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Revved up - Report: Autosport International show

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Autosport was the first major show of 2010, and it clearly shows that the new year has got off to a flying start...

Maybe it's too early to declare 2010 a vintage year for Autosport International; I haven't even looked yet at the official headcount or exhibitor tally and of course it's cold statistics that pay the rent and keep the lights on. But it sure felt like one on the weekend: a general sense of optimism about the future amongst the trade, enthusiastic visitors obviously thrilled to have a burst of motor sport Colour in this year's particularly Bleak British Midwinter, and lots to see and do for a variety of tastes and predilections. Personally, I enjoyed this ASI more than any in ages.     A nicely historic perspective helped the proceedings; Sir Stirling Moss cut the opening ribbon on Saturday, and graced the Octane stand with an autograph session in the afternoon. Clive Chapman and Classic Team Lotus once again had a strong presentation, and the lovely HSCC display of Formula 5000 cars included the 1971 Surtees TS8 driven by Mike Hailwood.    In addition to being the 20th Racing Car Show staged under the Autosport flag (from the 1961 inception until 1990, the Show was a BRSCC fixture), 2010 is also the 60th anniversary of Autosport Magazine, and an evocative racing car from each ensuing decade was on very gleaming, very dramatic display. And granted, it isn't really a classic show, but a rallying Big Healey might nonetheless have been appropriate alongside all the WRC-era cars, don't you think?On the contemporary racing front, Porsche debuted the new GT3 R, Ginetta launched their G40 road/race coupé, and Australian specialist Skelta showed the Spyder and G-Force with which they're entering the European market. Meanwhile, from Radical, a taste of the future, perhaps: the SRZero electric sports-racer, developed with Imperial College London and aimed toward a possible bespoke race series in 2011.     Naturally there was the usual F1 extravaganza, complete with mega-video screen, Jensen Button interviews and Q&A, plus a Coys auction heavily weighted toward motor sport (the ex-Louis Meyer Indy car was a stunner). Retail vendors abounded, as always, and the perennial Live Arena burn-outs incorporated the dubious pastime of drifting, in which the winner is apparently decided by number of tyres annihilated.     For the true pedant, though, what could possibly be better than simply wandering through the engineering section, marvelling over the beauty the human mind and hand can fashion in pursuit of pure rational function. Let the snow return if it will; I have seen spring on the way.

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