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Birmingham gets to the heart of the 2020 racing season

Autosport International


Strong Italian presence, with leading companies in the motorsport sector, at the important British exhibition

Marco Angrisani

In January, the world of motorsport meets in Birmingham. Thus the 2020 edition of Autosport International, the thirtieth anniversary, was the perfect opportunity for insiders to discuss, during the four-day motorsport bonanza, issues related to the sector as well as all the latest news. An appointment aimed at improving performance both on and off the track during the 2020 racing season.

Visitors could also experience the emotions that only the world of motorsport can guarantee, thanks to live events that were organized in an area specially set up and dedicated to the shows: The Live Action Arena. During the show, it was not unusual to meet some of the world’s most famous drivers walking between the stands dispensing autographs. Past and present champions such as Charles Leclerc, David Coulthard, Ari Vatanen and Johnny Herbert were happy to share their experiences with a large and enthusiastic audience.

Valentyna Podgorodetska - Autosport sales director said: "We are delighted by the brilliant outcome of the event; The Live Action Arena was particularly appreciated by everyone in attendance who enthusiastically followed all live performances. We are celebrating the thirtieth edition of the fair and the seventy years of Autosport Magazine (the most appreciated English language magazine in the sector – Editor’s note) and this was the perfect opportunity to take a look at the future of motorsport, as well as celebrating the past with an exhibition of some the most significant cars for each decade".

Specialists in the sector had the opportunity to get to the heart of their activities thanks to the B2B soul of the fair, developed within the Business Forum and the Autosport Engineering Show. During the first three days of the Autosport International fair, a number of speakers took turns on the stage of the Business Forum, addressing some of the hottest topics and issues plaguing the world of motorsport. Obviously, they also talked about product innovation, optimization of business processes, cost reduction, innovative composite materials and their use.

A specific focus dealt with the use of social media to promote the world of motorsport. Attracting a young audience and aiming at a generational change was one of the issues that all championship promoters are trying to address in a rather complicated economic scenario. Thanks to the close collaboration existing between the event organisers and the group, world leader in the specialist media sector, the topics covered were many and of global importance.

For example, an in-depth examination of the future of motorsport, which is already undergoing an important transition in terms of power-units: from ICE engines to hybrid, moving towards full electric. Significant, in fact, was the presence of some of the leading figures and organisers of the Formula E World Championship, who attended Autosport International for the first time, to promote the new season, which got underway in Saudi Arabia last November.

Jerome Hiquet, Formula E's chief marketing officer, said: "We are participating in Autosport International for the first time, right after starting what we consider the most challenging and competitive season ever. The Birmingham show has long been known to host the world's most technologically advanced racing cars, so it's only fair that Formula E showcases the future of motorsport to the visitors”.

Walking around the stands of the Engineering section and sharing information with a number of insiders, an interesting trend has emerged as companies operating in motorsport are constantly engaged in innovating processes and products aimed at generating a technology transfer between their sector and other advanced industrial sectors that need to constantly draw on cutting-edge technologies. Nanotechnologies, for example, but also biomedical, aerospace and military sectors can benefit from technology transfer from the world of motorsport.

As always one of the highlights of the event involves the award ceremony for the most innovative products. Great recognition for the Italian motorsport sector as the Product Showcase Award of Autosport International went to Sparco. The Volpiano-based company's racing seats, produced with QRT (Quick Resin Technology), developed and patented by Sparco's R&D division, demonstrate how applying technologies borrowed from other sectors can benefit the motorsport world thanks to a technology transfer. This production technique, which stems from aviation technology, can lower seat weights by 25-30%, which could at times make the difference between winning or losing a race. Niccolò Bellazzini, Sparco brand manager said: "Sparco has always been at the forefront of research, as a supplier of innovative products and we are very proud of this award"; then talking about other activities the company is involved in, stated: "At Birmingham we will be presenting an almost entirely new collection of racing apparel and shoes. We have also renewed our team-wear, with - for the first time - product lines dedicated to children, in addition to our bags created in collaboration with Italian luggage manufacturer, Roncato".

Furthermore, the Engineering section saw the participation of top managers and companies from RPM (Rete Professionisti Motorsport), which brings together Italian professionals as well as small and medium sized companies operating in the world of motorsport, with the aim of developing new business opportunities and establish new international contacts to benefit the many excellent products they produce and supply to some of the most important teams and championships around the world.

Finally, Autosport International could not neglect to have a special section dedicated to the centres of excellence for university education present in the United Kingdom. Under the aegis of the Careers & Education exhibition section, the most important universities and research centres in the UK presented their courses, while students could be contacted by companies always looking for new blood for their R&D divisions.

The 2020 edition closed with the usual success of public, operators and companies, all of which promised to meet again in Birmingham in January 2021 for the thirty-first edition of Autosport International.



RPM (Rete Professionisti Motorsport)

Rpm is a network of companies founded in March 2019 in Modena. Its goal is to develop and promote globally Italy’s excellence in performance engineering and many of the small and medium Italian companies operating in the motorsport industry. The know-how of these companies is characterized by the natural ability to innovate and accelerate innovation processes by leveraging technological research, expertise and people management; all this is constantly put to the test by the competitive challenges coming from the racing world. These challenges are generating all the abilities needed to develop solutions for other sectors, including automotive, aviation, aerospace, defence and biotechnology. Several companies in the network (currently 18 in the country from north to south) work in some of these sectors and Rpm is proving instrumental in stimulating and enhancing this ability to innovate and generate technology transfer. The network has already played a leading role in various initiatives in this sense and is looking at further stimulating the growth of its member companies.

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