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ACTION-PACKED FIRST DAY AT AUTOSPORT INTERNATIONAL12-Jan-2017
The first day of Autosport International has been a great success with a host of launches, star-studded interviews and a wide range of features to entertain the crowds.
Focal point for the 2017 event is the stunning Williams Martini Racing 40th Anniversary feature. A spectacular celebration of four decades of the much-loved British F1 team, it incorporates an immersive and engaging experience that sees visitors enter through a 1977 Williams F1 pit garage, go on a tour of 40 years of the famous team and emerge in a 2017 Williams F1 pit garage.
If that wasn’t enough, Williams has brought with it an eye-catching collection of its famous heritage cars including the FW07, which gave Williams its first victory, Nigel Mansell’s 1992 Drivers’ Championship-winning FW14B, Damon Hill’s 1996 Drivers’ Championship-winning FW18 and the 2003 Monaco GP-winning FW25.
The experience also incorporates a completely revamped Autosport Stage, which was surrounded by crowds throughout the day, with appearances from a host of famous faces, including former F1 driver Martin Brundle, Aston Martin FIA WEC driver Darren Turner and M-Sport boss and former WRC driver Malcolm Wilson.
Just next door is another feature that cannot be missed: a world-first Classic Team Lotus assembly of all seven remaining Lotus 49s, complete with former engineers Dick Scammell, Bob Dance and Herbie Blash also in attendance.
With the first Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) race just under three months away, Autosport International has played host to a flurry of news from the series including a livery unveiling by Andrew Jordan, who removed the wraps from his new Pirtek-branded BMW 125i M Sport.
Motorbase Performance revealed that Martin Depper and Luke Davenport complete its driver line-up for the 2017 British Touring Car Championship alongside the already-announced Mat Jackson. They will pilot three striking Shredded Wheat-backed Ford Focuses.
The Live Action Arena has reverberated to the sound of rallycross with a celebration of 50 years of the high octane sport, including 10 classic racers, such as the Porsche 911R which won the first ever Rallycross race at Lydden Circuit in 1967 and a selection of Group B icons, including the Audi Quattro.
Renowned stunt driver Terry Grant has been thrilling crowds with a combined performance from Lee Bowers while BTCC icons have been going head-to-head in an exhilarating Time Trial.
And that’s just the start of the four-day event. Over the course of this weekend, visitors to Autosport International can expect to see 1997 F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve, four-time Indycar Series Champion Dario Franchitti MBE and Williams F1 rookie Lance Stroll to name just three.
Autosport International is on at the Birmingham NEC until Sunday 15 January. To buy tickets, head to www.autosportinternational.com/public.