The last time we were stood outside at a car related show, was back in May. Believe me, it’s been a very long five months! And, considering the turnout at the second edition of the Emirates Motorsports Expo, we weren’t the only ones who have been sat waiting for the 2017-18 season to kick off.
A near perfect way to start the season? Well this had something for everyone (well anyone who likes cars) and an opportunity for a family day out. Initially the show was created to kick start the motorsport season, giving visitors an insight into what it takes to compete in any of the many forms of motorsports which take place in the UAE. This year there was an increase in the amount of modified cars that were on show throughout the paddock, something we are more than partial too.
Aside from the ATC’s official press conference, there were a number of announcements made throughout. Energy Racing Dubai had some of the biggest news, officially announcing their new sponsorship deal with Silberpfeil, a German based energy drink which will be hitting our shelves soon.
Their F4 team has been rebranded to orange, separating them from their karting division which still features their classic blue design. Team owner, Kevin Day, is hoping for big things this season, with a growing grid he is looking at running two additional cars this season. Mohammed Bin Sulayem officially unveiled the 2017-18 livery for their F4 cars which will look the part when put against Yas Marina’s stunning backdrop.
Karting is seen to be the cheapest and easiest way into motorsports, and there was strong representation from all involved in the UAE’s karting scene. Al Ain Raceway unveiled their brand new rental kart at the expo. Their new RD1 kart is fitted with a Rotax race engine and will offer a completely new experience in ‘arrive and drive’ racing in this region.
We spent too much time lusting over this Renault GT car which is owned by GP Extreme. Having seen it compete in both the 12 and 24 hours last year, powered by a GTR engine it doesn’t just look the part but it has its own distinct sound. This year GP Extreme are looking at entering it into some sprint races as well as endurance. Lets just hope they clean it before it heads back out on track.
The Race Room simulator challenge kept us all busy, although we didn’t find out who took the top three spots. Unfortunately, we were couldn’t bring our A game to the table, missing out on the three great prizes that were on offer.
There were more than a few bargains on offer with everything from fully built race cars, off road rally cars and go karts for sale. This older generation Radical was up for a very reasonable price, it definitely got me thinking about purchasing a dedicated track car.
Due to our lack of knowledge (and not a lack of appreciation) off roading is something we usually over look. But there were a large number of off road race ready vehicles.
As I mentioned earlier the show wasn’t just about motorsports. With a number of interesting modified cars on display, many that we hadn’t seen prior to the event. MOCA had brought along this SEMA winning monster of a Jeep Wrangler. Not to everyone’s taste however, it was getting a lot of attention. Regardless of your point of view, the amount of work that has gone into it is crazy.
Volvos from the mid 80’s, early 90’s were generally referred to as bricks, being known for their reliability rather than their performance. Seeing one in the UAE is a rare sight, and this one which was on Petrol Heads Arabia’s stand was a little bit different, as it’s power plant has been replaced with a 2JZ. Missing the tried and tested single turbo upgrade, it wouldn’t have been putting down silly numbers, but still, it must be a lot of fun to drive.
Tomini joined in with the fun bringing along a few cars. This ’73 Lamborghini Espada looked the picture. Not known for four seater touring cars its still a looker even if its hard to draw comparisons with Lamborghini’s usual supercar look. Next to it was sat another car from the same year, a Porsche 911 which features the larger, more performance orientated 2.4 litre engine.
With the stance scene ever-growing there were a few tidy examples on display. Some were well known to us, such as John’s SRT. But both these Challengers are fairly fresh to us, with the white Liberty Walk Challenger sitting pretty on an interesting set of BC Forged wheels.
The social media promotion had been stepped up compared to last year, and the Dubai Autodrome did a great job of creating a buzz in the lead up into the event. This had a huge effect on the numbers that came through Dubai Autodrome’s paddock making it a very busy event. There was clearly more than a few people who were feeling much like us, the summer really was too long!
We can’t pick any holes in the Dubai Autodrome’s efforts. They have worked hard to create an event that any petrol head can bring his/hers entire family along with them. One that is now firmly established as the season opener.