BARC honours 2019 champions at annual Championship Awards Evening

The British Automobile Racing Club rolled out the red carpet at the Chesford Grange Hotel this past Saturday (February 8th) for the annual Championship Awards Evening, honouring the champions of 2019.

In what has become one of the highlights events on the Club’s calendar every year, more than 200 guests descended on Kenilworth grounds for a momentous night of celebrations.

Swapping race suits and overalls and dinner jackets and ball gowns; drivers, marshals, officials and leading BARC figures were all in attendance.

Hosted by the superlative Alan Hyde, guests not only had the opportunity to look back on the year that was but also hear from BARC Chairman Tony Scott Andrews, BARC Group Chief Executive Ben Taylor and Motorsport UK Chief Executive Hugh Chambers.

Four-time British Touring Car Championship title-winner Colin Turkington headed the list of illustrious winners as he collected yet more silverware. The Northern Irishman’s all-conquering West Surrey Racing BMW 330i M Sport was also in attendance, taking pride of place next to the main stage.

Turkington’s machine wasn’t the only head-turner during the evening however as several other championship-winning vehicles were situated around the venue as well.

After clinching a maiden Legends Cars National Championship crown in the categories 25th Anniversary campaign, Miles Rudman showcased the car that powered him to glory. Neven Kirkpatrick did the same with his Super Mighty Minis Championship championship-winner.

Samuel Wilson’s Caterham Graduates car garnered plenty of attention throughout the night as well, whilst the Junior Saloon Car Championship once again rolled out an immaculate machine for their 2019 champion Scott McIntyre.

Whilst a majority of the awards saw drivers take centre stage, the BARC also played homage to its marshals. Virtue of completing the most volunteering days, Pam and Steve Green were awarded the coveted Sir Clive Bossom Trophy.

Elsewhere, Nick Allison picked up the BARC Marshal of the Year award for a second time. In addition, a total of £1610.00 was raised on the night for the BARC Marshals and Rescue Fund.

Alongside the customary awards, three secret accolades were also presented to unsuspecting winners.

James Hedley, Ginetta Junior victor, scooped The Peter Collins Trophy, which is awarded to the most promising newcomer competing in a BARC championship whilst Garry Whittaker claimed The Presidents Cup after producing an unbeatable season in the Kumho BMW Championship.

Legends Cars National Championship founder Phil Cooper was the final secret award recipient, handed The Gerry Marshall Trophy for epitomising the philosophy of motorsport over the past quarter of a century that Gerry once demonstrated.

Michael Groves: 1931-2020

It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart that the British Automobile Racing Club announces the passing of former Council Member and Chairman, Michael Groves.

Born on April 9th 1931 in Richmond, Michael originally made a name for himself in business as a Chartered Surveyor; working across a spectrum of properties which included commercial and residential buildings, factories and offices.

In the realm of motorsport, Michael was a household name and is best known for his role as Chairman of the BARC for 30 years.

His love affair with motorsport began at an early age and he attended his first race meeting in September 1948 at Goodwood. Four years later he became a member of the Club, prompting him to further integrate himself within the sport by starting out as a flag marshal on the banks of Thruxton.

Marshalling and observing at both the Hampshire venue as well as Goodwood led to Michael being co-opted onto the BARC Council by Sidney Offord and Bill Paul, who were Chief Executive and Chairman respectively at the time.

Four years later he was appointed Chairman of the Club in 1979 after having previously served as Vice-Chairman for two years. Michael would go on to remain at the helm of the BARC for 30 years.

In addition, Michael was elected Chairman of the Thruxton Board in January 1979 and the Pembrey Board in June 1989. At the time of his passing, Michael was one of the Club’s last two remaining Vice-Presidents.

In 2009, he was awarded the prestigious BARC Gold Medal at the annual Championship Awards Evening for his unstinting contribution to the Club, which spanned more than three decades and ultimately ended in May of that year.

Everyone at the British Automobile Racing Club wishes to pass on its heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Michael, of which there were many, as well as pay tribute to his efforts to help further the club for more than half a century.

Pembrey Circuit set to mark milestone anniversary by building for the future

Pembrey Circuit is set for a milestone year in 2020 as it celebrates its 30th Anniversary; and it will mark the occasion by underlining its commitment to the future with the build of a brand new garage complex.

Opening its doors in 1990, the British Automobile Racing Club’s Welsh venue has become a popular track for spectators and competitors alike amidst the UK racing landscape – continuing to go from strength-to-strength over the past three decades.

With several important track developments such as the implementation of a new circuit layout, revised rallycross configuration and improved spectator banking having taken place during the past three years, the addition of this latest infrastructure is likely to bolster Pembrey’s appeal even further.

Set to be situated down the pit lane next to the circuit’s control tower, the new complex will comprise 12 double garages with capacity for 24 cars and will benefit from a vast paddock space behind.

Work on the garages is set to begin in the coming weeks and is currently scheduled to be completed by April; finishing in time to kick off what is set to be a spectacular summer of motorsport around the picturesque circuit.

In addition to the new garage complex, Pembrey’s facilities around the venue have also been refurbished to further enhance the customer and competitor experience moving forward.

As part of the venue’s celebrations for its Pearl Anniversary this year, a new commemorative logo – based around the original design from the circuit’s inaugural year – has also been unveiled and will be used throughout 2020.

Boasting another bumper events calendar, the dawn of a new decade will see the likes of the British Truck Racing Championship, British Rallycross Championship and many more categories take centre stage over the coming months.

Providing the backdrop for a spirited trip down memory lane in late June and forming the centrepiece of Pembrey’s milestone year, the Historic Sports Car Club will make a welcome return to South Wales. Bringing the past back to life, a glittering array of sensational sportscars, flame-spitting saloons and evocative racing cars will thrill those in attendance whilst there will be plenty to see off track as well.

Phil Davies, Pembrey Circuit Manager, said: “Having been here since the very beginning, it fills me with immense pride that Pembrey is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year – and we couldn’t mark the milestone any better than by delivering another memorable year of racing, as well as building for the next 30 years.

“Over the past three decades we have hosted all sorts of events such as the British Touring Car Championship, British Superbike Championship and British Formula 3 – to name but a few – and all of them have played a pivotal role in our continual growth.

“With a new garage complex and some of the marque events we have, I’m confident that 2020 is going to be a special year for the venue and I’m looking forward to welcoming spectators and competitors alike in joining us as we celebrate.”

Ben Taylor, BARC Group Chief Executive, added: “Pembrey is a really important part of the UK motorsport scene and Phil and his team have provided excellent racing and a warm Welsh welcome for 30 years.

“There is still a huge amount of potential there and these new garages are the next stage in realising that. They will significantly improve the experience for people racing and testing at Pembrey this year.”

Pembrey Circuit will kick off its 2020 motorsport season in late-March. To view the full events calendar for the forthcoming campaign, click here.

BARC shows support for Racing Pride movement

The British Automobile Racing Club is delighted to announce its support of the Racing Pride movement.

Established in the summer of 2019 and developed in association with Stonewall UK, Britain’s leading lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity, the movement aims to positively promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity within motorsport.

Before the initiative was launched,  no real focused effort had been made to raise visibility for LGBTQ+ participants within motor racing; be it drivers, mechanics, engineers, marshals, officials and any other roles.

By creating a network of driving ambassadors, commercial partners and supporters from across the motorsport and automotive industries, Racing Pride has brought changes to the sport across all levels – and the BARC now intends to help promote their values.

Racing Pride stickers will be made available to competitors at all BARC meetings who wish to show their personal support, whether as LGBTQ+ people themselves or as allies.

In addition, the BARC will also lend its backing to Racing Pride initiatives on social media, via the website and through its other communications channels.

Ben Taylor, BARC Group Chief Executive, said: “Motorsport is regularly held up as one of the most inclusive activities around, but the sport has perhaps become a bit complacent in that regard.

“No one should have to hide who they are and we are proud to reaffirm that the BARC welcomes everyone to its motorsport family, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or other discriminatory reasons.

“It does us all good to take a step back and ensure that we are doing everything we can to make a positive difference in this respect.”

Christopher Sharp, Racing Pride Co-Founder and Media Ambassador, continued: “I am very proud of our new partnership with the BARC, which arks another significant step for Racing Pride.

“We will now reach over 80 championships across UK motorsport in 2020 and it is fantastic to see an increasing number of organisations wishing to work with us and be part of our cause of LGBTQ+ inclusivity within the motorsport community.”

Josh Bennett, BARC Clerk of the Course and Racing Pride Industry Ambassador, added: “It is great to see two organisations which I am so passionate about coming together to promote inclusivity in motorsport and to see more organisations working with Racing Pride.”

Richard Morris, Racing Pride Co-Founder and Driver Ambassador, concluded: “It’s wonderful to see Britain’s most prestigious Clubs, such as the BARC, supporting the Racing Pride initiative and reaffirming their belief that motorsport can, and should, be for everyone.

“I really hope the BARC’s members will get behind this too and add their own support by running the stickers and helping to spread Racing Pride’s message. It makes all the difference for LGBTQ+ people within the sport, and in society more broadly, to have such visible support from allies as well as within the LGBTQ+ community itself.”

To find out more information about Racing Pride, head to http://racingpride.com/.

BARC North West Centre rescue team hones skills with SYNETIQ

The British Automobile Racing Club’s North West Centre has been preparing its Rescue Team for the forthcoming 2020 motorsport season, with a training day in conjunction with SYNETIQ allowing them to hone their skills.

Forming the technical rescue unit of the Club’s North West Centre, which supports major events such as the Formula 1 British Grand Prix and Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship in addition to BARC events, the one-day course proved to be pivotal.

Staged at SYNETIQ’s site at Winsford, the day provided an opportunity for the team to practice rapid extraction methods against the clock, making it as realistic as possible.

In addition, the day also allowed team members to get to grips with the latest incline cutter tool; aimed at improving capabilities even further.

SYNENTIQ’s relationship with the BARC North West Rescue outfit can be traced back to Car Transplants Ltd, which previously host training days before becoming part of the SYNETIQ in March 2019.

BARC HQ 2019 Christmas Closing Dates

The British Automobile Racing Club headquarters at Thruxton Circuit will be closed during the following dates over the Christmas and New Year periods.

From: Monday 23rd December 2019 at 17:00

To: Thursday 2nd January 2020 at 09:00

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible trackside throughout 2020; be it if you are officiating, marshalling, spectating or competing!

From everyone at the BARC and all of our venues around the country; we wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

Festive cheer comes early for all BARC Members

The British Automobile Racing Club is spreading some early festive cheer to all members this month courtesy of the annual Christmas Pack; which includes the latest issue of the Club’s magazine, a copy of the 2019 Season Review, a 2020 Wall Calendar and a Christmas Card.

A must-have for any motor racing fan, every member of the BARC will receive the pack through the post in time for the Christmas period, with essential reading ensuring that you’ll be able to get a motorsport fix amidst the festivities.

In what is the final issue of 2019, the Club magazine is jam-packed with all of the latest news, features and updates from our championships, venues and centres, as always.

Included is an outline of what Group Chief Executive Ben Taylor sees the future holding for the BARC, we look back on the career of Legends Championship Co-ordinator Phil Cooper and we catch up with record-equalling BTCC champion Colin Turkington.

With the dust having now settled on the 2019 season, Chris Ashby provides a comprehensive look back on the year that was via the annual BARC Season Review.

Providing a definitive guide to how the fortunes of each of the Club’s championships, series, events and venues played out during the past 12 months, the Season Review captures every pivotal moment.

Further festive treats are included in the Club’s annual December pack too with a Christmas Card that will be perfect for the mantelpiece and a striking 2020 Calendar both included as well.

If you’re not a member of the BARC then why not head to https://www.barc.net/membership/ to find out more information.

Sportscars, saloons and single-seaters top the bill at Thruxton Motorsport Celebration

A mouth-watering array of sensational sportscars, flame-spitting saloons and evocative single-seaters will thrill the crowds at this year’s Thruxton Motorsport Celebration (1/2 June), with no fewer than 15 races on the bill as the past comes back to life at the fastest circuit in the country.

Following the resounding success of last summer’s 50th Anniversary Celebration weekend, the decision was taken to make the popular, family-friendly event an annual affair. In addition to the myriad of yet-to-be-announced off-track attractions and high-speed demos, nine series have been confirmed to take to the circuit at the retro-themed Hampshire festival.

The action will rev into life with the Historic Touring Car Challenge (HTCC) with Tony Dron Trophy, for models that competed in the British and European Touring Car Championships between 1966 and 1990 – including larger-engined turbocharged cars like the legendary Ford Sierra RS500. The Tony Dron Trophy – named in honour of the 1970s touring car and Le Mans ace – is a standalone series for Group 1 Touring Cars from 1970 to 1982.

Going even further back through the gears, the U2TC for pre-66 under two-litre Touring Cars and HRDC ‘Coys Trophy’ for Touring Cars 1958-1966 feature cars that first raced in their prime more than half-a-century ago.

In the same vein, the HRDC ‘Allstars’ for pre-66 Sports, GT and Touring Cars – which evokes the spirit of the Club Members Meetings of the 1950s and ‘60s – recreates the ‘Allcomers’ Club races with the greatest variety of pre-’66 historic competition cars to be found on a single grid, from super-quick Ashley GTs to powerful TVRs and Cobras, not to mention the rare Daimler Dart and Austin Healey Jamaican.

The HRDC ‘Alfa Challenge’ for Alfa Romeo Sports, GT and Touring Cars is sure to appeal to all ‘Alfisti’, with fans of the much-loved Italian marque set to be spoiled by a grid-full of seldom-seen models from the early 1950s through to the late 1970s – Giuliettas in both Spyder and Berlina form, Giulia Supers and GTs and the later Alfetta GTVs and Berlinas amongst others.

The RAC Woodcote Trophy/Stirling Moss Trophy is widely acknowledged as the pre-eminent series for late-1950s sportscar racing, with all cars running in genuine period specification to ensure an authentic experience true to the era, while the Sports 2000 Championship reunites a field of two-seat, mid-engined, open-cockpit, full-bodied sports prototypes.

The FJHRA/HSCC ‘Silverline’ FJ Championship, meanwhile, boasts two grids at the Thruxton Motorsport Celebration – one for front and one for rear-engined machinery. Launched in 1958, Formula Junior was intended to provide an entry-level open-wheel formula in which drivers could use inexpensive mechanical components from everyday cars.

“Although initially conceived as a one-off to mark half-a-century of motorsport at Thruxton, last year’s event was so phenomenally well-received that we couldn’t not continue it,” explained Thruxton Operations Manager, Pat Blakeney. “We’re delighted to unveil such a glorious grid for this summer’s festival, with a tremendous variety of iconic sportscars, saloons and single-seaters spanning several of the sport’s most memorable decades.

“In addition to what is sure to be some fantastic racing on-track, off-track there will be just as much to keep spectators entertained, which we are looking forward to revealing over the coming weeks. It promises to be another action-packed, fun-fuelled weekend celebrating everything to be enjoyed about this spectacular sport.”

Advance tickets for the Thruxton Motorsport Celebration on 1/2 June are available from just £12 for Saturday entry and £20 for Sunday – or £28 for both days. Sunday grandstand seats are an additional £5. Accompanied children aged 15 and under will be admitted free of charge.

For further information or to buy tickets, see thruxtonracing.co.uk/racing/celebration or call 01264 882222.

For more information on Thruxton’s race meetings and driving experiences, visit: www.thruxtonracing.co.uk

BARC appoints Ben Taylor as Group CEO

The British Automobile Racing Club is pleased to announce the creation of a new post, Group CEO; with Ben Taylor taking up the role to lead the Club’s operations and multiple business units.

The appointment follows a restructure of the organisation and the creation of a new Group Board designed to assist the future development of the company and to deliver a stronger and more effective group strategy to the various operations that make up the second biggest group of motorsport venues in the UK. 

Taylor’s motorsport career dates back more than twenty years, involving positions in F1, BTCC and the UK governing body, the Motor Sports Association, now Motorsport UK.

Most recently he was Managing Director of the Major Events subsidiary International Motor Sports with responsibility for Wales Rally GB, the British Grand Prix and the British Rally Championship.

Prior to that, he was MSA Director of Development and Communications, leading the company’s promotional, grass roots and marketing activities.  

Commenting on his new role at the BARC, Taylor said: “It is an exciting and pivotal time to be joining the BARC as the company lays its foundations for the future.

“It is a big challenge, but I am looking forward to meeting the people involved, understanding the many different aspects of the business and working together to build on the existing structure.”

Tony Scott-Andrews, BARC Chairman, added: “This is the start of a new phase in the history of the BARC. We have ambitious plans to grow the company and create a solid and sustainable motorsport business for the next 50 years.

“We are thrilled that Ben has agreed to join us; his knowledge and experience make him the perfect fit to take up this new challenge and we look forward to getting started next month.

BARC launches brand new striking website look

On the eve of the British Automobile Racing Club’s 2019 motorsport season roaring into life at Croft Circuit, the Club is delighted to unveil its brand new website.

Having been in the pipeline for a number of months, the Club has worked closely with creative website design, branding and marketing agency MOJO Media to deliver a striking new online look.

Overhauling the Club’s previous website, this new website allows for a smoother and more intuitive user experience. In addition, it enables users to navigate their way through the site with, jumping from membership to how to get further involved in motorsport for example with ease.

Delivering a fully responsive experience, the new website also gives users a seamless transition across devices – be it PC, tablet or mobile phone – and all quickly and easily.

The new site retains a majority of the same content as its predecessor, albeit comprehensively revamped, with in-depth championship and event information pages showcasing all you need to know about both.

Chris Ashby, BARC Multimedia Communications Co-ordinator, said: “This new website has been a really fantastic project to work on alongside MOJO Media and to see the culmination of an enormous amount of work behind the scenes come to fruition is something everyone can be proud of.

“The BARC is always striving to improve and the addition of a brand new bespoke website allows us to do just that from an online perspective. Over the past few years we have raised our profile via our social media channels and introducing this new website is the latest stage in our ongoing aim of being the best there is.”

The BARC’s new website will be regularly updated with news, features and reports on all of the Club’s championship, events, venues, centres and much more, with visitors encouraged to go and explore it.

Champions of 2018 honoured at star-studded BARC Awards Evening

On what is one of the marque events of the BARC calendar each year, the best of UK motorsport came together in February for a night of celebrations at the prestigious BARC Championship Awards Evening.

Returning to the Chesford Grange Hotel in Kenilworth after a solitary year away, more than 200 drivers, marshals, officials and leading BARC figures were collectively in attendance during the evening, hosted once again by the superlative Alan Hyde.

Leading the illustrious list of winners was British Touring Car Championship victor Colin Turkington, who’s title-winning West Surrey Racing BMW 125i M-Sport took pride of place in the main room.

Elsewhere at the venue Stuart Coombs’ Mighty Mini, Lewis Saunders’s Junior Saloon Car and Jon Curry’s Caterham were also on display for all to see, turning heads and drawing plenty of attention throughout the night.

With a mesmerising and deserving list of champions being honoured throughout the evening, those in attendance also had the opportunity to look back on some of the best bits from each championship too.

Alongside the customary championship awards were a further three secret accolades, all of which were handed out to unsuspecting winners. The Densley Trophy, which is awarded to the most outstanding female driver in the BARC, went the way of BARC Clubmans Sports Prototype Championship in association with King Henry’s Taverns CSP2 champion Michelle Hayward, who delivered an emphatic performance throughout the 2018 campaign.

The Peter Collins Memorial Trophy, which is bestowed upon the most promising newcomer competing at BARC events during the year was awarded to Lewis Saunders, who stole the show in the Junior Saloon Car Championship.

Max5 Racing champion Paul Roddison meanwhile scooped The Presidents Cup, presented to the most successful driver competing below International level after producing an astonishing performance in 2018 on the way to the title.

Two marshals also shared the spotlight on the night too as Dave Hodgson picked up the coveted BARC Marshal of the Year award. Meanwhile Ken Watts lifted The Sir Clive Bossom Trophy virtue of completing the most volunteering days over the course of 2018, 30 in total.

Capping off the list of winners was Sonny Howard, who was awarded with the coveted Gerry Marshall Trophy. Bestowed upon a driver or BARC member that the BARC believes epitomises Gerry Marshall’s philosophy to motorsport, with Howard fitting the bill perfectly.

Having been a significant force behind the Pickup Truck Racing Championship and a variety of other BARC categories as well, Howard was honoured for his outstanding service to motorsport – upon which he has always gone above and beyond to serve down the years.

Passing comment on a momentous evening of celebrations, BARC Chief Operating Officer Drew Furlong said: “The annual BARC Championship Awards Evening is always a memorable night and a fitting way to celebrate those who succeeded last year.

“The 2018 season proved to be another spectacular year for the Club and its championships with an abundance of edge-of-the-seat thrills and entertainment being provided throughout.

“Returning to Chesford Grange, having cars on site was a fantastic touch and they all looked fantastic situated around the venue. Every award was richly deserved and the evening has set us up to kick the 2019 season off in fine style in roughly a months time.

In addition to the prize-giving, a total of £1860 was raised and donated on the night to the BARC Marshals and Rescue Fund.

BARC kicks off 2019 season in style at Autosport Show International

The British Automobile Racing Club kicked off the 2019 motorsport season in style this past week with a successful four days at the Autosport Show International.

Serving as the perfect launchpad to lift the curtain on another year of motorsport, tens of thousands of enthusiastic fans descended on the NEC Arena in Birmingham for the event.

Showcasing a brand new vibrant stand, the BARC once again flourished in the National Motorsport section as it welcomed drivers, marshals, officials, co-ordinators and fans to discuss plans for the forthcoming campaign across all four days.

Adorning the striking stand were a multitude of cars too, showcasing the diversity that the BARC offers when it comes to motorsport in the UK.

Ollie O’Donovan’s front-running Toyo Tires Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship Ford Fiesta drew plenty of attention, as did vehicles from the Caterham Graduates Championship and Trade Team Citroen C1 Challenge.

In addition, the British Superkarts Championship were also in attendance with a bespoke kart available for all to see.

Drew Furlong, BARC Chief Operating Officer, said: “The Autosport Show International has long been the traditional starting point for the motorsport season each year and the BARC has always enjoyed exhibiting there too.

“As always, this years show proved to be a huge success with lots of exciting announcements and meetings taking place across all four days. Our new stand certainly stood out from the crowd, as did the cars that were displayed on it as well.

“The 2019 season is shaping up to be another busy one for the Club with a raft of exciting championships and events all set to be played out. It is an exciting time for the BARC and we’re looking ahead to move forward.”

If you missed out on any of the big stories from the show then click here to catch up.