Direnza used this year’s event to meet with partners and talk business – but that doesn’t mean we missed all the great metal on display. Here are our highlights from Birmingham’s NEC…
Held at Birmingham’s NEC since 1991, this year’s Autosport International Show ran from January 10th to 13th, and attracted around 100,000 visitors.
Everything from Formula 1 machines to basic club racers and hot road cars were on display. You could also find yourself bumping into recognisable figures from the world of motorsport as they milled around the stands with regular punters. The Autosport show really is heaven for petrolheads.
This year, Direnza took the opportunity to meet existing partners and build relationships with new clients rather than have a display stand. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t have time to appreciate the quality of cars present at this year’s show.
Below are our highlights from the 2019 Autosport International.
Part of the event’s appeal is its Live Action arena, which hosts small-scale sprint races and stunts for wide-eyed visitors to enjoy. This year’s display included a brand new McLaren Senna owned by YouTube personality Shmee150.
Finished in gorgeous metallic paint, the 800bhp V8 hypercar also featured specially made, blue carbon fibre to match. We spotted the McLaren rubbing shoulders with Aston Martin’s new DBS Superleggera behind the arena, the Aston itself no slouch thanks to its 715bhp V12.
Elsewhere at the show, a McLaren P1 reminded us that the Senna wasn’t the only hypercar the British manufacturer could be proud of. Amazingly, the 727bhp P1 is six years old this October…
The Stuttgart manufacturer was one of few car companies to host an official stand at the NEC, and boy did it pull out the stops to make it memorable.
The Le Mans winning, mid-engined 911 RSR race car competed for attention against a new 935 and bright red 911 GT3 RS. Based on the latest GT2 RS, the 935 is a 700bhp track-only tribute to the original ‘Moby Dick’ racer of the 1970s, and is limited to just 77 units.
A peek through the driver’s window revealed a wonderful wooden-topped gear lever, just like that found in the competition machine. Although the new 935 boasts a seven-speed PDK auto rather than a manual gearbox.
The Focus Cup is a new championship for 2019, and operates on an Arrive & Drive basis. Drivers simply pay a fee for each event they want to attend, and the Focus Cup organisers take care of everything else, including the transporting and maintenance of vehicles.
At each event, drivers choose two numbers from a hat, and that decision decides the two cars they will race that weekend (each vehicle features unique branding – more details on that very soon!).
To further level the playing field, only the tyres follow drivers from one car to another. So if you cause a big brake lock-up in your first race, that flat spot on the tyre will haunt you in the next vehicle.
Focus Cup organisers approached Direnza to supply custom exhausts for all cars in the series, and of course we were happy to help. The cars are based on 2.0TDCi three-door versions of the Mk2 Ford Focus, the engine tuned to produce 175bhp with 310lb ft torque. Meanwhile, AST in Holland has supplied the coil-over suspension.
Sticking with fast Fords, one trader had brought along a Group 5 Zakspeed Capri – a turbocharged monster from the 1980s, complete with extreme bodywork and four-cylinder engine producing up to 600bhp.
The UK’s RenaultSport Club had gathered every RS model for a special celebration, climaxing with the latest 280bhp Megane. However, it was the stunning and super-rare Renault 5 Alpine Turbo which really captured our imagination.
Launched in 1982, the Alpine was known as the Gordini in the UK, and boasted a 112bhp, four-cylinder motor with Garrett T3 turbocharger. This example was registered in March 1983, but its gloss black paintwork looked factory fresh. Better still, the car still had its deep-dish Alpine alloys. Fantastic!