Apart from the odd auto solo, the Goodwood Road Racing Club’s Easter Monday Sprint is the only opportunity for most non professional GRRC members to compete against each other.  Even so, this year a fair number of professional drivers were invited to compete including ex Works MG BTCC and Le Mans driver Anthony Reid.

When MG were developing the MG SV Anthony Reid actually tested my car. A photo of him reunited with The Beast was too good an opportunity to miss.

 

This year Anthony was in my class driving a Works Noble M600.

The fabulous looking M600 has carbon fibre bodywork and eschews high tech for simple power, lightness and rear wheel drive.

 

This is the works M600 in which Anthony Reid came close to setting FTD at the Festival of Speed in 2014. On that day and at the Easter Monday sprint, traction proved to be a problem. Getting all that power down cleanly with no traction control was tricky and cost the team vital time.

An eclectic mix of cars took part in the sprint. This Piper Le Mans racer attracted lost of attention. Behind, can be seen “Old Nail” the Vauxhall Droop Snoot Firenza of the late Gerry Marshall.

Its rare to see an X150 Jaguar XKR racing. This neat example entertained the crowd with a howling supercharger

Anthony faced stiff competition for the day’s record time from two Nissan GTR’s, which were also in my class.  The rest of the cars in the class were similarly modern and all were much more powerful than my MG.  The only car with which I could hope to compete was a early Porsche 911 S (997).  Eventually I came out on top in that particular duel but all attention was on the battle for overall (not just the class) fastest time of the day between Anthony’s Noble and the Nissans.  In the end one of the Nissans pipped Anthony to the award.  The fact an amateur driver in a £60,000 car was able to beat a professional racing driver in a £235,000 car was telling.

Another popular entrant was this immaculate BMW CSL racer

 

This year the Autosport Show at the NEC in Birmingham clashed with the new London Classic Car Show.  Apparently some very favourable trade prices lured to London many of those from the classic car industry who had previously attended the Autosport Show.  Certainly the Autosport Show this year seemed very much more focused on modern cars. In addition the historic racing fraternity were noticeable by their absence. Maybe they intend to focus their efforts on the Retrosport Show next month?

Despite such absences the Autosport Show was still a great day out, particularly as I was lucky enough to be able to attend on one of the less busy trade days. Highlights are below.

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Noble showed two of their striking M600 super cars. Great pace and handling but the M600’s £200k price tag makes it more expensive than its more prestigious rivals.

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Gorgeous paint scheme shows off the carbon fibre bodywork of an M600 at its best.

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Works BTCC MG Metro Turbo from 1984. Great cars and real giant killers, I nearly bought one 7 years ago. I didn’t as at the time there was nothing you could do with one. Now there are several race series in which they can participate and I expect they have more than tripled in value.

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The new Lamborghini Huracan is less flamboyant than Lambos of old but still has aggressive super car looks.

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There was a section for track and road icons at the ‘Show which included one of the earliest Ferrari supercars, created to sell to collectors rather than for motorsport, the F40.

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When introduced in 1987 the F40’s 471hp and 0 – 60 time of c 4seconds were stunning. As was its price tag – equivalent to c£700k now. Of course a £50k Lotus Exige is now faster to 60 and with 510hp my £65k Jaguar XKR is more powerful. Compensation for a current F40 owner is the fact that if they chose to sell their car now they could pocket well over £2m – despite the F40 being relatively common with over 1300 being built.

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One of the highlights of the show is always the reveals and announcements made by racing teams. This year was no exception. Last year’s BTCC driver’s championship winning team, West Surrey Racing, announced a new lead driver in Andy Priaulx. Priaulx is a former British Hillclimb Champion, three time World Touring Car Champion and one time European Touring Car Champion. His best showing in two seasons in the BTCC was 5th so he will have something to prove.

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Priaulx and WSR owner / manager Dick Bennetts revealed the new 2015 BMW 125 they will use next season, resplendent in the livery of the team’s new sponsor, IHG Rewards Club. Whilst a privateer team WSR receive much support from BMW.

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Ariel revealed their new Nomad off road vehicle. Capable of 0 -60 in only 3.4 seconds and weighing only 670KG it promises to be a riot. On sale this coming summer it is expected to cost in the region of £30k.

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A notable feature of the show is the annual display of the previous year’s F1 cars. Here is a close up of the nose of Lotus’ last car. Most teams have the same ugly “prong” nose, only Lotus have “prongs” of different length. Presumably there are sound engineering reasons for the asymmetry – not that it did them much good last season..

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As a boy I loved the Ford Escort RS2000 – the car of choice for Bodie and Doyle in TV crime fighting series “The Professionals”. This immaculate example reminds us that the RS2000 was not just a pretty face but was, like its famous predecessors, a great rally tool as well.

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A new feature this year was the opportunity to take passenger rides in a Ginetta G40 around a tight indoor course.