For drivers and dreams
The tag line of the 2012 Essen Motor Show was 'For drivers and dreams'. To a large extent this covers the nature of the event, which caters to both the tuner and motorsport enthusiasts. Although the tuner displays can be a bit overwhelming to the more sensitive among us, 'Essen' has achieved a workable balance between the two main themes. At this year's show, they were treated to a display celebrating the imminent 50 year anniversary of the Porsche 911 and a collection of historic racing cars from the first 40 years of the World Sports Car Championship. Also on hand were a relatively large number of manufacturers, showcasing both their latest racing cars and their lines of aftermarket options. For the more tuner orientated visitors, the show once again boasted a small track on which the latest drifting machines were exercised. As always the remainder of the twelve halls were filled with a wide variety of exhibitors offering all the automotive related merchandise one can dream off.
Making the most of the relative quiet of the preview day, our photographers explored the vast Messe Essen and have returned with this 120-shot gallery
50 Years of the Porsche 911
Although a few months early, the Essen Motor Show already marked the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911. The legendary machine was introduced in the fall of 1963 and has since been a remarkable success both in the salesroom and on the racing track. Not surprisingly, the competition exploits took centre stage in Essen with a packed display on the stand of Techno Classica organiser SIHA. Among the cars featured were several works prepared examples like the 911 that was used in the Paris-Dakar Rally back in the early 1980s and the more recent 911 GT1, which scored a one-two victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans back in 1998. Also on hand were several models fielded and constructed by the Kremer brothers. The most famous of these was the 935 K3, which was raced on both sides of the Atlantic with great success. Finished in the ever striking Jagermeister colours, the example on display was campaigned in the 1980 DRM Championship by the likes of Jochen Mass and Rolf Stommelen.
Toyota Motorsport GmbH
Following Toyota's withdrawal from Formula 1 at the end of 2009, the company's motorsport subsidiary in Cologne, Germany was forced to seek out new opportunities to keep their staff employed. TMG bounced back remarkably well, renting out their advanced wind-tunnel to the likes of Ferrari but also by developing new Toyota racing cars. These ranged from the relatively standard Yaris R1A to the highly advanced TS030, which made its competition debut at Le Mans earlier this year. In the following rounds of the resurrected World Endurance Championship, the single TS030 often proved more than a match for the seasoned Audi team. In the five remaining races, the petrol-hybrid prototype won three times. To celebrate these achievements TMG had a sizeable stand in the hall dedicated to motorsport. Taking centre stage alongside the TS030 was the Lexus LS-based TS-650. Powered by a 650 hp, twin-turbo V8, this high performance sedan may very well become the first limited production road to originate from the Cologne facility.
World Sports Car Championship
As mentioned above, the FIA established a new World Endurance Championship with the 24 Hours of Le Mans as the blue ribband event. This meant a return of the much-missed championship that was last held back in 1992. To underline why it was missed by so many, a superb collection of sports racers was assembled that raced in the world championship between 1953 and 1992. Among them were actual Le Mans-winning cars like the Jaguar XJR-9 that scored the marque's first victory since 1957 and the very DBR1 that brought Aston Martin's its only victory in 1959. That very important car has been regularly and successfully raced in historic events for many years but is now offered for sale for a rumoured GBP 20 million. This display was certainly stuff of dreams also included a Ford GT40 and Porsche 917K both in Gulf livery, three Silver Arrows from the Mercedes-Benz factory museum and one of the Peugeot 905s that won the very last World Championship.
As always the 2012 edition of the Essen Motor Show delivered something to suit every automotive enthusiast's needs. With a lot of ground to cover, it did take some time to weed through the less appealing exhibits to find the true gems. Fortunately, we did this work for you, so our 120-shot gallery
includes all of those gems and only a selection of the rest.