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Matt James guides you through the highlights at this week’s Autosport International Show
utosport International is the traditional curtain-rasier for the season ahead, and this year it will offer more than ever before. From grand prix racing through to the grassroots sport in the UK, it is all contained under one roof.
Headlining it all is Williams Martini Racing, which will once again build up its F1 paddock motorhome inside the show halls of the NEC – it is a giant structure that is usually off limits to the public.
Alongside that, the British team will showcase some of the greatest cars from its successful past that have landed it numerous titles, with the likes of Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill at the wheel. It is the 40th anniversary of Williams, and it will create an interactive display to engage fans with its history. It will also have an FW07, the first car to win for Williams, on hand.
The deputy team principal Claire Williams will attend the show on Sunday and will be interviewed on the main Autosport stage.
Alongside her appearance, there will be a chance to find out more about Williams Advanced Engineering, the part of the firm that is forging a strong reputation, particularly for its work with renewable energy. between 1967 and 1970, with such notable drivers as Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Mario Andretti and Jochen Rindt. Sports Car Club’s collection to celebrate 50 years of Formula Ford.
It all began at Brands Hatch in early July 1967, and it has literally spawned hundreds of motor racing stars since.
The collection will feature the car that started it all, the Lotus 51, plus a version of the Van Diemen RF81 – the car that Ayrton Senna used when he first came to the UK to make his name.
The display in hall six will showcase how the cars have developed in the five decades since that important launch. Vic Elford, drivers from the latest generation of mind-blowing supercars will be there to meet the fans.
Andreas Bakkerud and Liam Doran will be joined by British Rallycross Championship sensation Dan Rooke, and the maestro himself, ‘Mr Rallycross’ Martin Schanche.
There will be a number of universities offering an insight into the courses they offer, as well as specialist companies who will show the best route into motorsport.