AUTOSPORT International ASI 2014 Live - Friday
By: Matt Beer, Sam Tremayne, Glenn Freeman
That's it from day two of AUTOSPORT International for 2014.
Tomorrow morning at 9am the doors open to the public, and there is still time to get tickets (visit the show website for full details).
Guests on the AUTOSPORT Stage with KX tomorrow include John Surtees, Martin Brundle, Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen.
There's also the chance to see the legendary Lotus 49 and 79 Formula 1 cars in action indoors in the Live Action Arena, where they join a spectacular display of racing and stunt driving that also features the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award finalists in Caterham sportscars.
In the meantime, you can check out video highlights from the first two days on the AUTOSPORT YouTube channel.
The VSCC is one of numerous racing organisations in attendance at AUTOSPORT International, with all the major British motorsport clubs represented in the hall.
So if you're tempted to start (or even restart) racing in the UK, the show is a great opportunity to check out the plethora of possibilities in all forms of motorsport.
Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
Sheikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa also thinks Formula 1 can do more for its fans, particularly in terms of access during a race weekend.
"I think F1 is in a good place, and with the new cars and engines there's a lot of excitement right now.
"Is there room for improvement? Definitely.
"We host other races like the WEC, where the access and restrictions help the fans get closer to the cars, and I think F1 could do that better.
"But I think they know what they are doing - they've built this image that you need to watch the race to join the discussions."
While that is in part an effort to celebrate a decade of races, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa says that wasn't the primary motivation.
"It is one of the biggest projects since we built the track.
"Obviously it will be our 10th race and we look forward to having one of the best races ever, but it is not only about making it look spectacular.
"Drag racing is the biggest motorsport we have outside of F1 and that is always at night, so we want to link the synergies.
"For us as a people it's easier with the weather and temperatures. So I think it is a better utilisation to run at night."
Among many interesting cars in the Coys auction is this Andy Rouse-built Ford Mondeo Super Touring car.
The V6 machine was raced by Josef Kopecky and finished fourth in the Czech Republic Touring Car Championship in 1996. It followed that with third in '97 and '98.
It's race prepared so will we see it out at Oulton Park when the Super Touring Trophy supports the BTCC...?
1970s F1 racer Mike confirms that he isn't ready to stop competing just yet (at the age of 68), and that he misses the taste of outright victories, having achieved his Britcar successes in a lower-class Super 2000 BMW.
Kevin Turner has just had an interesting chat with BRDC president Derek Warwick, who raced during F1's first turbo era, on the challenges drivers will face in 2014.
"The 1980s turbos were difficult cars to drive," he said. "It was all about anticipation.
"You kept on blipping the throttle to keep the turbo spinning so the power didn't come in all at once.
"I don't know how much the drivers will notice that in the new era. I think technological advances mean they won't have to anticipate ahead as much."
Warwick had been on the AUTOSPORT Stage with KX with the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award finalists earlier on.
As they came off after their interviews, host Henry Hope-Frost joked to the young stars that they should "get him to tell you about turbos!"...
...and Warwick duly did. The six young Brit crowded round him back stage to enjoy some cracking tales of some of F1's best-loved eras.
"The most important thing for me when I took over was to make sure everyone enjoyed coming to Donington. If we get back to where it was in 2005 I'll be happy. There’s a lot to do but we are hard at work.
"One problem from the 'GP that was never happening' era was nothing got done when there was lots that needed to be done. We've made lots of improvements – including some more over the winter – which will hopefully make a difference when spectators come to us this year."
One of the most significant changes planned will be the creation of a huge spectator banking area on the backstraight.
Dragster, AUTOSPORT International 2014
National Editor Ben Anderson is loving this Lucas-liveried Top Fuel Dragster on display in AUTOSPORT Engineering.
Ben tells us it has 10,000bhp and 6000ft lbs of torque. 0-100mph in 0.8 seconds...
Before that, he spoke to Motorbase boss David Bartrum about the team's 2014 BTCC plans.
Bartrum confirmed that he will run three revised Ford Focuses, with a revamped front end and improved aero among the changes.
"The front of the car will look different and we've done a lot," he said.
Drivers have not yet been confirmed, but possibilities include two former champions.
The identities of the latter have been the source of plenty of gossip at AUTOSPORT International. It could be a very exciting year for Motorbase...
As well as all the exhibitions, event and the Live Action Arena, the public days feature a spectacular list of guest stars to meet, greet, quiz and get autographs from.
John Surtees, Martin Brundle, Adrian Sutil, Max Chilton, Sam Bird and Gary Paffett represent the F1 world past and present.
Allan McNish will be joined by his long-time Audi team-mate Tom Kristensen, talking about both their Le Mans successes and the Scot's decision to call time on his top-line racing career.
The majority of the BTCC field are in attendance, as are WTCC men James Nash and Tom Chilton.
It's also a chance to meet the next generation of British talents, with James Calado, Alex Lynn, Dean Stoneman, Will Stevens, Jon Lancaster, Nick Yelloly, Dan Cammish, Jack Harvey, Jordan King and the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award finalists on the guest list.
There is an extraordinary array of motor racing artwork available to browse and buy at AUTOSPORT International.
And it's not all two-dimensional either. Spotted on the Paul Oz/Racing Gold stand is this dinosaur skull in Ayrton Senna's helmet colours.
The competition gives racers from Sunoco-fuelled series in Europe a chance to contest the Daytona 24 Hours.
Last year's Radical SR3 Challenge champion Bradley Smith is just back from testing Marsh Racing's Daytona Prototype, in which he will be joined by Eric Curran, Boris Said and Max Papis.
The other Sunoco winner for 2014 is Lewis Plato, whose form in the Radical Clubman's series earns him the chance to race a Camaro in the Continental Tires Sportscar Challenge event that supports Daytona and the United SportsCar Championship.
News from AUTOSPORT national editor Ben Anderson out in the hall.
Just caught up with Porsche Carrera Cup GB series boss Marion Barnaby.
The series is switching to the latest 911 model for this season and 11 orders have been made for cars already.
Hopefully the championship can bounce back after a tough time in 2013.
It was recorded after Kubica started his 2014 campaign with a thrilling win in the European Rally Championship opener in Austria.
You can watch the video too via AUTOSPORT Live:
F1 race director Charlie Whiting was the guest speaker this year, and addressed topics included the death of a marshal at last year's Canadian Grand Prix.
News stories from the event coming up shortly on AUTOSPORT.
McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award
At 16, Charlie Robertson doesn't have a road licence and had never driven a road car before the two-day evaluation. The first task? Driving the 625bhp McLaren MP4-12C...
"There was a lot of pressure, but I just tried to enjoy it," is Robertson's assessment.
"I take my hat off to these guys - from the first lap they were all on it," says Warwick.
Warwick explains how the judging panel separates the hopefuls, saying: "Laptime is very important, but we also look at how they handle themselves, how they progress – some come out the box very quickly and level out, some start slower and progress better.
"Fitness comes into it too, but at the end of the day we’re looking for the next F1 star so it’s weighted toward the F2 car.
"In one session all six drivers were covered by two tenths of a second, that’s how close it was.
"We were lucky this year because the first day was dry and the second wet, so we saw and extracted as much as we could."
Unsurprisingly, Ayrton Senna's 1991 appearance is one of his favourite memories. Here it is in full:
Steve Rider, AUTOSPORT International 2014
Nelson Piquet and Niki Lauda are also lined up for the near future, but Rider admits that some drivers on the shopping list have chosen not to get involved.
He cites Dan Gurney as a man he's particularly keen to get on the show, and wants it to expand beyond those synonymous with F1 and cover Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell too.
His latest F1 television involvement has been interviewing a galaxy of stars for Sky's 'Legends of Formula 1' series.
There has been some scepticism about whether the drivers that have featured in some of these programmes of late have really qualified about 'legends', but Rider points out that once you've interviewed practically all surviving world champions, you have to broaden the field and cover some drivers who may not have won titles, but who still made a major contribution to the story of F1.
He headed out to America for a day with Juan Pablo Montoya last month, so look out for that programme in 2014.
Fernando Alonso F1 Ferrari 2013
Routledge has moved on to talking about the Zoom charity initiative, which involves Formula 1 drivers and paddock personalities taking personal photographs to raise money for the Great Ormond Street hospital.
Fernando Alonso's contribution is the shot he famously took from the Monza podium at last year's Italian Grand Prix.
"I have the opportunity at my disposal, now it is down to me to deliver.
"For some reason, I don't know why, I always go well at Snetterton. It's a circuit I enjoy driving on.
"The key was qualifying and beating Jason to pole, and it was big to get that first one on Jason and prove to myself I can do it.
"Hopefully it destroyed him a bit inside, and I can keep doing that in 2014.
"He's a fantastic team-mate to have, I've learnt a lot from him and it's an open book as a team. He's been very kind and is always pushing me, but when we cross that line it's always about looking out for yourself."
"Yes, I've heard 'I bet you're quick in the wet' before…," Belcher says (he's also come up with PR gold by suggesting a BTCC jet ski race before events).
"I'm probably the only former jet ski champion now competing in touring cars.
"I raced a lot when I was younger, with the factory Kawasaki team, but when I was 28 I decided I was getting on and strapped myself into the car.
"Ever since it's been a bit of a dream to make it into the BTCC, so unveiling my Toyota yesterday was really exciting."
Graham MacDonald, Caterham Group CEO
MacDonald also addresses the challenge of the massively different 2014 F1 rules for a team of Caterham's modest size.
"We have shareholders with big ambitions but unfortunately we'll never have the budget of the likes of Red Bull and Mercedes.
"So what we have to do is to try to utilise what we have to the best of our ability, and budget wisely and spend wisely.
"What we're hoping is that come the first race we might have one or two opportunities. There might be some attrition going on among the big teams, who knows?
"We must have a chance. everyone starts with a clean piece of paper.
"The bigger teams probably have three or four times the resource to put at it, but we have some very good guys and I've got every confidence in them."
It's not just fans (and AUTOSPORT staff) who get excited about the star guests at AUTOSPORT International.
Petter Solberg couldn't help himself earlier on when he realised that 1980 and '82 WRC champion Walter Rohrl was on stage before him, and ended up gatecrashing the interview to pay tribute to the German legend.
That's not the first bit of endearing mischief that Solberg has got up to this weekend.
Despite Henry Hope-Frost's health and safety warnings, he's been throwing signed Solberg caps into the crowd, while during his stage appearance yesterday security had to advise a particularly keen fan not to climb the barriers to join Solberg on stage (despite Solberg suggesting he had no objection...)
"Jason helped me massively in 2013, as a team-mate and a mentor in the KX Akademy. Now it's time to get one over on him.
"Hopefully I'm going to cause him a lot of grief this year, and maybe there'll be some fallouts along the way!"
Tordoff is on stage with his fellow KX Akademy members: Ginetta GT4 Supercup racer David Pittard, and Clio Cup trio Ash Hand, Alex Morgan, and Ant Whorton-Eales.
Smith meanwhile has been talking car diets and the possibility of leading Bentley back to Le Mans.
"The standard Bentley would be 2700 kgs, and we got the race car down to 1300, so it’s been on a pretty severe diet.
"M-Sport did a fantastic job. We’ll take that, and we’ll take the performance.
"The way the rules are at the moment GT3 isn’t eligible to race at Le Mans, but there is lots of talk to merge GT3 and GTE rules which would allow Bentley to return to Le Mans.
"If that was the case, it would be fantastic to take the name back. They’ve had great success there. Bentley like to do things differently, so there may well be a few surprises."
"So it's great to be able to offer advice to younger guys - you forget when you are young and starting out that there is a lot to learn.
"For me, it's been a dream to be involved with Bentley. It's an iconic brand, and the fact it is British is just amazing."
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