Motor Sports Association Chief Executive Colin Hilton officially opened the 2009 Autosport International Show at the NEC yesterday.
Colin Hilton was flanked by MSA Elite programme members Adam Gould (left) and Alexander Sims, who in the past month have claimed the two biggest prizes in British motor sport for young drivers - the Pirelli UK Star Driver shootout and the McLaren Autosport Driver of the Year respectively.
Speaking at the opening, Colin Hilton said: “I am delighted to open Autosport International this year. It is a vital event for the motor sport community and gives great impetus for the new season. The MSA invested more than £1.2m in the development of UK motorsport last year and we will continue this programme of investment in 2009 to ensure that the sport continues to grow in these challenging times.”
Haymarket Exhibitions Managing Director, Gavin Brown said: “We’re very pleased to have Colin open the show for us this year,” added. “We value the MSA’s work in British motorsport and our relationship with them. Colin’s presence here today validates that. It’s is also comforting to see the motorsport industry unite for the show, as it does every year, particularly in these financially difficult times.”
Colin Hilton was then the first guest on the Autosport central stage. Asked about the effect that recently-crowned Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton was having on British motorsport, he said: “Lewis has significantly lifted the profile of the sport in the general media and he also helped us to launch the Go Motorsport initiative at McLaren’s headquarters, so he is giving back and contributing a great deal even if it’s not always seen by the public.”
The MSA’s Go Motorsport scheme encourages first timers to get involved with motor sport and has a stand in Hall 7 of the show. Also on the stand is Let’s Go Karting – the MSA’s subsidised initiative to give children their first taste of karting for just £5 – and Volunteers in Motorsport who look after the recruitment and retention of marshals and volunteer officials.
Release MSA09-001: 9 January 2009
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