LIVE COMMENTARY: AUTOSPORT INTERNATIONAL - ASI 2014 LIVE - SUNDAY
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As it happened: ASI 2014 Live - Sunday
By Matt Beer and Dan Cross
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Good morning and welcome to the final day of AUTOSPORT Live’s coverage of AUTOSPORT International 2014.
Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish opened the show just over 30 minutes ago to a huge crowd of visitors, many of whom have taken their places at the main stage.
Even though it is the last day, there's no let up in the quality of guests that will be taking to AUTOSPORT Stage with KX over the course of the next seven hours.
Today’s list of motorsport stars includes:
Martin Brundle, John Surtees, Tom Ingram, David Beardmore, the KX Akademy Graduates, Adrian Sutil, McNish, Kristensen, Matt Neal, Andrew Jordan, Gordon Shedden, Rob Austin, Jason Plato, David Croft, the McLaren BRDC AUTOSPORT Award finalists, James Calado, Alex Lynn, Jack Harvey, Jordan King, Shaun Hollamby, Daniel Welch and last, but not least, Jack Goff.
First to join Henry Hope-Frost on the AUTOSPORT main stage today is Sky Sports F1 pundit Martin Brundle at 10.00.
In the meantime, be sure to check out what has been happening at the world's biggest - and unquestionably best - motorsport show over the past few days.
AUTOSPORT Stage with KX video highlights
AUTOSPORT International live blog day three
AUTOSPORT International live blog day two
The AUTOSPORT Stage with KX is up and running with Brundle being the first to be interrogated by Henry Hope-Frost.
Brundle reckons Formula 1 continues to entertain viewers, despite the recent domination of Sebastian Vettel.
"The petrolheads had to look a bit further down the field for their enjoyment - we saw some incredible fights for 13th and 14th and thankfully the cameras picked up on it."
Brundle is asked to choose which team impressed him the most last season, without a moment's hesitation he picks Lotus.
"They impressed me. They clearly have financial problems, but if you look at the season as a whole they took the fight to Red Bull. Despite everything, 'Team Enstone' did a super job."
The first of today's Live Action Arena shows is already kicking off, and there are several more chances to get an early taste of live motorsport (indoors!) today.
Among the highlights of the 2014 Arena is Classic Team Lotus bringing a selection of the famous marque's greatest Formula 1 cars, including this ex-Jim Clark Lotus 49.
(That's the 'original' Colin Chapman inspired Lotus team, by the way, rather than the current Enstone flavour with its Toleman/Benetton/Renault roots)
The Lotuses are not exactly flat-out around the Arena, but the incredible noise from the Ford Cosworth DFV engine inside the confines of the NEC is a spectacular experience.
Talk has turned to torque (see what we did there?).
"The 2013 cars won't have the top power, but they will have plenty of torque - they have nearly five times more torque than they did with the V8s."
Brundle also reckons F1 legend Ayrton Senna would have revelled with the new rule changes.
"He would have loved it. The intelligent and dedicated drivers will get there first. They understand because they're using less of their capacity.
"You saw it with Vettel with the blown-exhaust. The drivers that get their heads down and understand what is going on around them will succeed."
A member of the audience asks Brundle for his thoughts on DRS and whether he thinks it is a gimmick.
"The problem is the aerodynamics have got to the point that overtaking is near impossible.
"The good thing about DRS - when it works - is that it puts the cars side-by-side and allows drivers to get into places where they should be, not stuck behind slower cars."
And what does Brundle think about the introduction of double points at the final grand prix of the season?
"It means the race is somehow twice more important than Monaco or Silverstone and it feels fabricated - it seems to be a question to something that nobody was asking."
One element of AUTOSPORT International that shouldn't be forgotten is the opportunities it offers to get involved in motorsport - and not just as a driver.
An increasing number of colleges and universities are now offering motorsport-related courses, with plenty of chances for hands-on learning while getting qualifications in motorsport engineering and other aspects of the business, and several of them are showcasing their offerings (and their cars) here at ASI. The students of Wiltshire College have achieved great things with this Spectrum in Formula Ford 1600 racing in recent years.
So for any show visitors looking to get involved in motorsport engineering and pondering their options for this coming September, it's well worth checking out the variety of racing qualifications on offer at an array of establishments.
We have a legend in the bunker once again. John Surtees prepares to go back out onto the AUTOSPORT Stage with KX.
Henry immediately addresses the 'Sir' issue - is Surtees as frustrated as the fans that his achievements haven't been recognised with a knighthood?
"It wouldn't just be for me, it would be for all the people who've been part of my life all the way through, right back from when mum and dad came together and made the sacrifices they had to for me to start racing a motorcycle. It would be good for the industry too," he replies.
"But it's not for me to say."
Surtees is keen to express his sympathy for the badly injured Michael Schumacher and his family, saying it's hard for the motorsport world to feel celebratory in any way all the time F1's all-time record-holder is fighting for his life.
He also reflects on what Schumacher achieved at Ferrari.
"When I was at Ferrari I dreamed of making changes, such as making it more international because we were very isolated. It all came about in Michael's time. It made me think my thoughts weren't so wrong and maybe I was just a little bit before my time.
"I had tremendous admiration for Michael's performance on and off track for Ferrari and himself."
Before 'Big John' took to the stage, Brundle was asked if he had any knowledge on Michael Schumacher's current condition.
"I have spoken to a few people who are very close to him and they are sad and concerned," he said.
"We can only hope his destination is to full recovery, however long it takes, but clearly it is a pretty grave situation for him."
Brundle went on to say that his once Benetton team-mate has the attributes to return to full-health (the picture shows the pair on the Adelaide podium with Gerhard Berger in 1992)
"He was fearsome and so physically and mentally strong and that will help him through this.
"He rewrote the rules and we all had to raise our game. I think those advantages that made him such a good champion will give him a better chance to pull through this."
Now Surtees is talking about how aerodynamic testing in his day involved "pouring oil on the bodywork, sticking some wool tufts on there, taking photographs and we'd have the body-builder there with his hammer."
He also refers to the days when "hedges" were the main safety feature at some tracks...
Surtees is sharing some fascinating memories of working with Count Domenico Agusta and Enzo Ferrari at their legendary motorcycle and car marques.
His trick for making technical breakthroughs when riding for MV Agusta was "booking on the same sleeper train as the Count and making sure he didn't get any sleep..." You can imagine that Surtees was quite persuasive...
And here is the MV Agusta that Surtees rode to the 1960 500cc world title. This is one of an array of bikes and cars from his career that you can see in the special exhibition at AUTOSPORT International.
Surtees readily admits that his move into team ownership did not go wel.
"It was all a mistake in a way. It all happened a little bit by accident, as some things in life do.
"Perhaps I should have concentrated purely on being a racing driver and when I had an upset I should have turned to Colin Chapman and apologised for not signing that contract in 1960 and suggested we try again."
Last month, AUTOSPORT
broke the news
that Ferrari was taking a serious look at an LMP1 programme and its first bid for outright Le Mans 24 Hours victory in four decades.
Surtees took part in Ferrari's sportscar programmes while racing for its F1 team in the 1960s.
While he says he would welcome the sight of a Ferrari LMP1, he hopes it would not detract from Ferrari's F1 efforts - admitting that he used to resent how much attention the Le Mans programme required in his day.
A show guest asks Surtees why his Durex-sponsored F1 car isn't part of the exhibition, which he puts down to AUTOSPORT's shyness!
That leads to a reminisce about his first meetings with London Rubber Company about what was at the time a highly-controversial deal, and the assurances he sought about making sure promotions related to the branding were dignified - "despite the excitement that it might create".
Here's a shot of the 1977 Durex Surtees being driven by Vern Schuppan at that year's Austrian Grand Prix.
A very special video from the AUTOSPORT Stage with KX earlier this morning.
Martin Brundle gives his thoughts on his friend and 1992 Benetton F1 team-mate Michael Schumacher's recent accident, his recovery chances and how the seven-time champion's character had changed in recent years - including developing a love of skydiving.
A gaggle of KX-backed drivers have just arrived on stage, led by GT Supercup champion Tom Ingram who has recently graduated from the scheme which aims to assist young British drivers in touring and sportscar racing.
A little retro gem that caught AUTOSPORT's eye while wandering around the hall.
This massive banner depicts Colin Chapman with his Lotus team and drivers Nigel Mansell and Elio de Angelis lined up for a promotional event at Brands Hatch in 1981 (we reckon, based on a squint at the cars).
The Classic Team Lotus stand offers a wonderful snapshot of the marque's greatest days.
Ash Hand - the youngest of the KX Akademy graduates at 19 - confirms he will be competing in the Renault Clio Cup with Scuderia Vittoria this year.
Joining him will be Anthony Whorton-Eales and Alex Morgan, who made his comeback to racing in 2013 after several years out of the sport.
David Pittard steps up from the GT5 Challenge Category to the GT4 Supercup.
Back to Formula 1 now, and our second member of the 'class of 2014' to visit AUTOSPORT International 2014.
We'll have Sauber's new signing Adrian Sutil on stage in just a moment.
Sutil's appearance starts with happy birthday wishes. He turned 31 yesterday.
Naturally Michael Schumacher is foremost in Sutil's thoughts.
He wishes his countryman well, and underlines how much German motorsport owes Schumacher.
"It's such a shame, never the news you want to have during Chrismtas. We don't know how he is and I think everyone is wishing him luck.
"We have such respect for what he did in his career. We hope he will wake up very soon and with no brain damage. He's still a young person really and has a family, so fingers crossed.
"He brought motorsport up in Germany. He was the first German to be so successful in Formula 1. It caused a real racing boom in Germany and it was a real benefit for all of us.
"All the young driver programmes in Germany are now very, very good because of that boom when Michael was so successful.
"Now it's one of the strongest nations in Formula 1 from a driver poiint of view. At one stage we had seven German drivers in Formula 1."
Back to F1 2014, and Sutil jokes that a V6 engine isn't his absolute preference in life...
"My priority engines are V12, not V6. It's just half the size!
"But that's the way we're going, and it'll be good to have much more economic engines."
Motorsport pundit and amateur rally driver Tony Jardine has impeccable taste:
great event, great crowds. Motor sport industry at its best."
After spending his whole Formula 1 career so far at various incarnations of what is now Force India, Sutil is heading for Sauber this season.
He tells the AUTOSPORT International crowd why he was ready for a change, and the advantages of working with his new employer.
"It's a refreshing change. I had a good time with Force India for many years.
"I started in 2006 as a test driver when it was the Midland team. The car was 3s off the pace, and always second to last or last.
"We brought the car up to the front, and sometimes almost on the podium. I was on the front row at Monza and had fastest lap in 2009, and my team-mate [Giancarlo] Fisichella was on the podium at Spa. We had good results and a very good time.
"I felt it was time for a change for me. New team, new regulations, new car and it's very close to home - just a one-hour drive from where I am in Switzerland.
"I can speak German there, and use my time more efficiently.
"I hope to start the season as Sauber finished it, that would already be quite a good success.
"Force India and Sauber have been fighting against each other for quite a few years. Last year Force India started strong, it finished a bit more difficult and it was hard to get into the top 10, whereas Sauber was very strong at the end, so let's see.
"From my point of view, hopefully Sauber will be in front of Force India this year."
Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish will be joining us on the AUTOSPORT Stage with KX shortly.
The Dane's feet have been the subject of plenty of backstage conversation this weekend, as he has accompanied his sharp suit with a pair of classic Adidas trainers, which AUTOSPORT respects.
Other sartorial observations from the weekend so far: we liked Corvette sportscar star Oliver Gavin's shirt, and that Caterham F1 team protege Will Stevens chose a particularly... intriguing... shade of blue for his suit jacket.
The crowd - a dozen-deep - can't help but stifle their guffaws as Allan McNish makes hard work of trying to sit on a chair.
McNish is waxing lyrical about his love of the Circuit de la Sarthe. It's fair to say he's going to miss pounding round the place
now he's retired
from sportscar racing.
"When I went in 1997 for the first time, the hairs on the back on my neck where standing on end." said the Scotsman. "It's unlike any other circuit in the world and once it's in your veins, it's impossible for it to get out."
Here's the video of the first of Adrian Sutil's AUTOSPORT Stage with KX appearances of the day:
AUTOSPORT International doesn't just offer massive diversity in terms of motors, but also in terms of shopping.
You can, for example, buy spend hundreds of pounds on a lovely Caracalla leather bag. And then you can pop to the stand next door and buy a metre of 12mm split tubing for £1.
Asked who might replace McNish as his team-mate this season, Kristensen jovially replies: "There's no new McNish, and thank god for that. I have only heard one name bandied around as a replacement and that's Dindo Capello!"
McNish takes it more seriously: "Anyone in the current Audi driver pool would be a good replacement."
One burgeoning national racing series that meets with AUTOSPORT's approval is the HSCC's Super Touring Trophy.
Earlier this week we revealed that the championship would
support the current BTCC
at Oulton Park in June, while yesterday 1997-2000 BTCC superstar Anthony Reid promised our features editor Kevin Turner that if he found a 1998 Nissan Primera on good tyres, he'd be up for doing the race and trying to beat the 2014 BTCC pole time!
Here's a Super Touring car we never saw racing in the BTCC: the Alfa Romeo 156, as used by Fabrizio Giovanardi and others in Italy.
Alfa famously took the BTCC by storm with Gabriele Tarquini and the 155 in 1994, but was gone by the start of '96.
For more Super Touring nostalgia, check out the
special feature package
we ran last August.
Kristensen reckons Mark Webber will revel in his return to endurance racing with Porsche.
"Mark is a sportscar driver and we just lent him out to Formula 1 for a few years," says the nine-time Le Mans winner. "He'll fit in again and maybe he'll have a better time with Porsche than he did in F1 in the final years.
"It'll be a grand battle between us (Audi) and Porsche."
Stunt driver Terry Grant is a Live Action Arena stalwart, and has been donut-ing his way around the hall relentlessly again this year.
His 2014 trick is to set his Legend up spinning by itself, climb out of it, run across to the crowd, pinch a spectator's camera, climb back into his pirouetting car, then film the rest of his donut display from the cockpit with the camera he has just commandeered.
Grant raises the stakes further by donut-ing around the compere of this section of the show - a move that has got literally too close for comfort on at least one occasion this weekend.
Backstage has just become unruly: it's full of touring car drivers.
Andrew Jordan, Jason Plato, Matt Neal, Gordon Shedden and Rob Austin are about to head out to meet the crowd.
Plato declines the offer of a chair because a sitting posture will "show my winter belly".
Because Plato isn't sitting down, Neal won't either...
Austin tells the crowd he's looking forward to a good night's sleep tonight. The social side of AUTOSPORT International can be pretty heavy for some racing drivers.
Austin had some good news to reveal this weekend.
After his breakthrough 2013 campaign, the loss of last year's title sponsor WIX raised some question marks, but he's been able to announce new backing from Exocet and intends to have two Audis on track again in '14.
Champion Andrew Jordan alludes to the very juicy gossip sweeping AUTOSPORT International 2014 when he mentions that given rumours about who might appear in the series, it could be "one of the best in history."
Motorbase is the team at the centre of this talk. AUTOSPORT understands that it has been in touch with some former champions.
Some ominous words for Jordan from his predecessor Shedden: "for me, trying to defend the championship was in some ways harder than winning it."
Neal is asked about Honda's switch to the Civic Tourer shape for 2014, which brings the estate concept back to the BTCC for the first time since Volvo's infamous 1994 car.
He admits that Honda's marketing desire for "something quirky" was behind it but is utterly confident that it will be quick enough.
We've seen the drawings for months, and the car is here in the flesh at AUTOSPORT International.
It was one of the first things we were keen to see when we arrived here 300 years ago (or on Thursday morning, one of the two), and AUTOSPORT's verdict was that it doesn't look as outrageously oversized as you might've feared.
It's certainly going to be an intriguing addition to the grid.
Plato and Neal are joking about their many, many spats on and off-track. They reckon that about "80 per cent" of the animosity is real!
They're getting on just fine this weekend, but Shedden reminds the crowd that "it's only January."
And it's not just limited to Plato and Neal, as the former points to Jordan and promises "you're going to get some too!"
Look who we have spotted taking an interest in the plethora of automotive eye-candy dotted around the Birmingham NEC - it's none other than Boyzone singer and proficient drift car driver Shane Lynch.
The Irishman has been sliding his Japspeed Nissan around the Live Action Arena all weekend. His poor tyres...
Speaking of the Live Action Arena, David Croft and Pollyanna Woodward are now on the AUTOSPORT Stage to promote the indoor event. The Sky Sports F1 commentator says he is looking forward to the season ahead.
"Last year wasn't all that great, but 2014 will be a lot, lot different," he tells the audience. "I think F1 needs a change and I think - and hope - that Red Bull will come under intense pressure from the likes of Mercedes and McLaren."
The six McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award are next up, all in their nice pristine racesuits.
Inaugural BRDC Formula 4 champion Jake Hughes says he is proud of what he achieved last year - and rightly so - with a subtle hint that he is perhaps eyeing a move to Formula Renault NEC.
Charlie Robertson is expected to join BRDC F4 rivals Hughes and Seb Morris into FR NEC, while Jack Aitken is expected to chase the coveted Formula Renault 2.0 crown in 2014.
AUTOSPORT's Matt Beer just grabbed some of Adrian Sutil's time for some thoughts on F1 2013 and '14 that will appear in these pages over the coming weeks, including driver numbers.
Sutil hadn't realised that his choice of #99 was Greg Moore's CART number and was thrilled to find out.
He's a big supporter of the move to permanent numbers and the possibilities it offers, and sharing the #99 of "a driver I really admired when I was growing up" left Sutil beaming.
KX is the sponsor of the AUTOSPORT International main stage this year and is also playing a massive role in nurturing young tin-top and GT talent in the UK.
This video explains more about the KX Akademy scheme and features the graduates on stage this weekend:
AUTOSPORT rallies editor David Evans doesn't just shop for mud-related motorsport merchandise:
"Now, a dilemma... should we spend £34.99 on a James Hunt t-shirt? It's not hard is it?
"I now have 1p instead of £35 in my wallet. But I also have quite possibly the most fever t-shirt at the show."
With the news that live World Rally Championship action is returning to
UK television screens
, you may well see that t-shirt appearing in the background at stage ends as our rally expert joins the scrums around the drivers.
Speaking of rallying, M-Sport has had a heavy presence here this weekend.
Its new star signing Robert Kubica couldn't be here at AUTOSPORT International so sent a
for the crowd that he recorded after his amazing Janner Rally win last weekend.
Kubica snatches last-gasp ERC win
Team chief Malcolm Wilson was full of praise for Kubica when he
appeared on the main stage
, while the Ford Fiesta RS WRC that the Pole will drive under the Lotos banner this year has pride of place on our display.
M-Sport already amazed by Kubica
Around the corner, M-Sport's other WRC colour scheme has been taking shape in front of show visitors.
Yesterday the Fiesta on automotive wrap firm 3M's stand was in plain white livery. By the end of the day it was freshly bedecked in the colours that Mikko Hirvonen and Elfyn Evans will carry in this year's WRC.
Here's a shot of the work in progress yesterday lunchtime, and we'll show you the finished product later.
At least a James Hunt t-shirt was both available to buy and within David Evans's price range (ish).
The regular (frankly any excuse) appearance of the Peugeot 205 T16 WRC car in feature illustrations on AUTOSPORT might owe something to one member of the newsdesk's 205 obsession.
Over in the PistonHeads area, there's a roadgoing T16, but it's not for sale and even if it was it would be beyond AUTOSPORT's wages and family tolerance. As would the Ford RS200 next to it (just in case we fancied pretending to be Martin Schanche).
So we just had to stare in respectful silence.
Still a few more chances today to catch the Live Action Arena show.
Here are hosts David Croft and Pollyanna Woodward with some hints of what to expect:
After their most recent AUTOSPORT Stage with KX appearance, the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award finalists once again had to hurry back over to the Live Action Arena, where they are performing throughout the weekend.
The sextet are let loose in Caterhams around the indoor course, but are not technically allowed to race or show off too much.
They have confessed that things do get a bit "lairy"...
We're also eager to find out if 2013 winner Matt Parry has got around to trying a donut yet.
We understand that in rehearsals at the start of the weekend they were all egging each other on to misbehave during the show. Pressure was on Parry as designated pack leader, but he realised he hadn't actually tried a donut before, so went over to the Caterham Experience to get some lessons.
Wonder if he's put them into practice yet...? The final show of the afternoon might be one to watch.
And so begins the afternoon session of interviews, and who better to begin than two giants of the sport - John Surtees and Martin Brundle.
The duo are currently discussing the current issues facing young aspiring drivers, namely the importance of money to fund their racing endeavours.
"There are opportunities out there - Red Bull and the Racing Steps Foundation are doing a good job - but there needs to be a change for youngsters to be able to come through," says Surtees.
"It's not exclusive to this sport," counters Brundle. "But on talent alone, you have to be absolutely outstanding to get anywhere. Budgets are now a necessity, unfortunately."
With Martin Brundle and John Surtees talking about their very first steps in racing (banger racing for Brundle and club motorcycle racing for Surtees, who needed his £5 of prize money to buy petrol), it seems like a good chance to reiterate the wealth of opportunities for getting involved in racing at AUTOSPORT International.
The MSA's Go Motorsport initiative and many of the country's leading racing clubs have stands here, showing off the many possibilities for getting on the grid.
Motorsport is rarely genuinely cheap, but if there's anywhere in the world where you can find out how to race on the most limited of budgets, it's ASI.
Thoughts turn to the impending F1 season, which Brundle believes could be a disorderly affair to begin with.
"There is so much change and so much to learn; I reckon it will be chaotic at the start of the season," he says. "One thing for sure, we're heading to Melbourne with a lot of unknowns."
Surtees, meanwhile, suggests those with the extra-brainpower will capitalise on the changes.
"I think in the early stages it will require the drivers to use their intelligence," says 'Big John'. "Quite the way the driver uses the car and its gizmos adds another dimension and I think it will be quite exciting."
Back to contemporary F1 with Adrian Sutil now on the AUTOSPORT Stage. He was introduced to a Curly Wurly before stepping out in front of the crowd, but politely refused. That's one more for the AUTOSPORT team to munch on...
Sutil says he is looking forward to the season ahead and reckons the performance between the cars will be less dramatic than in previous years.
"I don't think there will be one team that will dominate everything and the midfield will be very close" says Sauber's new driver. "Normally regulation changes are good for the smaller teams to gain positions and to have exceptional results."
The German racer also confirms that Sauber will be attending the first pre-season test in Jerez at the end of the month, describing it as "necessary" for them to clock in as many miles as possible, given the raft of changes this year.
More British Touring Car Championship chat on stage now as Aiden Moffat talks about becoming the series' youngest-ever racer when he made his debut aged 16 at Knockhill last year. He's switching to the ex-Andy Neate Chevrolet for this year.
Chris Stockton is with Moffat. He's talking about the never-raced RML-build NGTC Chevrolet that he's bringing out in 2014.
Moffat admits that the autograph hunters took him by surprise when he joined Britain's highest profile car racing series.
"When you see someone coming up to you with a camera, you turn around to see who's behind you," he says.
McNish and Kristensen are back on the AUTOSPORT main stage and, unlike earlier on today, the Scotsman has figured out how to successfully sit on a chair.
We already know that Porsche is joining Audi and Toyota in LMP1 in 2014, that
Nissan is doing the same
in '15, and that
Ferrari is poised too
McNish reckons there are "two more manufacturers beyond the ones we already know about" planning to come in as well.
He predicts that 2014-6 will be "very bright" for top level sportscar racing.
"Le Mans brings iconic names back because it's an iconic place."
It seems like in the halcyon days of the Kristensen/McNish/Dindo Capello driver combination, Kristensen was the best organised.
McNish admits reports of him spending a lot of time asleep while Kristensen drove them around are close to the mark, and they agree that Capello was prone to getting lost on the way to circuit.
AUTOSPORT Stage with KX host Henry Hope-Frost has invited the crowd to quiz McNish and Kristensen, and the Scot is asked if he really, really does want to retire and there's honestly no other category he fancies racing in.
"I don't want to be in a position to have to put in the effort of full campaigns," McNish replies. "At the moment I've got absolutely no thoughts or desires.
"I'd like to do the Baja [cross country rally] or something similarly off the wall at some point.
"But that's something that's in the heart. Right now I'm looking forward to sitting back and watching."
The Live Action Arena organisers always try to rustle up some crowd-pleasing random shows, and one of this year's involves... these.
They begin their performance as two car fronts joined back-to-back with a driver at each end, race each other in that bizarre form for a bit, then split in half and do donuts on what we can only really describe as shopping trolley wheels on their cut-off end.
And they're flourescent.
Here are Brundle and Surtees discussing the current issues facing aspiring race drivers, particularly those with ambitions of reaching the upper echelons of the sport.
Those unruly touring car drivers are back and making a racket in the backstage bunker. Tsk!
Only a few hours left to go of AUTOSPORT International 2014, but good chances for shopping remain.
The Race to the Finish stand has some very intriguing items that have caught AUTOSPORT's attention this weekend.
Edd Straw was definitely tempted to buy a Chevrolet IndyCar V8 engine (less than £3000!) on Thursday, and there are plenty of chunks of Formula 1 car to use as unusual ornaments as well. Bit of 2007 Honda sidepod, anyone?
Discussion on stage turns to the new estate-shaped Honda Civic which Neal and Shedden will be driving this year.
"Look at that thing over there, that van... thing!" jests Plato, while Neal suggests it looks uncannily similar to the Ecto-1a (Google it) from Ghostbusters!
This is a car show, so there is an abundance of music pounding out of stands.
And standards are mixed. We hear
deputy editor Stuart Codling's duties on our sister magazine's stand were hampered by his rage when Simply Red's 'Fairground' filtered into his ears from a nearby exhibitor earlier in the weekend, for instance.
But one member of the AUTOSPORT team was lured across the hall today by the sound of the iconic opening of New Order's 'Blue Monday' (original 1983 12" version rather than any of the inferior later remixes) earlier today and found it was the Beetle Juice cocktail VW crew that was displaying such good taste.
They flirted with sacrilege by not playing its full 7m32s duration, but followed it with Michael Jackson's 'Don't stop 'til you get enough', which was a sufficiently fresh choice.
We've been tracking the progress of the 3M stand's livery mission with M-Sport's Ford Fiesta RS WRC through the weekend.
The car began Saturday morning in plain white, and its 2014 colour scheme was steadily applied by the 3M crew in front of the AUTOSPORT International crowd as the event progressed.
When you see it out in the World Rally Championship this year with Mikko Hirvonen and Elfyn Evans, it will look like this.
Ever wondered who are some of the top touring car drivers' favourite racers? One young member of the audience asked such a question...
Rob Austin: Win Percy; Matt Neal: John Cleland; Jason Plato: Neal(!) and Gilles Villeneuve; Gordon Shedden: Cleland; Andrew Jordan: Neal and Plato. Oh, and Dale Earnhardt.
The BTCC stars and their cars have been among the biggest draws all weekend, unsurprisingly, and veterans Plato and Neal have been doing plenty of reminiscing.
Both were around in the Super Touring era, as was this ex-Anthony Reid Ford Mondeo.
One element of
AUTOSPORT's Super Touring special
last summer was a feature on how the once-mighty category met its demise.
How Super Touring went off the rails
And it's fair to say that this Mondeo is a car people often think of when pondering the end of the era. Prodrive's 2000 Ford effort was famously big-budget, and the car featured little F1-style tweaks like the aerodynamic wheel covers you can see on the rear tyres here. There's none of that in NGTC...
There's another classic late-Super-Touring touch on the car too: the yellow window strip denoting that Reid has not yet made his mandatory pitstop.
Single-seater time again, and four rising British stars: GP2 frontrunner James Calado, Macau F3 GP winner Alex Lynn, 2012 British F3 champion Jack Harvey and his successor Jordan King.
Calado had some GP Friday practice outings with Force India in late-2013, but is remaining coy about his '14 plans.
Asked if he might get more Force India outings, Calado replies: "I don't know... Maybe... We'll have to see what happens. I'm sure I'll still be involved in Formula 1 and at the races."
It's a change of plan for Harvey this year, though.
He had a successful time in GP3 last season but is now crossing the Atlantic to race in Indy Lights with Sam Schmidt.
Harvey is far from worried about dropping off the F1 ladder. Calado was citing some of the budgets required for F1 seats now, and Harvey is quite comfortable with the prospect of making a career in America instead.
His first oval test is coming up at Homestead shortly.
"People look at it and say you've got two left hand corners, but the team make it clear that the ovals are the hardest part of the season.
"The balance is really hard to get right, and swapping from Europe and not coming from that American school will be hard.
British F3 champion Jordan King expects to stay with Carlin to race in the European series this year, though he says some final sponsor details needs to be sorted before the deal is fully done.
While four young drivers talk about their prospects of making it to F1, here's a man who is already there talking on the AUTOSPORT Stage with KX earlier today - Adrian Sutil:
You'll notice Alex Lynn is in full Red Bull gear, courtesy of his
with the firm behind the rise of Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat.
Those four are safely in F1 for 2014, but plenty more Red Bull proteges have been ditched when they failed to meet expectations.
That doesn't phase Lynn, though.
"I think it's been a very aggressive in past years, but if I don't win races I'm going to be more disappointed than Dr [Helmut] Marko," he declares.
"We all race to win and if you don't win, you don't make it to the top.
"If I do win, I stand a very good chance of making it to F1. It's a simple equation."
Macau GP win
(pictured) was his 2013 highlight, and he admits it was the clincher for Red Bull.
"We were having a few conversations beforehand, but Macau really sealed the deal. It's one of those races that really puts your name in lights."
We're coming to the close of AUTOSPORT International 2014, but the Live Action Arena still has one more show to go.
While the wild stunts and the historic Lotus Formula 1 cars grab a lot of attention, there's some real racing to watch as well.
As well as Smarts, VWs and BMWs from the UK club racing scene, there are F1 and F2 stock cars in proper flat-out action.
Last up on the AUTOSPORT Stage with KX is AmD boss Shaun Hollamby. Fellow tin-top tearaways Jack Goff and Dan Welch should also be up there with him, but have mysteriously vanished...
AUTOSPORT rallies editor David Evans bumped into Neil Simpson on the way into the show earlier in the weekend.
Now probably best known for selling Skodas in Colne, Neil was one of Britain's brightest rallying talents in the late 1990s.
And now he's finally seen sense and brought the best Skoda ever made – the Fabia S2000 – and he's going to be driving it himself.
Simpson's Skoda is on display on the Pirelli stand.
Most civilised section of AUTOSPORT International 2014?
We'd nominate the 'hospitality area' of Caterham's sumptuous stand.
It's like a little section of an English living room (clearly from a house owned by a man who's done rather well in Caterham racing) in the middle of the NEC.
AUTOSPORT news editor Glenn Freeman spent a while there earlier in the weekend, to the delight of the Caterham stand staff - who are only allowed to lounge on the sofas when they have guests!
AmD was a winner in 2013 in the now defunct S2000 class and, with Motorbase looking to develop a satellite operation with Hollamby's outfit, he sees a bright future ahead, especially in the financial sense.
"What will help us massively is we can borrow spares and we can draw on their resources," he says.
And that's it for the AUTOSPORT Stage with KX at AUTOSPORT International 2014.
The list of guests that host Henry Hope-Frost has interviewed over the past four days stretches well into three figures, headlined of course by John Surtees, Martin Brundle, Adrian Sutil, Max Chilton, Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Petter Solberg.
Even though Shaun Hollamby himself admitted that he perhaps wasn't the highest-profile finale, Henry did his best to hype the crowd by introducing the AmD chief as "four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel."
Hollamby duly approximated a Vettel 'victory finger'...
This is what an AUTOSPORT Stage host looks like as he returns to the bunker for the final time for another 12 months.
He's now celebrating with a Kit-Kat and a coffee, like all champions.
We're pretty sure he didn't have that beard on Thursday morning.
If you want to relive AUTOSPORT International 2014, you can still browse our live blogs from
, or you can watch video highlights from the stage:
AUTOSPORT's YouTube channel
There will also be a comprehensive recap of the show in this week's AUTOSPORT magazine.
AUTOSPORT Live returns with
Race Centre Live
coverage from the World Rally Championship-opening Monte Carlo Rally across Thursday to Saturday next week, and then with our usual comprehensive
Live coverage of F1 testing
starting with the January 28-31 Jerez sessions.
If you've liked the look of AUTOSPORT International but have only been able to follow from afar this year, then you should keep an eye on the
for full details of and tickets for next year's event in January 2015.
But that's 12 months away, so for now it's goodbye from the AUTOSPORT news bunker (it's as glamorous as the picture suggests, but even less fragrant).
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