British Motorsport took centre stage as fans flocked to Birmingham for the first public day of Autosport International.
Led by the announcement that Max Chilton will continue to race for Marussia F1 Team in 2014, British motorsport icons including legend John Surtees, the only man to have won world championships on both two and four wheels, ex-F1 racer Martin Brundle, retiring World Endurance Champion Allan McNish and British Touring Car Champions Matt Neal, Gordon Shedden, Andrew Jordan, Jason Plato and Colin Turkington all took to the stage.
Chilton’s Marussia drive was confirmed on the F1 Racing Grid while the 50th anniversary of John Surtees 1964 Formula One World Championship was celebrated with a display of Surtees’ iconic machinery, including the very Ferrari that took him to the 1964 crown and the MV Augusta that took him to motorcycle glory in 1960.
Bringing an International vibe to Birmingham, McNish was joined on stage by his long-term driving partner, nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner, Tom Kristensen, while 2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg also made an appearance. Adrian Sutil will add more international flair tomorrow for the final day of the show.
“It’s been a very busy Autosport International this year, I think busier than what it has been in the last few years, which shows that British motorsport is thriving,” said McNish, who took to the stage having announced his retirement from Sportscar racing last month. “I really enjoyed being able to meet with the fans who have provided so much support, and, personally, it was great to present the karting trophies to the next generation of drivers. 2013 was my last season racing at the top level, and it was nice to see the enthusiasm and dedication of the next generation of British stars.”
Along with every current Formula 1 team on the F1 Racing Grid and the Surtees collection, fans will be able to see a host of British Touring Car machinery on the Dunlop British Touring Car Championship stand, including Andrew Jordan’s championship winning Honda Civic and the newly uncovered Audi A4 of Rob Austin and Toyota Avensis of Simon Belcher. Meanwhile, Subarus driven by Colin McRae and Richard Burns are the highlights of a display dedicated to Wales Rally GB.
“It’s been a great day at Autosport International, seeing so many passionate British motorsport fans join us to celebrate the sport and witness the announcement Max Chilton will remain with the Marussia F1 Team in 2014,” said Autosport International Show Director, Ian France. “We’ve got much more to come tomorrow and we’re looking forward to hosting the likes of John Surtees, Martin Brundle, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish again, along with Adrian Sutil who joins us to round out another fantastic edition of Autosport International.”