So if the lead up to Christmas & New Years Eve isn’t busy enough, then for the many involved the extra added stress – literally – of the Autosport International Show at the NEC in Birmingham isn’t always the most welcome! In fact it has been known that Autosport can sneak up & arrive even quicker! What is the accepted season opener & first major event for the motorsport community allows manufacturers, racing teams, drivers, retailers, tuners & plenty of others I can’t think of a chance to showcase their hard work & business deals for the coming 2017 season. It is also a great excuse to see brand new cars unveiled too!
Held over four days from a Thursday to a Sunday, the first two days are for trade, members of certain clubs & the Colleges & Universities that dabble or are full on into areas of motorsport. The Saturday & Sunday are the public days with the show losing its “Engineering Halls” to make way for extra clubs, traders & other associations linked to the event. The other two linked shows if you like are the Performance Car Show which this year had the added spectacle of 11 race-spec Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworths. This was to mark 30 years since the touring car monster – though no Godzilla – roaring onto the scene. Well … more a mewing in comparison to the Godzilla, but I’m sure you get the idea! The RS500 was an evolution special being a tuned-up version of the standard Sierra RS Cosworth incorporating changes such as a bigger turbo, aero kit & other tweaks to enhance its racing abilities. The racing versions won 40 races back-to-back & today can now command a selling/buying price of over 50K! There was also the COYS Auction which is another established part of Autosport.
So four days, 200 odd exhibitors & a great mix of aftermarket parts, tuners, cars, drivers, teams, the infamous live shows, promo girls & the odd car club too – wink, wink! Which brings us nicely to the fact that the 2017 GTROC stand was there for the Saturday & Sunday in the Engineering Halls as part of the four day show. However before I continue lets have a look at some of the other highlights of this years Autosport International :
Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes-AMG F1 car was on display from the man who came, saw & conquered in 2016 F1 & then retiring at the end of the season.
The future of single-seater motorsport came in the shape of the zero-emissions Jaguar racer that is competing in 2017s Formula E championship for electric cars.
The famous Williams F1 team is 40 years old in 2017, so they came to Autosport with a fully interactive stand & featured classics from the teams past such as Nigel Mansell’s Williams F1 car complete with ‘Red 5’ on the nose cone!
WRC rallying has been overhauled for 2017 with the season promising to be the most exciting & dramatic in years. Cars are faster & finally looking like rallying thrillers once again !?!! Hey I just heard the term, I didn’t come up with it!
You don’t need a six-figure budget to go tin-top saloon car racing – yes you, that is you could do a season in an MG hot hatch for around £6,000 !!! Which by the way ladies & gents by motorsport standards is very cheap indeed!
YOUTUBE star & Gumball3000 “Baller” Shmee150 was showing off two of his cars. The first was the Aston Martin Vantage GT8 which he has only just taken delivery of & his McLaren 675LT. What wasn’t mentioned was the GTROC had its own Gumball 3000 “Baller” who was in last years as well as this years event. There is fierce competition between the Gumball teams to sticker up each others cars with their team stickers! Lets just say that Shmee 150 was hit in style … & more than once too !!!
Hot Fiat tuning division Abarth revealed a 124 Rally Motorsport Special producing up to 300hp with a six-speed sequential gearbox, full roll cage & ‘many’ other modifications. Thus making it eligible for many a race series all over the world as well as looking good too!
Many of this years photos was aimed at the classic rallying Audi Quattro which still looks sensational. More than 30 years on the car that turned WRC rallying on its head continues to fascinate. It’s the excitement of cars like this that WRC 2017 mentioned earlier is hoping to reignite.
Bentley is winning in GT3 racing & assisting them is the big Continental GT3-R. You really had to see this car in the flesh as to be honest I think the British GT racing grids will be cowering a little at just the sight of this car. It certainly doesn’t hang around either!
Liberty Walk were in attendance with more unique vehicles sporting their bodykits. This year a low-slung Ferrari was demonstrated which Liberty Walk will happily graft on to your Ferrari & lower the entire body almost onto the ground! However finding out that singer Justin Bieber has the Liberty Walk 458 may be enough to put some off, lol!
Previously mentioned the COYS Autosport International auction took place & it was not just racers & supercars that were for sale. Everyone was commenting on the gorgeous Ferrari Dino 246 GT in as about as perfect condition as you could get without it being brand new! It was up for sale at a guide price between £250,000-£280,000!
For more photos including some of the above, see our gallery on the GTROC Facebook Page here with thanks to all the photographers involved – HERE
So the 2017 GTROC Stand theme for this year by the organisers was road to race – so in other words a standard’ish version of our cars next to a motorsport one! So once the Club had confirmation from the organisers our Members & Sponsors quickly stepped up to give us one of the most impressive stands yet for this annual event!
Autosport International is the one event that the GTROC attends annually for the GTROC – ie. the actual club unlike any other event or show. However the end game of this event is by showcasing the club, it gives the Board & Management the opportunity to network, meet new contacts, catch up with old contacts & talk to those in the industries to gain future benefits for the clubs members – the most important people. These benefits can take form from anything from discounts on products, free entry to shows / events & even days out at little to no cost – the Blancpain GT Championships being one of these as an example! The reverse side though which is also positive is that members of the public as well as other Skyline/Stage/R35 owners & enthusiasts can meet & talk with actual GTROC Club Members on the stand. New friends can be made as well as new future members too! So all said & done this year the GTROC Stand had this awesome line up for the public on the Saturday & Sunday of the event :
- Motorsport – The NITRON R35 GT-R 750R courtesy of Severn Valley Motorsport (SVM).
- Road – The R35 GT-R of GTROC Member Nurburgringgtr.
- Motorsport – The GUMBALL 3000 R34 GT-R courtesy of ‘Nismoman’.
- Road – The R34 GT-R Victory Spec Edition courtesy of GTROC Member ‘Goghat’.
- Motorsport – The R33 GT-R courtesy of GTROC Member ‘Purleskyline’.
- Road – The R33 GT-R courtesy of GTROC Member ‘Mudflap’.
- Motorsport – The Veilside R32 Evolution III-R GT-R courtesy of ‘Speed Merchant’.
Then there was those cars on the stand that were just a little bit more special for the public :
- Road Special – The QASHQAI GT-R! – Severn Valley Motorsport’s amalgamation of an R35 GT-R & a Qashqai.
- Motorsport Special – SKYDAT! The amalgamation of a Datsun 120 & an R32 GT-R! – Courtesy of GTROC Member ‘Bobdawekder’.
- Road Special – The UK’s on NISMO R35 GT-R N-Attack courtesy of GTROC Member ‘Grimblin Godfather Gibbon’ – also another GUMBALL 3000 car!
- Motorsport Special – The NISMO GT1 R35 GT-R courtesy of GTROC Member ‘Nismoman’.
- Road Special – The KPC10 (Hakosuka) of GTROC Sponsors ‘TheGTRShop’.
So as someone pointed out on the Sunday, at the GTROC Stand this year-apart from the obvious – we had :
- The UK’s only genuine Veilside R32 Evolution III-R GT-R.
- The “only” R32 GT-R at Autosport International 2017.
- The UK’s only NISMO R35 N-Attack GT-R at Autosport International 2017.
- The “only” NISMO GT-R at Autosport International 2017.
- The “only” stand with two genuine GUMBALL 3000 cars.
So we would like to extend a special thank you to all the GTROC Members who drove to Birmingham under the threat of snow & allowed us to use their cars on this years stand. Without you it may have been a large lonely stand!
Mention also needs to go to the GTROC Straight Line Coordinator “Ludders” who’s Yellow R33 GT-R drag car had pride of place on the Millers Oil stand for the whole four days!
We’d like to thank GTROC Member ‘Sidepipe’ for organising the Saturday evening meal in the nearby Resort World for everyone there at the event.
A special thank you also needs to go out to Kevin who is the owner & latest GTROC Sponsor valeting firm Alltorqueuk. All the initial plans for washing & valeting the GTROC cars on the Friday night setup went out the window as mother nature had other plans! The temperature plummeted to about minus five which caused many headaches including the waste water freezing on the service road & the actual cars as they were being washed! However going above & beyond Kevin stayed on to the early hours of Saturday morning & then discretely spent the Saturday finishing off the valeting on each car. Check out his website on www.alltorqueuk.com.
Thank you Autosport International 2017, we look forward to seeing you next year …