New format and location confirmed for BARC Awards in 2021

The British Automobile Racing Club’s annual Championship Awards Evening will have a different feel to it in 2021, both in terms of format and location, as it moves to the multi-million pound Thruxton Centre on Saturday 6th  February. 

One of the biggest prize-giving nights in UK motorsport, the black tie event celebrates the achievements of drivers, officials and marshals in early February every year.

Due to the uncertainty that still remains surrounding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the BARC has elected to change its traditional evening format and will instead host a lunch event for its award winners and special guests.

Taking place inside the state-of-the-art Thruxton Centre – which opened to the public back in 2018 – the event moves from a Big Night Out at the Chesford Grange Hotel, to a Big Lunch In at the home of the BARC.                                     

Ben Taylor, BARC Group Chief Executive, said: “We have thought long and hard about this and it was a difficult decision to take.

“Ordinarily we would need to start making bookings and commitments about this time of year, but we simply cannot say with any certainty that by February our members will be ready to enjoy a weekend away with hundreds of others in a hotel.

“On the other hand, we’re in the middle of a busy season of motor sport, albeit one that has been slightly curtailed. Come the end of the year there will be worthy champions and award winners who will rightly want to celebrate their successes.

“So we think that a lovely lunch event at Thruxton is the best way to ensure that this year doesn’t get forgotten. We’ll make sure that it is one to remember.”

More information will follow in the coming months. 

BARC launches innovative ‘Open’ races for Sports and Saloon Cars

The British Automobile Racing Club is preparing to break new ground during this condensed 2020 season with the launch of an innovative set of Open Sports/Saloon Car races, the first of which are scheduled to take place at Mallory Park on August 31.

Races will be open to competitors who drive open/closed roof Sports & Saloon cars, regardless of what championship or racing club they compete in, providing they meet current Motorsport UK safety regulations.

Formatted to feature a 20-minute qualifying session and two 20-minute races over the course of a weekend, entries will be accepted with a pre declared lap time for the specific circuit upon which competitors have entered into.

A total of nine classes have been structured, with dedicated lap times already set for Mallory Park and the subsequent two other race meetings at Pembrey (October 3/4) and Thruxton (October 24/25), which have been added to the schedule due to high levels of interest already.

This format guarantees that everyone will be racing against those doing similar lap times, irrespective of the car they are driving, leading to much closer competition. Classes will be changed post-qualifying and post-race if competitors run two or more laps faster in a qualifying session or race than their nominated class allowance stipulates.

The origins of this format were first mooted to current BARC Group Chief Executive Ben Taylor by former Haymarket Director Derek Redfern a number of years ago. Now, with the demand to go racing greater than ever, the idea is set to be a reality with four races currently confirmed for the remainder of the year.

Commenting on the innovative format, Taylor said: “We are really excited to launch this brand new format of class racing, under a set of regulations we are calling ‘BARC Red’.

“We believe that it has the potential to deliver really exciting racing for the club competitor and allow pretty much any car to compete in our races, irrespective of engine size, power to weight ratio, experience of driver or their budget.

“It should bring more for variety to the grids as well, which have become a little bit one dimensional in recent years with the growth of the single marque series and events. There are loads of cars out there not currently competing, but the joy of this series is that there is no need for eligibility scrutineering – if your car is in line with the Blue Book, it is welcome to race.

“The word ‘Red’ is a nod to Derek, whose idea this was originally. He mentioned it to me at a meeting of the Motor Sports Council while I was working at the MSA and I thought it sounded interesting, but at the time it wasn’t something that was relevant to my role.

“Now I’m at the BARC, it seems to offer a great solution for the current climate and the challenging times we face – we are inevitably going to see the customer demanding more enjoyment for their money, so having fun, exciting racing will be essential.

“The clubs are also going to need to find ways to have full grids to keep costs down for drivers, so this is a way of making sure that all cars and all drivers are able to compete equally on a level playing field.”

For further information or an entry form for these races, please contact David Wheadon via dwheadon@barc.net

BARC members to benefit from discounted Autosport subscription

New and existing members of the British Automobile Racing Club can now benefit from a discounted rate on a subscription to Autosport.

Autosport, which has been covering motorsport from Formula 1 to grassroots competition for nearly 70 years, is expanding its UK club racing coverage and has put together an exclusive subscription rate with the BARC that’s only available to Club members.

Members can have Autosport Magazine delivered straight to their door, access the digital magazine archive and have unlimited access to all Autosport Plus premium content on an ad-free version of Autosport.com for as little as £8.99 a month – an additional 25% off the current pricing.

For more information or take advantage of this special offer, visit: www.autosportmedia.com/offer/barc

To become a member of the BARC, simply head to www.barc.net/membership.

Survey results praise BARC’s return to racing action

The British Automobile Racing Club’s return to the track in recent weeks has been widely welcomed by competitors, marshals, officials and organisers who have completed a post-event survey.

With major sports having been suspended during recent months due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the appetite for national motorsport to resume has been great and bumper grids took centre stage at Cadwell Park (July 4/5) and Croft (July 11/12) for the BARC.

In line with Motorsport UK’s guidance for racing to return, changes to the Club’s protocols as well as guidelines to combat the spread of coronavirus were issued to ensure the safety and well-being of those in attendance at both meetings.

The research data, from more than 150 participants, confirms that this was well received and informative and that overwhelmingly people felt safe in the racing environment.

When asked to rate the information that was communicated to them prior to the event from 1-10, the club scored more than 9.2, with almost 60% scoring a perfect 10.

Similarly, the new method of handling paperwork electronically scored an impressive nine out of ten, whilst more than 94% felt that the BARC’s COVID Guidance covered all of the relevant information they needed.

Other encouraging results from the Club’s survey included 96.8% of people saying they felt safe whilst attending the meeting and only 1.4% of respondents suggested that they were less likely to attend another event after their experiences.

Concerns were registered about adherence to social distancing guidelines and the use of face masks, but more than 90% of people felt that the BARC’s guidance and procedures were generally adhered to during the weekends.

Whilst a high proportion of the results were positive, areas of development are always sought after and the BARC has taken all comments on-board to ensure improvements can be made for the remaining events taking place in 2020 and beyond.

Ben Taylor, BARC Group Chief Executive, said: “There has been a huge amount of work put into getting the sport up and running again, and it’s great to see that these efforts have been well received by the people on the ground.

“We have learned a lot from these first two events and of course we can make further improvements, but it is encouraging that of all our respondents, there was only one person who didn’t have an enjoyable event.

“If we can achieve that level of satisfaction while trying hard to ensure people’s safety and well-being, then that is what it’s all about. We would ask, however, that everyone keeps up their efforts to adhere to the guidelines so that we can enjoy the rest of the season with confidence.”

The Club’s next event will take place at Brands Hatch, with six championships set to compete around the Indy layout on August 1/2. That same weekend will see the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship and support categories in action at Donington Park.

BARC Audio catches up with General Manager Ian Watson

In the latest British Automobile Racing Club’s audio interview, we catch up with General Manager Ian Watson.

Speaking to the Club’s official audio partners Cre8Media, Ian talks about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on motorsport, the steps put in place to ensure a safe return, working alongside the BARC’s championships and much more.

Listen to the full interview below:

BARC Audio catches up with Group Chief Executive Ben Taylor

As the British Automobile Racing Club continues to bounce back, both on and off the track, following the UK lockdown caused by COVID-19, we caught up with Group Chief Executive Ben Taylor.

Speaking to the Club’s official audio partners Cre8Media, Ben discusses the impact the pandemic has had on the BARC and its venues, the processes and procedures that have been put in place, what the future of the Club looks like and much more.

Listen to the full interview below:

Successful first weekend on-track as BARC embraces ‘new normal’

Face masks, social distancing and revised protocols; they were just some of the new measures put in place at Cadwell Park this past weekend (July 4/5) as the British Automobile Racing Club made a triumphant return to the track. 

More than 100 days since motorsport in the UK was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, four of the Club’s championships visited the picturesque Lincolnshire venue to mark the start of what is now a condensed 2020 season.

Whilst spectators were not permitted to attend; competitors, teams and officials all got to grips with what is being dubbed as the ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable future – and it proved to be a successful first outing for all involved.

Prior to the event, the Club issued its own guidelines for Competitors and Officials which outlined the adjustments that had been made to the practice and procedures in order to continue providing the safest possible environment.

With driver and marshal sign-on completed online, Personal Protective Equipment such as face masks were a mandatory requirement once at the venue to whilst social distancing was implemented wherever possible in the paddock and pit-lane.

In the absence of paperwork being distributed over the course of the weekend, a ‘Virtual Noticeboard’ was also created on the Club’s website to ensure that competitors and officials were being kept abreast with the latest updates.

Commenting on the success of the weekend as a whole, David Wheadon, BARC Competitions Secretary, said: “I just want to thank all the competitors for an outstanding meeting at Cadwell this weekend just gone.

“Apart from all the brilliant racing we experienced at the meeting, I was equally impressed with our competitors, their guests and all of our Marshals & Officials attitudes towards the new COVID safety regulations with regards to social distancing, PPE and personal hygiene.

“Motorsport UK had sent representatives to the event on the Saturday and they were equally impressed with their observations of everything as a whole.

As one of the first Motorsport UK permitted events happening in the post lockdown era, BARC understood that how our event performed would have a knock on effect on future events held throughout the remainder of the 2020 season.

“The phrase “start as you mean to go on” has never been more appropriate! Well done to all involved.”

The British Automobile Racing Club now heads to Croft this weekend (July 11/12), with several more championships set to kick off their own condensed 2020 campaigns.

Pembrey Circuit unveils revised provisional 2020 events schedule

Pembrey Circuit is set to play host to a blockbuster season of top-draw racing for the remainder of 2020 after unveiling a revised provisional schedule made up of eight events.

Having had to press pause on celebrating its 30th Anniversary in association with the British Automobile Racing Club due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the home of Welsh motorsport is primed to finally stage race meetings after already opening its doors for professional teams to test.

The Welsh lockdown has provided the venue with the opportunity to complete the build of its brand new garage complex, with further improvements having also been carried out in recent months too.

Working closely with the Welsh Government and Carmarthenshire County Council, the South Wales circuit will now aim to move from exclusive testing to playing host to race meetings.

All dates and events remain provisional and subject to change in line with the current and ever-evolving government guidelines. Spectators are currently not permitted to attend events at this moment in time.

Phil Davies, Pembrey Circuit Manager, said: “These have been trying months for everyone but I am proud that we have been able to persevere through this pandemic and come out the other side in a strong position.

“In recent weeks we have welcomed a host of professional teams for private testing and these have proven to be very successful with our own guidelines in place. Now we are looking forward to playing host to events.

“This hasn’t been the way we had planned to celebrate our 30th Anniversary but with our new garage complex finally built we are certain to make the best of it.”

Pembrey Circuit – Revised Provisional 2020 Calendar

August 8/9 – Toyo Tires BTRDA Rallycross Championship

August 29/30 – British Supermoto Championship

September 12/13 – British Automobile Racing Club

September 26/27 – Classic Motorcycle Racing Club

October 3/4 – BTRC British Truck Racing Championship

October 9/10/11 – NGRR Motorcycle Championships

October 17/18 – Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy

December 28 – Christmas Stages Rally

BARC begins to get back to work as head office partially re-opens

The British Automobile Racing Club will begin getting back to work from today (Monday 22nd June) with the partial re-opening of its head office at Thruxton Circuit, in particular the Competitions Department.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Club’s main office has been closed since late March with all administrative staff furloughed.

With a return to racing on the horizon, the Competitions Department has resumed work in order to prepare for race meetings – starting with those that are being held in July. The rest of the Club’s staff remain furloughed at this point.

Those wishing to enquire about events, whether a competitor or marshal, should contact David Wheadon or Paula Brown via the following means of communication:

David Wheadon – Competitions Secretary – 01264 882209 – dwheadon@barc.net

Paula Brown – Marshals Secretary – 01264 882210 – pbrown@barc.net

Ben Taylor, BARC Chief Executive, said: “It feels like a long time since we closed the doors and sent everyone home, but I would like to thank all our staff, members, competitors and supporters for their patience in recent months.

“We cannot wait to get started again and we are detecting that most people feel the same way, and are desperate to go racing.

“Obviously things will have changed in the meantime and there will be some noticeable changes to our operations and protocols, but we are confident that we can provide a safe and controlled environment for people to enjoy their motor sport at our events and venues.

“We would ask everyone to take particular care of themselves and those around them and ensure that when we do resume, we do so sensibly and responsibly for the safety and well-being of all.”

To view the post-lockdown revised events calendar for the remainder of the year, click here. Spectators are currently not permitted to attend events at this moment in time.

As has been the case throughout this pandemic, the well-being of staff, competitors, officials and all potential visitors to our venues and events remain at the forefront of our considerations at all times.

To that end, changes have been made to operations and protocols which will be communicated to all relevant parties in advance of any events moving forward. This situation will be kept constantly under review and may be subject to change at short notice.

All dates remain provisional and subject to change in line with the current and ever-evolving government guidelines.

British Automobile Racing Club offices still closed, but venues open for testing and track days

UPDATED: 11 June 2020

The BARC offices remain closed at this time in line with current government guidelines and all administrative staff are still furloughed. However, our venues are starting to re-open for professional team testing and for track days in line with the easing of lockdown measures.

We hope to return to racing as soon as Motorsport UK is prepared to issue event permits, which at the present time looks likely to be July 4/5, when we have a race meeting at Cadwell Park, followed by a meeting at Croft the following weekend. In order to prepare for the race meetings, the Competitions department staff are likely to return to work from Monday 22nd June.

The safety and well-being of staff, competitors, officials and all visitors to our venues and events will be at the forefront of our considerations at all times. To that end, there will be changes made to operations and protocols which will be communicated to all relevant parties in advance of any events.

This situation will be kept constantly under review and may be subject to change at short notice.

*************************

31 March 2020

In line with government advice and with the health, safety and well-being of our staff and our customers in mind amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, the British Automobile Racing Club has decided that the best option for everyone at this time is to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel or social interaction.

The best way to ensure that this happens is to close our headquarters and venues; they will remain closed until at least 30th April 2020 at which point we shall review the situation.

Motorsport UK has suspended all race meetings until the end of June 2020. Entries for postponed race meetings will be transferred to other events later in the season, while tickets for postponed events will be valid for the replacement date. If you are unable to make these news dates, either as a spectator or as a competitor, you will of course receive a full refund.

All BARC staff have been furloughed and as such are no longer able to continue working, even from home. As a result, we regret that we are unable to process any requests for refunds or transfers at this time.

All test days and driving experiences have been postponed during this period at all five venues operated by the Club; Croft, Gurston Down, Harewood, Pembrey and Thruxton. All experience activities will also be rescheduled once we are able to reopen.

In the meantime, we would like to thank everyone for their understanding at this difficult time and urge them to follow all official guidance to do what they can to keep themselves and others safe and well.

British Automobile Racing Club Statement: Coronavirus Update – 17.03.20

In line with the government’s public health advice and the direction of Motorsport UK, the British Automobile Racing Club is suspending all motor sport activity with immediate effect until the end of April 2020.

We understand that this will be a great disappointment to many people, including competitors, teams, officials, marshals, fans and our members. However, in the current climate, it is clear that this is the correct course of action.

We will continue to monitor the situation in the coming weeks and we look forward to a resumption of activities as soon as possible, at which time we will look to reschedule the events that have been postponed. All entries and payments received to date will be automatically carried over into future events.

In the meantime, we urge everyone across the wider motor sport community to follow all official guidance and do what they can to keep themselves and others safe and well.

Ben Taylor

BARC Group Chief Executive

British Automobile Racing Club Statement: Coronavirus Update – 13.03.20

Following the government’s announcements on Thursday 12th March 2020, we can confirm that the British Automobile Racing Club is continuing, in so far as is possible, with business as usual.

The situation is evolving rapidly and may of course change in the course of the next few days and weeks, depending on the advice of the experts, but for now we are preparing for our events to go ahead as planned.

In order to reassure our customers, we would like to stress that, regardless of what may be written in our Terms and Conditions, if we are forced by the authorities to cancel any race meetings or events, we guarantee to refund the entry fees of all competitors, just as we have committed to refund ticket buyers at any of our venues.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will be in touch immediately should the situation change.

The UK’s governing body, Motorsport UK, has issued its own statement on the outbreak HERE.

In the meantime, please stay safe and continue to plan for the coming season.