You didn't have to look much further than the Formula One display at this year's Autosport International to realise that motorsport is entering a transitional period.
With big name manufacturer pull outs from Toyota and BMW this year, the display looked remarkably bare and acts as a strong visual statement of the turmoil that has rocked the sport this year. Still, punters can hopefully look forward to next year's display containing almost double the number of cars - providing some of the fragile looking privateer teams make it onto the grid.
The show is always a chance to look backwards as well as forwards. Autosport magazine celebrates its 60th year in 2010, and a special display to commemorate this has brought together some of the most iconic grand prix cars of the past six decades, including Fernando Alonso's Michael Schumacher-beating Renault R25, Nigel Mansell's 'Red 5' Williams and Ronnie Peterson's JPS Lotus.
The 30 years of the WRC were also remembered with some of the sport's most iconic machinery. Of most interest to British rally fans is the sight of Richard Burns' and Colin McRae's Subaru Imprezas sat side by side. The WRC is facing a threat from the IRC, a lower-cost way into top level rallying. Interest in the championship has never been stronger after Kris Meeke's title win for Peugeot last year. Also on show in Birmingham is Guy Wilks's Skoda Fabia. If last year's Rally of Scotland battle between Meeke and Wilks is anything to go by, the race to this year's IRC title should be exciting and close enough to ensure IRC gets an even greater presence at next year's Autosport show. Autosport International also features a show of strength from the smaller British manufacturers, including Ginetta, Westfield and Radical. The latter two are embarking on new electric sports car projects to prove that electric cars can be fun, with Westfield launching a one-make electric race car series and Radical taking its new SRZero on an epic trip from Argentina to Alaska on the Pan American highway. Ginetta launched its new G40 at the show, a road-going racer designed to offer the most affordable way into motorsport for those as young as 14. Other show stars include some racing version of road cars you've heard of - the Lotus Evora and Porsche 911 - and some you may not have heard of, chiefly the new Skelta G-Force, an Australian sports car designed with Colin Chapman's 'drive it to the race track and compete' ethos in mind. Autosport also has enough to keep the contemporary road car fans happy. Those who like an exclusive should head to the Autocar stand, where you'll see the Noble M600 and Lexus LFA. Also taking centre stage on our stand is the finished model from our Hot Hatch 2020 Design Competition. Minwoo Hwang's striking design will turn heads, and offers a fascinating insight into how Ford hot hatch design could evolve over the next decade. The best bit, however, is leaving the show in the knowledge that the motorsport season is about to start up once more. Roll on the Monte Carlo Rally.