The British Motor Show may well have died a death but, as capital of Europe’s motor sport industry, Britain can still put on an excellent racing car show. The Autosport International Show at the NEC in Birmingham is the biggest and best motor sport show in Europe catering both to the industry and the general public. As a motor sport licence holder I am able to get a ticket to the trade day on Friday before the show opens to the public at the weekend. Whilst the Friday has a greater focus on engineering than entertainment, the lack of crowds more than compensates.

Even on the Friday there was much to see. At the Autocar Magazine display area there were some fantastic cars including a McLaren MP4 GT racer, a Ferrari F12, a rather bland looking Aston Martin Vanquish and the new Jaguar XKRS -GT. The latter looked striking albeit the paint job and wing looked more Halfords boy race than Le Mans legend.

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Jaguar XKRS-GT – lairy..

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Rather nice carbon ceramic discs. Not sure about the yellow callipers though. Low profile tyres and rock hard suspension will allow this GT to rearrange your spine on England’s terrible roads

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Carbon fibre splitter and fins a bit OTT for me.

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Rear wing apparently very effective but looks like it was purchased at Halfords. Don’t try and look in your rear view mirror either..

The aero mods apparently provide much more down force and the suspension set up has been tweaked to provide a much better handling car. The interior looks good and the car is only going into very limited production. But why would you buy one? At nearly £140,000 it is near the price of an Aston Martin Vantage V12, a no doubt less reliable but far more classy car. And the value of the Jag will drop faster than a rock dropped off a cliff. If speed and performance is what you are after you would no doubt be much better off with a 911 Turbo or (for considerably less) a Nissan GTR.

The Jaguar XKR is a wonderful (if increasingly venerable) GT car. It is fast and comfortable. You can use it every day and when you drive 1000 miles in it you reach your destination feeling like you have only done 10. So why ruin that experience by trying to make the car something it is no – a sports car? Well Jaguar say the XKRS – GT is something of a test bed for the tweaks and changes that they intend to make to their out and out sports car, the F Type. I can’t help feeling that such performance “enhancements” would be much better on that car. So if you crave an extreme Jaguar sports car avoid the XKRS – GT, be patient, and snap up the extra hot iteration of the F Type that is surely coming.

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