Autosport International returned to the NEC with a packed programme of features, showcasing the best and latest in the world of motorsport.
The F1 Racing feature included the 2017 Ferrari Formula 1 car SF70H as well as the 2004 title winning F2004 and the 2017 World Endurance Championship winning GTE-Pro AF Corse 488 GTE.
They appeared as part of Ferrari’s Corse Clienti showcase, Ferrari’s ultra exclusive programme which puts those with the means in the driving seat of Ferrari’s retired F1 cars.
Over the years Autosport International has seen the launch of many anniversaries and this year was no exception with Cosworth marking their 60th year as does the British Touring Car Championship.
With an array of historic touring cars on display it was a great way to launch the Diamond Anniversary of one of the UK’s most popular Championships. The new Alfa Romeo Giulietta of HMS Racing, formerly Handy Motorsport was a highlight. Team principal Simon Belcher and driver Rob Austin were on hand to do the honours, Austin stated: “We are so proud to finally be unveiling the new Alfa, everyone in our team has put in an incredible amount of work to keep the project on schedule while maintaining an impressive attention to detail.” he went on to say “All in all, we are in a very good place. We have a great team of guys here who have built a beautiful BTCC car which, on paper, looks to be a notable step forward from our previous car. We have great support from some fantastic partners, we have reintroduced a truly iconic brand back into top level UK motorsport…all this and it’s only January 11th!”
Belcher added: “It’s very emotional to see the response to the Alfa Romeo we have designed and built ourselves from the ground up. I did a very hard thing in stepping out of the driving seat myself in the BTCC to spend more time overseeing the team’s progress and then developing such a stunning car. Our engineer Matt Taylor and the rest of the team have done an incredible job and I am extremely proud of what we have achieved. However, a beautiful car is only part of the journey – now we need to make it win!”
Meanwhile Power Maxed Racing announced that Josh Cook, will join them at the wheel of their Vauxhall Astra for their 2018 campaign. AMDTuning also made the announcement that they would be concentrating fully on BTCC adding a further two cars to their line up, the team which currently runs two Audi S3’s to be helmed by Sam Smelt and Ollie Jackson, will also be adding two MG’s, with drivers to be announced over the next few weeks. The team will also not now be running teams in British GT and the Le Mans Cup.
A much anticipated feature was the unveiling of the Ginetta LMP1 and it didn’t disappoint. The company which also celebrates its 60th anniversary unveiled the G60-LT-P1. With the big changes ahead in the World Endurance Championships this was a very exciting look ahead to the new super season.
Lawrence Tomlinson, Chairman of Ginetta, said: “I’m delighted to finally be able to unveil our latest machine to the motorsport industry, and what better time than at the start of our 60th year of manufacturing. Ginetta has a long history of international success in with the G55 GT4, LMP3 and G57. The LMP1 will be a strong contender in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and at Le Mans. We have a great team of Design Engineers in Leeds, have worked with some excellent partners on the project, and can’t wait to show you what the LMP1 is made of out on track.”
In British GT the big news was the return of Jaguar to the Championship after an eleven year absence. Invictus Games Racing, a collaboration between Invictus Games and James Holder, Superdry co-founder and former British GT driver, will run the bespoke F-TYPE SVR GT4’s, to be driven by wounded, injured and sick British Armed Services personnel veterans.
The team have worked closely with Mission Motorsport to help select and train drivers. Each driver will be teamed with a Pro driver, with two Am drivers per car, they will alternate on a race by race basis. The Am drivers are Steve McCulley and Paul Vice who will be partnered by Matthew George, while Ben Norfolk and Basil Rawlinson will be partnered by Jason Wolfe.
The World Rally Championship launched the 2018 season at the show ahead of the January season opener at Monte Carlo, with World champions Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia opening the show alongside M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson. It was announced that Ford were extending support to M-Sport, winner of both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles in 2017. The renamed M-Sport Ford World Rally Team will receive additional technical help from Ford Performance in USA, as well as extra financial backing. While Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja made their first official appearance as Toyota Gazoo Racing drivers after joining the team for the 2018 season.
In the live action arena Billy Monger partnered stunt driver Terry Grant after working closely with Mission Motorsport, the armed forces motorsport charity who helped in his rehabilitation process.
Autosport International Gallery……
Allison Remzi Images ©Paul Foster www.fozzyimages.co.uk