard to spot either - there were plenty of tweed jackets, bowties, caps, goggles and splendid oversize moustaches on display - and they merrily posed with their machines, showing them off to veteran car enthusiasts and passing tourists alike.

Regent Street Motor Show

While the veteran car zone took up a large part of the Show, which was divided into four main areas (classic motoring, low emission motoring and motoring today were the others), there were many other machines on show.

The Red Bull display car and James Hunt’s M23 attracted plenty of interest, with many people crowded around them snapping photographs and posing for selfies.

So too was Hunt’s son Freddie, who was busy signing books commemorating his father’s F1 world title win 40 years ago.

Freddie Hunt

“[It’s been] really good,” he told JAonF1. “Great enthusiasm from all the fans and the people here. It’s really nice and a good turn out with lovely cars - it’s great. A bit bloody cold though, but apart from that it’s good.”

Hunt, who was “very proud” to see his father’s title winning machine attracting interest from the crowd, described how he and his family have been celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1976 season.

“We’ve been doing lots of things and a whole number of events for Dad’s anniversary,” he said. “The most recent one was at the RAC club on 40 years to the day that he won the championship. We had a drinks reception there and it was great. We’ve done a lot, it’s been a good year.”

James Hunt McLaren M23

Wigley explained that F1 machinery is not always part of the show’s make up as the organisers try to showcase a varied range of cars from year-to-year.

“We try and change the mix of cars that are in it,” he said. “There’s always the veteran cars because it’s linked to the running tomorrow and this is the concourse for it, but we also try and have a really good mix of classic cars of some sort and then cars of the future of some sort.”

The low emission motoring zone featured a fleet of hybrid and electric models supplied by Renault, BMW, Audi, Toyota, Mitsubishi, VW, KIA and Nissan, as part of the Go Ultra Low initiative.

Regent Street Motor Show

Visitors were also given the chance to explore one of Transport for London’s new electric buses, which are being introduced to the city in a phased rollout starting this year.

“[TFL] see this event as being a great way to publicise what they are doing for Go Ultra Low and everything,” explained Wigley. “Our whole idea behind this event is that it covers 125 year’s of motoring. So we have the veteran car runs, all your pre-1900 stuff, and then we’ve got a really nice range of classic cars.

“But we want cars of the future too. With the electric cars, all the manufacturers supply the Go Ultra Low [examples]. They are their next models and you can go as a visitor and drive one around the nearby square, which is fantastic. It’s a joint thing and it’s about the whole 125 years of motoring not just concentrating on one area.”

Wigley reckoned that an average of 450,000 people would visit the show, which has been going since 2005. The numbers are tracked by the Regent Street Association and TFL by measuring the number of people leaving the nearby tube stations and coming up onto the street.

Regent Street Motor Show

There was a noticeable mix of people milling around: the veteran car enthusiasts, families and tourists, and shoppers clutching bags of early Christmas presents.

As well as the cars on display, the Steve Colley’s stunt motorcycle team performed throughout the day, as did the West End Kids singing and dancing troupe. Topping off the festival atmosphere at the street’s northern intersection with Oxford Street, were with a pair of driving simulator rides, one of which came complete with Lewis Hamilton’s voice booming out.

“The Regent Street Motor Show really does have something for everyone: the cars on display represent motoring history in its entirety, from the earliest days of the horseless carriage to the electric vehicles we will all be driving tomorrow,” said Peter Read, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club’s Motoring Committee.

“We were also delighted to honour James Hunt’s fantastic achievement 40 years ago, which the Club has been celebrating throughout the year.”

Have you been to the Regent Street Motor Show? Would you attend in the future? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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