No Smoke No Poke

Autosport International 2014 Show Report

16th January 2014 | BY Adam

Every January we look forward to the first car show of the year, Autosport International held at the NEC Arena in Birmingham. Though having said that, last years show left a lot to be desired in terms of diesel representation with barely any dervs on display we left feeling a little deflated.

But fear not, 2014 was a totally different story with plenty of oil burners to be found amongst the exhibitors in the sprawling halls of the NEC.

Hit the jump for the low down and once again, we apologies for that hideous red carpet they insist on laying for the show…

As soon as we walked through the doors we were greeted by Audi’s beautiful E-Tron Quattro, a car we’d never seen in the flesh metal. The E-Tron Quattor is the Tom Cruise of the automotive world, good looking with a lot of presence, but surprisingly little. The V6 Le Mans racer drew a lot of attention and it was a proud moment to see a diesel powered race car up there on the pedestal. Long may it last.

  

The Audi wasn’t the only alternative fuel powered race car on display though, this Renault Twizy F1 turned a few heads with it’s carbon aero detail, slick tyres and multi-function steering wheel.

The 564kg electric shopping trolley is powered by a Formula 1 KERS system which provides 97bhp and will do 0-60 in 7 seconds. The whole package is a marketing effort from Renault to show F1 technology being introduced in to road cars, which is all well and good, but we like it mainly because it’s a load of fun. The slick tyres and wheel come off a Formula Renault 2.0 single seater

On the theme of petrolphobic race cars, this Trident might look familiar to you regular NSNP readers…

Remember back in 2012 when we featured the Trident Iceni diesel super car, capable of over 200mph and 2,000 miles between fuel stops? Well we had huge hopes for the Norfolk based manufacturer, but all went quiet after their launch at Salon Privé. Turns out they suffered gearbox and diff problems due to the massive torque the 6.6l V8 diesel engine produces, so spent a while designing their own. Upshot is that now they’re rocking a bulletproof transmission capable of dealing with the whopping 1,000+ lbft the Iceni makes.

We spoke in depth with Trident managing director Phil Bevan about the technology behind the Trident supercars and had our minds blown by what we learned. Essentially the cars are a demonstration of ‘torque multiplication’, which without going in to too much detail means that driving at 75mph in one of these cars will see the rev counter reading 980rpm. Now a long final drive for economy is nothing new, however at 980rpm the Trident is making a massive 700lbft torque, which means it’ll still pull like a steam train with a rocket on top should you wish to overtake - without the need to down shift.

The 2,000 mile range is helped by the 120l fuel tank (twice the size of the one you’ve got in your Golf), however even with that double capacity, could you get 1,000 miles between fill ups from a TDI? Oh and did we mention that the Iceni can run on pretty much any form of bio-diesel you can get your hands on? That means this 200mph super car is cabon neutral…that’s right, better for the environment than a Prius.

The technology is amazing and we’re saving all the facts and figures for a full feature which you can expect within the next couple of months. Be excited about that one, because we really are.

On our rounds we came across Clean-Drive, a fuel additive that boasts cleaning properties that will boost performance, reduce emissions and give better fuel efficiency from just one use. The skeptic in us wanted to carry on walking but after chatting to the company owners we were intrigued by the claims.

Clean-Drive has been independently tested by Leicester University with back to back dyno and emissions tests and found to be as effective as the marketing material claims. We asked how it was different to Redex and the main factor was the way the two products interact with the diesel in the tank. Where as Redex mixes with the fuel to change the compound of the liquid, Clean-Drive simply uses the diesel as a carrier and so enters the fuel system neat. This reportedly makes it much more effective in cleaning, lubricating and decontaminating the engine.

They say the proof is in the pudding, so we’ve got a couple of bottles winging their way to us to put to the test.

Our old pal Rik, owner of Monster Tuning was also at the show with his ridiculous Range Rover Discovery monster truck.


Since we were last at Monster Tuning things have changed somewhat and now the business has moved away from bolting on big wheels and winches and Rik has dedicated himself to software tuning. With a network of dealers across the UK and Europe Monster now offer remaps for most makes and models, including the brand new Range Rover SDV8 which is yet to be mapped by anybody else.

We found it ironic that the Monster Tuning promo girls were found chatting with the NTG spark plugs lady…

The luxury car tuners were there in force too, with Kahn and Lumma both displaying their unique Range Rovers.

 

While they may not be to everybody’s taste, the workmanship was done to a factory finish, inside and out.

Aside from the tuners and manufacturers there were aftermarket parts aplenty at the show and Cobra seats were a popular pit stop for tired feet.

These carbon wheels weighing in at a smidge over 5kg each were something special and here’s a fun fact, that carbon weave is actually printed on. The true carbon is black, so to the untrained eye wouldn’t look any different. These show wheels were printed up to make sure people knew they weren’t just another set of wheels. If you’ve not felt a set of carbon wheels before, they are ridiculous. We were told they’re just as strong as their alloy counterparts too. “Dear Santa…if I’m really good this year…”

 

It’s amazing to see how drifting, a sport which inherently kills tyres has brought so many of the less well known tyre brands to the forefront. I remember when a Nankang tyre would have been comparable to a LingLong DitchFinder II Sport. But now they’re up there with the Maxxis’ and Nitto’s of the tyre world.

After lunch we came to the end of the trade stands and made our way to the Live Action arena to watch the show. This costs extra, but is well worth the money if you want to see the cars on show cut loose and make some noise. On the way we passed the Autoglym Caterham Experience, a regular attraction at Autosport.

The experience consists of being driven around an auto test track by a nut job in a Caterham who often lets go of the wheel and throws his hands up in the air…we sh*t you not.

These cars deserve a lot of respect as they get absolutely pasted for four days straight and we’re yet to see an engine take a career change to become a paperweight.

If watching that gets you in the mood for a hoon, then the Go-Karting is a good option to let off some steam with friends.

 

We carried on a little further and made our way in to the stands ready for the big show. The Live Action Arena is always impressive, with pyrotechnics, light shows and loud music it’s a great automotive experience no matter what you’re in to. With mini races between all sorts of cars, buggies and trucks, they crammed a lot in to an hour.

Things are rather sedate to begin with, showing off the classic race cars from years gone by. The old F1 cars were exceptionally eargasmic.

Then all hell broke loose as the stock cars, grass trackers and stunt cars came out to play.

We were hoping to see Chris Allison there in his TDI grass tracker, but unfortunately it was all petrols on show.

The Germans battled it out in a VW vs BMW race, ultimately being won by a MK2 Golf.

Stunt driver extraordinaire, Terry Grant made an appearance in his Subaru Impreza complete with deafening anti-lag.

He was also challenged to wheelie his Legends car, which after a few tongue in cheek attempts he managed to do with the help of a motorcycle engine in the back.

And to finish off, the FMX guys sent some death defying tricks, much to the crowds amusement.

Overall Autosport 2014 was a goodun’. The large presence of diesels across the spectrum was great to see, from race cars to luxury SUV’s and plenty of alternative fuel cars to boot.

Maybe next year we might even see some dervs in the live show…fingers crossed.

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