The British Automobile Racing Club is one of the biggest motorsport organisations in the United Kingdom, with a rich and illustrious history that spans more than 100 years.
Today, the BARC is responsible for organising more than 35 championships and upwards of 60 race meetings each year – and the path to the present day as been an iconic one.
Formed in 1912 as The Cyclecar Club, the Club grew quickly as it organised events at Brooklands along with rallies and touring trials on open roads. In 1919, following World War One, the decline of cyclers led to a change of name to the Junior Car Club.
Immediate success followed with membership growing and regional centres being formed, all by 1921. In that same year the Junior Car Club organised the first long-distance race to be staged in Britain – a 200 mile encounter at Brooklands which was ultimately won by Henry Seagrave.
After the Second World War Brooklands as a venue was no more and the Junior Car Club amalgamated with the Brooklands Automobile Racing Club. Come 1949 the Club changed its name to the British Automobile Racing Club and took up residence at Goodwood circuit, its new home.
Involved in all manner of events such as the Formula 1 British Grand Prix at Aintree and the reopening of Crystal Palace, the BARC continued to affirm its status as one of the leading motorsport organisations in the country in the years that followed.
Goodwood provided the backdrop to many important BARC promotions, with at least one International fixture taking place each year. Easter Monday International’s would often feature Formula 1 races whilst in the 1950’s, nine-hour sports car races were run, the first after-dark racing event to be ever organised in the UK.
When Goodwood closed its doors in 1966 it once again left the BARC without a home. Transforming from a bleak wartime airfield into a permanent motor racing venue, Thruxton Circuit opened its doors in 1968 and the Hampshire track became the new headquarters of the BARC from 1974 onwards.
As the Club became instrumental in introducing all manner of new championships, the stature of the organisation continued to grow exponentially virtue of active centres in South East, South West, Midlands, North West, Yorkshire, Wales and Ontario.
In addition, the BARC also set itself apart from the rest by operating three UK race tracks; Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire (from 2006 onwards), Pembrey Circuit in South Wales (from 1990 onwards) and Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire. Two hillclimb venues, Gurston Down and Harewood Hill, are also part of the Club’s impressive portfolio.
During the 1990’s the BARC played its part in a raft of major events taking place including the birth of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, BBC Top Gear’s World Electric Challenge and the first-ever FIA international Touring Car series in the same year.
Responsible for organising some of the highest international race meetings in Europe, the BARC has one of the best worldwide reputations for event organisation and promotion.
Since the turn of the millennium the BARC has continued to position itself at the forefront of British motorsport. In 2005 the Club purchased TOCA, the company that operates the prestigious British Touring Car Championship, whilst the number of high-profile and club championships continued to be added, giving drivers ample choice to race within the BARC.
Improvements to venues, including a Skid Pan and Hospitality Centre at Thruxton have ensured that the BARC and all that is associated for it to remain at the very pinnacle of the sport.
Broadening the geographical and operational spread of our existing activities and further enhancing the Club’s standing within the motorsport industry, the BARC will forever continue in its aim of being the best.
The BARC’s Gold Medal is awarded by the Council of the BARC “for outstanding achievement in motor racing by British subjects”. This is not an annual award, and is given only when the Council of the BARC considers it is meritedDownload
This medal is awarded to a member of the Club who performs an act of courage in attempting to save life or mitigate injury, acting without regard to his personal safety and to an extent which is beyond the normal call of duty.Download
At the end of every year champions are crowned across the board in all Club championships. In addition, a handful of special awards are also handed out to competitors at the annual BARC Championship Awards Evening.Download
The hub of motorsport in the north of the country, the 2.1 mile Croft blends a mixture of high speed and low speed corners to produce a real challenge. Edge-of-the-seat thrills are guaranteed throughout the year with a variety of different events being staged, as well as giving fans the opportunity to tackle the track themselves.VISIT WEBSITE
The home of motorsport in Wales, Pembrey has become synonymous as being one of the most popular venues to compete at. Playing host to cars, trucks, motorcycles and karts, as well as driving experiences, rallies and sprints, Pembrey continues to flourish and develop.VISIT WEBSITE
Widely recognised as one of the best hill climb venues in the UK, Gurston Down presents a unique challenge for all competitors. At 957 metres, the track holds the unique characteristic of descending off the start – something that only adds to the spectacle for competitors and spectators alike.VISIT WEBSITE
Offering unrivalled views, Harewood Hill is the longest speed hill climb course in the UK. All manner of cars will descend on the Yorkshire venue to compete against the clock on the 1440 metre ribbon of tarmac, with some reaching speeds of more than 120mph.VISIT WEBSITE
Serving as the home of the BARC and dubbed as the fastest circuit in the UK, Thruxton has earned the reputation as being a real drivers track having staged top-level motorsport for more than 50 years, with all manner of championships visiting year on year as well a host of driving experiences taking place.VISIT WEBSITE
There are more than 100 different championships in the UK and the British Automobile Racing Club is responsible for the running and organising of more than 30 of them.
For those wishing to take their first step on the motorsport ladder, aspiring competitors must go through a variety of steps to get behind the wheel and on-track.
Motorsport UK, formerly known as the MSA (Motor Sports Association), is the controlling body for motorsport in Britain and derives from the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) which is the highest international body involved in the administration of motorsport.
All competitors will need to obtain a Competition Licence from Motorsport UK. Requesting a ‘Starter Pack’ from Motorsport UK, competitors will find an application form and details of ARDS courses that are offered by racing schools around the UK. It is necessary to attend and pass an ARDS course before Motorsport UK will issue a National B race licence.
Those wishing to go karting or enter into speed events will need a slightly different licence before they start competing.
In addition to the application to obtain a licence, a medical report that will need to be completed by a doctor will also need to be provided – all of which will be supplied in the Starter Pack.
The BARC’s own venues, Thruxton and Croft, offer ARDS courses with instructors that are both knowledgable and professional racing drivers. Assessing your capabilities, they will oversee your ARDS test and provide advice as to what path is best for you.
Once you have gained a Competition Licence then the next step will be to become a member of a Motorsport UK recognised club, such as the BARC, and then decide on which championship or series you will compete in.
To find out more information on how to get on track, visit the Motorsport UK website https://www.motorsportuk.org/ or call them on 01753 765000.
Alternatively you can get in contact via post by writing to them at:
Motorsport UK House
The cost of competing in motorsport is different for everyone, with the frequency and level of competition all playing a factor in the final price.
However, you should be aware that costs will be incurred in all of the following areas:
• ARDS Course & Competition Licence
• Car (Price dependent on what Championship you have entered)
• Equipment (Helmet, Overalls, Fireproof Underwear, etc)
• Electronic Transponder
• Annual Club Membership
• Annual Subsidiary Club Membership (Depending on the Championship)
• Annual Championship Registration Fee
• Race Entry Fees
• Transport to/from each race meeting
The BARC tries to maintain a safe environment for all of its employees and visitors at all timesDownload
The BARC would like to ensure that various forms of social media are used appropriately and most certainly without causing any offence to anyone or damage to their reputationDownload
The BARC is committed to protecting the environment as far as is possible within the operation of events and venues.Download