The unofficial start of the motorsport year is the annual Autosport International Show at the NEC in Birmingham and for 2019, the show went to the next level, literally.

Spread across two levels, the show packed in more motorsport thrills than previous years with nearly a complete grid of F1 cars (boo for Sauber and Toro Rosso for being absent) on show and a special appearance of McLaren’s new driver line up, Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz to open the show to the public on Saturday. Kudos McLaren, great stuff.

Pirelli, WRC and BTCC all had a strong presence at the show with many cars on show for fans to get up close to. The Live Action Arena was upgraded for 2019 too, providing a fantastic live motorsport thrill for fans, featuring a special appearance from Billy Monger.

The show also featured the first appearance of the new W Series – focused on encouraging greater female presence in motorsport. It’s a bold mission, one that divides many fans, but it was great to see them there, with a terrific stand, answering questions and giving visitors the chance to race the new car on a proper simulator.

The show is a haven for motorsport shoppers with hundreds of merchandise sellers setting up shop at the NEC offering everything from art work to helmets, to sunglasses made from used planks of F1 cars. Yes, really! Checkout Jabrock.

The highlight of this years show has to be Ayrton Senna, or rather, Paul Oz’s Ayrton Senna sculpture. Life-size, made from bronze and a culmination of a year-long project for Paul, it has universally been applauded and rightly so.

It’s an incredible piece, won the hearts of fans attending the show, trending on Twitter and won the attention of McLaren, F1 themselves and just above everyone else. Paul Oz is a friend of Fantasy GP, so we’re super chuffed that his latest and by far his most ambitious project to date has been such a massive success. Well done Paul, you’ve owned Autosport International 2019! Read more about the Senna by Paul Oz here.

Most images via @Sareyware – For even more about the show, have a read of Sareyware’s fan review here.