Autosport International, the biggest racing car show in the UK, is underway at Birmingham's National Exhbibition Centre; Autocar was there to soak up the atmosphere
Matt Burt
10 January 2013

The 2013 edition of the Autosport International show is underway in the vast halls of Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre, and Autocar has been treading the show floor to bring you all the highlights.

Despite the lingering economic doom and gloom, there was a distinct air of optimism at the event. Autosport International's subtitle is 'The Racing Car Show', but that monicker barely does justice to the rich and varied fare on offer for keen show goers.

As well as the ubiquitous racing cars, there are supercars, land speed record machines, karts, grass track racers and do-it-yourself kit cars. On top of that, Autosport Engineering plays host to a huge array of the kind of niche manufacturing companies that form the prosperous backbone of the automotive industry in Britain and Europe, and the Performance Car Show put together by our colleagues at Pistonheads offers plenty of interest for those who prefer their high-performance cars to be of the road legal variety.

The main Autosport stage hosted the unveiling of M-Sport's 2013-spec Ford Fiesta WRC, the car that will do battle in the opening round of the World Rally Championship in Monte Carlo next week. Star river Mads Ostberg and team boss Malcolm Wilson were optimistic about the car's prospects in the 2013 WRC, despite the withdrawal of Ford's factory support at the end of last year.

Joining the Fiesta WRC on the main stage were Jason Plato's MG 6 touring car and the monstrous Bentley Continental GT3 sports car, the latter enjoying its official UK debut.

Directly opposite the main stage, Radical drew the crowds as it unveiled its new RXC, designed to be a sports car that's equally at home on the road as it is on the track. It is Radical's most road-biased project yet, and company boss Phil Abbott was bubbling with enthusiasm for the new venture. He told Autocar that three deposits had been taken before the stunning coupé had even been officially unveiled.

Other British marques were out in force. Ariel revealed it's latest Atom 3.5, which Autocar has already snaffled a drive of, while the full production version of the rare Noble M600 Carbon Sports was also shown to the public for the first time.

Autocar's own stand featured a mini-exclusive in the shape of the svelte Mastretta MXT, a sports car that's been in development for a while but should hit our roads near the end of this year. We also showed off some of our favourites from 2012, including the Morgan 3-Wheeler, Subaru BRZ, Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Series.

Autosport International hosts a second trade-only day tomorrow, before the NEC's doors are thrown open to the public on Saturday and Sunday. To book your tickets call 0844 338 0338 or visit autosportinternational.com.

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11 January 2013

The show is amazing, love the racing car classic style.

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