Event PR:

  • Autosport International, Europe’s premier pre-season motorsport show, has had a successful first day
  • Crowds flocked to see the Williams Martini Racing Motorhome, constructed next to the revamped Autosport Stage
  • Susie Wolff and the MSA launched a new Dare To Be Different project
  • Motorsport stars including Ari Vatanen and Petter Solberg took to the Autosport Stage
  • See all the Autosport Stage interviews live here: http://bit.ly/1OQYniC
  • The Peugeot 205 GTi was revealed as the greatest hot hatch of all time at the Performance Car Show
  • Gallery of images updated throughout the show available here: http://bit.ly/1SQ0lkO

First day of Autosport International has been a huge success with multiple launches, insightful interviews and a wide range of features to entertain the crowds.

The Williams Martini Racing Motorhome proved to be a real crowd-puller, acting as the focal point for a major feature on the much-loved British F1 team. Positioned next to the revamped Autosport Stage, it is the first time it has been constructed outside of a racing circuit, and was surrounded by eight famous F1 cars from the team’s history, showing the great heritage of the iconic British team.

Meanwhile, Susie Wolff and the Motor Sports Association launched  Dare To Be Different. The new initiative aims to inspire, connect and celebrate women who work in every aspect of motorsport on and off track, by building an online community and running a selection of free special events across the UK.

Susie said: “Autosport International is an event I always looked forward to coming to and there was no better place to launch our Dare To Be Different campaign. Not only was the timing right, but it’s the one show that brings all avenues of motorsport together.

“Our main aim is to drive female talent in all aspects of the sport, boosting awareness with young girls and demonstrating the varied and exciting areas of the sport – showing that they too can dare to be different.”

Crowds surrounded the Autosport Stage throughout the day to hear anecdotes and insights from stars of the motorsport world. Former World Rally Championship holder Ari Vatenen reminisced about his long career in the sport and discussed his son Max’s campaign in the British Rally Championship this year, alongside Elfyn Evans in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta.

Three-time FIA World Champion Petter Solberg enthralled crowds with his view on the growth of the World Rallycross Championship, his recent title win and bid to defend it in 2016, in addition to teasing attendees with what to expect from his Live Action Arena performance this year.

In BTCC, the Dunlop stand played host to numerous unveilings of new liveries including Wix Racing, Simpson Racing, Handy Motorsport, WSR and Eurotech Racing.

Over at the Performance Car Show, presented by Landsail Tyres in association with Autocar and PistonHeads.com, the Peugeot 205 GTi was announced as the winner of a global poll to name the best hot hatch ever. Three-time British Touring Car Champion Matt Neal pulled the covers off.

Matt said: “Hot hatches are still as popular as ever. It’s that combination of a powerful engine and a light, compact body that makes them such great fun. I’ve been lucky enough to own several, from a MK1 XR2 to an XR3 and two Astra GTEs, right up to my current car, a Honda Civic Type-R. Visitors to Hot Hatch Nirvana at the Performance Car Show are in for a treat: they can check out a fantastic public-voted top ten featuring the most popular hot hatches of all time – with the Peugeot 205 GTI being a worthy winner – and see another display charting the hot hatches that have defined the genre and moved the game on time-after-time.”  

The 205 GTi and the nine cars it beat to the title will be on display for the duration of the show, under the umbrella of Hot Hatch Nirvana, which also includes a must-see display called ‘Evolution of the Hot Hatch’featuring an unrivalled collection of iconic cars that have defined and developed the genre over decades.

Autosport International is on at the Birmingham NEC until Sunday 17 January. To buy tickets, head towww.autosportinternational.com.


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