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– Autosport International, the world’s biggest pre-season motorsport show, marked its opening day with the launch of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship
– WRC cars, drivers, co-drivers and team principals for 2019 from M-Sport Ford, Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT, Toyota Gazoo Racing and Citroën Total WRT were all introduced to the crowds
– McLaren CEO Zak Brown and F1 drivers Lando Norris Carlos Sainz opened the first public day and spoke to fans on the Autosport stage
– Karun Chandhok, Billy Monger, Darren Turner and British Touring Car Championship racers round off the list of motorsport icons on star-studded ‘Super Saturday’
– 1966 Lotus Cortina, raced by Jim Clark, Graham HIll and Jacky Ickx went under the hammer at Silverstone Auctions and sold for £150,000

McLaren F1 drivers Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris opened the first public day of Autosport International in what has been a spectacular day of star-studded interviews, including the global launch of the 2019 World Rally Championship (WRC) season.

The public were treated to the unveils of all four new 2019 season World Rally Cars: the M-Sport Ford, Toyota Gazoo Racing, Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT, Citroën Total WRT. Immediately after unveiling their cars, each driver at the show revealed their chosen race numbers for the upcoming year. All of the 2019 WRC cars will remain at the show on Sunday before heading of to Monte-Carlo for the first rally in two weeks time.

Away from the rally fanfare, McLaren’s 2019 F1 drivers Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz were on hand to entertain the crowds on the main Autosport stage. Lando Norris talked about getting ahead of his new teammate, the technical changes for 2019 and adjusting mentally to the challenge of his debut season in the top tier of motorsport. He said:

“Last year I didn’t win the championship so it was a good enough year for me to learn that I can’t always win. Every year something changes and you can’t always be where you want to and I think that’s something I’ve got to learn and something I’ve already started to learn last year in how you have to develop , how you have to progress and you have to become better as a team.

“In F1 everything is different, so there’s a lot of things that you have to put together to become better overall…but over time I’ll become a better driver in terms of helping myself help the team and therefore one day hopefully be able to win the world championship!”

Teammate Carlos Sainz discussed taking back control of his career after leaving the Red Bull family, the plan to go back to the top with McLaren and the changes in progress to improve overtaking in F1. On the upcoming change in regulations for 2019, he said:

“Hopefully yes it will make a difference, but until I test it (the car) on track it’s going to be impossible to tell, but I welcome the change. If it’s trying to make racing better and it’s been well planned by Liberty and the FIA and has proved in simulations to be better, then I think as a Formula 1 fan and a Formula 1 driver, I welcome that.

“Fuel saving is something that I hate and hopefully it is out of Formula 1 next year with this extra 5kgs which is a good move.”

Norris later went to be reunited with the very Ginetta G40 used for his first racing season in the Ginetta Junior Championship in 2014 and the United Autosports Ligier JSP217 raced at the Daytona 24 Hours in 2018.

The main Autosport stage was abuzz with a raft of motorsport names present at the show. Former F1 driver Karun Chandhok, WEC racer Darren Turner, Billy Monger and a plethora of British Touring Car Championship drivers.

Tributes to the late Henry Hope-Frost were also paid on on the Autosport Stage. Crowds gathered to watch as drivers and close friends regaled stories of one of motorsports most loved presenters. A montage of Henry’s notable moments was played before the introduction of an all-new ‘#Fever Award’ was announced. An award which offers the winner a one year paid internship at Motorsport Network to cover a racing series for one season. The inaugural recipient was Lucy Morson.

A number of high profile cars went under the hammer from Silverstone Auctions. A 1966 ex-works Lotus Cortina, one of three built and raced by Jim Clark, Graham Hill and Jacky Ickx sold for £150,000. A 1985 MG Metro 6R4, which was on display at Williams F1 factory for more than 20 years, came with only 175 miles on the clock and sold for the same amount. A 1935 Mercedes Benz Type 290 Cabriolet ‘B’ sold for well above the asking price at £108,000, thanks to a bidding war between phone buyer and the eventual winner in the room.

The Live Action Arena is open to those of all ages willing to see a range of loud, powerful machines driven by some of the world’s most skilled drivers putting together a spectacular show of drifting, precision car control and nail-biting stunts.

Those arriving early to Autosport International for the final day on Sunday will see F1 legend Johnny Herbert, Billy Monger and Karun Chandhok open the show and talk on the main Autosport stage throughout the day.

Autosport International is part of Motorsport Network’s flagship title, Autosport – one of the world’s leading print and online motorsport publishers. Motorsport Network is the world’s largest independent automotive and motorsport-related digital platform, connecting millions of people who love motorsport and cars.

The network also creates key industry events including the annual Autosport Awards and the Motorsport Business Leaders’ Forum.

Public tickets for the final day are still available at: http://www.autosportinternational.com.

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