My First Blog Post!… Autosport 2013
So here I go with my first post! As a huge motorsports fan and with the event not being one of my gallery pages, I’ve decided to kick things off with a look back at January’s…
Autosport International 2013 and Tips for attending
This year saw my first visit to the annual racing car show; craving a Formula 1 fix in the arduous winter break between seasons!
Waking early on Saturday morning, having already bought tickets for the event online I headed for the station. Unsure what to wear for the day, not sure whether Birmingham’s LG Arena would be hot or cold, I had dressed for the weather which was cold!… snowing in fact as I walked to Birmingham New Street to meet up with a mate and our train to the event.
The train stopped at Birmingham International. Located directly outside the arena it took just a short walk through airport-like corridors until we were at the show. Scanning a nearby map we headed for the nearest entrance through which the public were pouring…
We found ourselves first in the Oval Racing hall, an area dedicated to Rallycross, Oval Racing, Drag Racing, Road and Off Road Racing…
Walking into the next hall we suddenly realised just how big the scale of this show was; the arena space was huge… ridiculously so! Excited and in awe of everything in front of us, we set off to try and locate the F1 Racing Stage.
Moving through the crowds you don’t know where to look, all around you’re surrounded by race cars, driving simulators, screens, merchandise stands and grid girls handing out freebies… this place would definitely take some exploring later!
I’d read on twitter that the F1 Racing Stage was the go-to place for finding out about driver interviews and autograph signings for the day. It was also the place to find the cars from the 2012 Formula 1 Season!… this however turned out to be a bit of a stretch, as when we arrived we found they were obviously show cars, rather than the ones that had taken our hero’s had taken around the globe that year.
But still, all the teams (bar HRT) were there and provided some good photo opportunities nonetheless. And even better, on stage a show was just about to start! Timing!
The Sky Sports F1 Team were on hand to welcome everybody to Autosports International, tell us what would be happening throughout the day and to field questions from the audience on Formula 1, particularly their opinions on the 2012 season and what we could look forward to from the sport in 2013. After this we checked next door for the times of the autograph signings in order to plan the rest of our day around. The name that stood out on the list was Sir Jackie Stewart!… but others of interest included Paul di Resta and BBC’s Jake Humphreys.
Now knowing what times we had to be back here we were pleased that Jackie Stewart was later that afternoon, because it was nearing the hour in which we had booked our seats in the Autosports Live Action Arena!
This was in an adjoining hanger to the main exhibition and took us through a first hanger temporarily housing a Go-Kart circuit and Caterham Experience; both of which you could pay to try out. We arrived at the Arena just in time (again)!…
The show was really enjoyable and a very worthwhile hour!
Afterwards heading back to main arena there was still time before we had to head back to the autograph area; so we went to find one of Autosport 2013’s main attractions, the Sir Jackie Stewart Exhibition which could be found in Hall 20. This featured cars that celebrated his career, including…
The cars were incredible! I’ve always loved classic F1 cars and their liveries, but seeing these in person I couldn’t believe the size of the rear tyres, and the beauty of the exposed engine work. Simply stunning!
Next there was just time to grab a quick bite to eat (a hot chocolate and blueberry muffin from Starbucks), before it was time to make our way back to the F1 Racing Stage for the autograph session.
When we arrived Paul di Resta was up on stage giving an interview; which we were able to listen too as we began queuing for him to come over and sign. However when he did come over he only stayed for what seemed like 5 minutes before leaving again. First autograph missed, the line became one for the next person up, Jake Humphreys. As we waited for Jake, Sir Jackie Stewart took to the stage and gave an interview. It was great listening to him talk about his career and answer the audiences questions!
Jake arrived and I was able to get a photo signed of when I’d met him at a Grand Prix. We then began queuing up for Sir Jackie, but by this time the line had become far longer than we had realised and we just hoped we make it to see him before his 20 minutes were up. Luckily we did!…
Thrilled to have met him, we headed back over to the F1 cars on display where I could grab a couple more photo’s, before another interview began! This time it was Adam Parr, former chairman of Williams F1, who was there to talk about his book about his 5 years in the sport, The Art of War, presented as a Graphic Novel. He also gave a fantastic talk where he spoke passionately about the future of F1 and how in it’s current form it just isn’t sustainable. It was incredibly inspirational; really must check his book out!
Soon we had to start thinking about getting our train back, but before leaving the show, we spent some time checking out the merchandise stalls and chatting to the sellers about and amazing range of racing memorabilia that they had on display and about motorsport in general. It was a great way to end the day!
I had an amazing day at Autosport International 2013 and I definitely think I’ll be trying to make it into a yearly event!
Top 5 Tips for attending Autosport International:
1. Pre-book your tickets online to avoid queuing on the day and to choose your time and seats for the Live Action Arena Show.
2. When you arrive be sure to track down the lanyard collection office. Your e-tickets will only get you so far and you’ll need to present one to access the autograph sessions. The lanyard also comes with headshots to get singed if you haven’t brought your own pictures.
3. Bring a rucksack. There is food and drink at the LG Arena with the likes of Starbucks and Wetherspoons, you might want to bring your own with you; especially as it’s a long day out and there’s plenty to pack in and see! You can also use it to put clothing layers in.
4. Wear a comfy pair of shoes as there’s plenty of walking to be done!
5. If possible plan ahead. The show is huge and there’s plenty of things you could miss out on, so take a look at the Autosport International website to find out what’s at the show that year and what you might like to visit most.