Bits & Pieces Oct 2016

Race Retro has a big area dedicated to historic rallying and takes advantage of its rural loca on to stage popular demonstra ons of rally cars with celebrity drivers

Shows and Exhibitions

Race Retro

Originally the brainchild of Ian Williamson, and known as the International Historic Motorsport Show, 2002 saw the launch of the first exhibition dedicated solely to motorsport for historic cars. Staged at Stoneleigh Park in rural Warwickshire, Williamson inaugurated the International Historic Motor Sport Awards dinner, a live rally stage, partnered with auction house H&M and attracted a great cross section of organisers, suppliers and competitors to those early events. However, it was always thought by some to be located too remotely to ever attract a large, international, paying public.

Subsequently purchased by Live Events, who developed it over several years, it has now changed hands again and new promoters Clarion Events have formed a partnership with Motor Sport magazine that will involve show visitors having a vote for the Motor Sport Hall of Fame and also hosting motor sport celebrities in panel discussions. Clarion aims to develop the show further, with more cars, more motoring celebrities and, taking advantage of their rural location, more outdoor live action. Amongst their exhibitors will be the MG Car Club, the 1000cc F3 Historic Racing Association, and rally organisers, HERO, who exhibit both indoors and outdoors, giving visitors an opportunity to try a historic rally car.

Some say that Race Retro’s location is its Achilles heal, in that it has never attracted large numbers of paying public. This matters not much to exhibitors who are only interested in seeing their customers and potential customers there, but it does limit the income, and therefore the investment that the show’s promoters can make into the features of the show.

Dates for next year’s Race Retro are 24-26 February.

New Boys on the Block - Historic Motorsport International

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Rumour has it that Brand Events were also bidding for Race Retro and after their lack of success with that, decided to create their own historic motor sport show. With a number of successful motoring events, such as CarFest and Top Gear Live in their portfolio, two years ago Brand launched the London Classic Car Show, which has attracted a large audience – this year in February 33,000 people attended – to London’s ExCeL conference centre.

Now Brand will run the new show concurrently with the Classic Car Show. It will be aimed at engineering and preparation experts, event organisers, promoters and suppliers and is to be known as Historic Motorsport International, with access to both shows included in the ticket price.

A special feature will be the inaugural Historic Motorsport Conference. Hosted by broadcaster and journalist Henry Hope-Frost, the ticketed conference will examine a wide variety of topics of interest to participants in historic motor sport, including the use of current technology in classic race and rally cars, driving standards and sponsorship.

There will be competition cars for sale from leading dealers while other exhibitors will include motorsport clubs, governing bodies, officials, sponsors and media owners.

A number of high-profile companies and organisations have already signed up, including competition car sales specialists such as Cheshire Classics and Duncan Hamilton & Co, championship organisers including Motor Racing Legends and the Classic Sports Car Club, plus suppliers, like Dunlop Motorsport.

With media backing from Octane magazine and Historic Racing Technology, as well as others in the pipeline, the major drawback of this show is the date (23-26 February), which clashes with Race Retro! “The date was dictated to us by ExCeL”, said Fergus Campbell, Brand Events Development Director, “the clash for 2017 won’t recur in the future, and in any case we are creating a differentiated product in a different region of the country”.

And then there is Retromobile.....

The Big Daddy

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Not strictly a motor sport show, Retromobile has seen plenty of competition machinery in the years since it first opened its doors in 1976. Now held at Paris’ Porte de Versailles Exhibition Centre, Retromobile has never had difficulty in attracting a large audience (last year they sold over 115,000 tickets!), and seems to go from strength to strength. This year they are expanding further and have taken over pavilion 1 & 2.2., the largest and most prestigious hall at the Porte de Versailles.

Always with many themes and special displays, Retromobile this year will be featuring Group B rally cars in collaboration with organisers of the Grandes Heures Automobiles event at Montlhéry, and there will be a special tribute to the all conquering Grand Prix Delage, when all six of these amazing machines will be reunited in the halls of Retromobile. Further displays will feature the collection of Julia Baldanza, Renault, 115 years of Sporting Passion, as well as some les sportive themes, such as the armoured vehicles of the Saumur Tank Museum and the celebration of the career and designs of the prolific Philippe Charbonneaux.

This event regularly surprises and delights. It brings together an international cast of active members of the historic motor sport scene, as well as many of the world’s most prominent car collectors. 2017 dates are 8-12 February