The weekend of December 1st – 4th saw the running of the inaugural MotorWorld Sydney event; an interactive automotive festival showcasing manufacturer’s latest offerings in motoring technology. Spekture was invited along to Thursday’s media day at Sydney Motorsport Park to sample some of the cars on show, and to experience the event first-hand prior to the arrival of the busy crowds expected over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
On hand were a barrage of vehicles made available to the public to test drive on the race circuit. Exhibitors at the event included Jaguar, BMW, Volvo and Subaru, to name just a few, with others bringing exciting models such as the Ford Focus RS, Audi S5 and the Lotus Evora 400. In my mind, I had already allocated my time to these vehicles and I duly planned to stay circulating the race track. However, if hot-laps of the race circuit were not to your taste, the option of sampling your vehicle of choice via the road and street tour was available, but lets be honest, we didn’t come here for that did we?
A somewhat muddled start to the media event saw a mix-up of the car allocations, turning the test into a first-come, first-served basis. Having reluctantly abandoned my allocated tests, I made way way to the vacant seat of my first drive of the day – The new Ford Mustang GT. A few laps of he circuit gave most people the confidence they were lacking in the first of the morning sessions. Time to swap vehicles, and up next was the Ford Fiesta ST. A fun buzz-box that was surprisingly fun. As the sessions went on, I was able to sample a number of vehicles including the BMW 135, Audi S5, Volvo Polestar, and Holden Commode SS. During the day, with available drives and empty seats somewhat limited, I accepted the offer of another to accompany them in the Lotus Elise, however being passenger is never quite the same as driving. My final dive for the session saw me make my way to the Ford Focus RS. And what a beast… the performance of this car really surprised me.
After the media drive sessions were complete, I made my way to the Jaguar, Art of Performance Tour to watch others test their skills in the Smart Cone Challenge. Likened to the sports agility training game ‘Batak’ this event is just as unpredictable. As a car is driven, its precise co-ordinates are measured in relation to the cones and sent to a central computer system 100 times per second to track its performance. The driver then receives a score report that takes into account the model of car used, the weather and the driving conditions. An interesting event that has potential to challenge the likes of Club Gymkhana events.
Aside from the vehicle displays and demonstrations, the event also had a number quality educational and entertainment programs with live action, exciting competitions and fun activities for the kids, making it a special event for the family and car enthusiasts alike. The Western Sydney Institute of TAFE had a fantastic display demonstrating the engineering programs associated with the motoring industry. The exhibit included a demonstration of the TAFE’s involvement in the F1 In Schools program. Teacher, Matt Sharpe who was at the event explained more about the program: “High School is a critical time where industry needs to target the future workforce. The F1 in Schools Program offers students a way to learn Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths related subjects in an exciting way. By achieving great results we know we are able to engage kids and increase the intake of students into Engineering careers. It is a great initiative that has the support of the Formula One community, including that of Mr Bernie Ecclestone who has assisted in funding this world-wide program.”
Another option for those into off-roading was an extensive list of off-road SUV’s enabling the punters a chance to test drive and compare brands and models through a series of live demonstrations and drive challenges. I was drawn in by the gathering of crowds at the Land Rover exhibit, where you could be driven in the latest range of their luxury models over the thrilling “Twin Terrapod” to sample the climbing ability as well as the automated decent control feature of these vehicles.
A total of 700 test drives were available across the track, street and dirt demonstrations, however my limited time was never going to see me put a dent into that quota. Looks as though we will have to add to our tally next year.