This is the year motorsport gets its mojo back.
If top categories like Formula 1, the World Rally Championship and the World Endurance Championship live up to their potential, maybe, just maybe, 2017 will be the year we finally stop yearning for the good old days.
You can certainly feel the anticipation at the Autosport International, which is open today for the second of four days. Drivers, engineers and fans alike – everyone at the Birmingham NEC event is excited to see the new cars, to understand revamped regulations and to guess who’ll be quickest at round one.
The great thing is, for the first time in a long time, making predictions is nigh on impossible. For example, will Mercedes have the quickest car out of the box during the first F1 winter test? Last year you might have bet hundreds on it being so, but with so many changes this year that look set to make the cars much harder to drive and more fascinating to watch, can you really discount Red Bull, Ferrari, and maybe even Williams, so quickly?
The same pre-season uncertainty can be seen in WRC. Reigning champ Sébastien Ogier moves to M-Sport now his old team Volkswagen is gone. No doubt the talented Frenchman will find pace in his Ford Fiesta WRC, but will it be enough to win the championship? Given the substantial differences of the cars competing in this year’s championship, an answer now would be nothing short of a guess.