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.

MINI CHALLENGE to join TOCA support package from 2020

The MINI CHALLENGE will join the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship support bill full-time from the 2020 season onwards, further cementing itself as one of the country’s leading tin top championships.

In what is a multi-year deal for the one-make category, the MINI CHALLENGE will fill the vacant slot which will be left by the Renault UK Clio Cup – which will cease come the end of the 2019 campaign.

The top-flight CHALLENGE JCW Championship, which caters for the latest version of MINI’s 265bhp hot hatchback running on Dunlop slick racing tyres, is planned to feature at eight of the planned 10 BTCC weekends whilst the Cooper CHALLENGE will get a chance to shine on the remaining two fixtures. The exact split of dates has yet to be finalised.

Anthony Williams, MINI CHALLENGE Promoter, said: “The deal to join the TOCA package represents one of, if not the biggest moment in the history of the MINI CHALLENGE and it’s certainly something we’ve been working very hard towards over the last few seasons.

“The JCW is now a proven, purpose-built race car and driver feedback has suggested that it is the closest thing out there to the thrill of driving a full NGTC touring car, making the CHALLENGE an ideal feeder category toward the BTCC. During recent seasons we’ve had many BTCC teams come to join us, and we’re proud to boast a string of alumni drivers who have gone on to race successfully in the BTCC.

“Running in support of the UK’s biggest circuit racing championship will only strengthen that link further and we have to also thank our superb tyre partner Dunlop for its support in working toward this deal. We’ve enjoyed very healthy grids in recent seasons, and we fully expect that to continue as part of the TOCA package.

“The deal is also brilliant news for the Cooper CHALLENGE. Electing to run the JCWs at eight of the 10 rounds helps keep budgets under control, and also gives us the chance to elevate the Coopers onto the main stage and show the strength of the MINI CHALLENGE at all its levels.”

BTCC Series Director Alan Gow added: “We’ve kept an eye on the development of the MINI CHALLENGE over the last few years and it’s clear that it’s a very popular and competitive championship.

“At TOCA we are keen to showcase not just the British Touring Car Championship, but also the cream of national racing categories to our audiences both at the circuits and on TV.

“Recent years have certainly shown that the MINI CHALLENGE is an ideal feeder category for drivers aspiring toward a career in the BTCC and I’m sure the championship will be an excellent fit within our 2020 weekends and beyond.”

Classic VW Cup gains Motorsport UK championship status for 2019

The Classic VW Cup is set to scale new heights in 2019 after being granted championship status by Motorsport UK, the governing body for four-wheel motorsport in the UK.

Home to those wishing to compete in pre-2003 Volkswagen and VAG cars, the series is renowned for delivering high-octane thrills and spills as it travels the length and breadth of the UK year-on-year.

Having flourished in recent years with grid numbers continuing to grow and a raft of household names coming to the fore, the championship will adopt a points system for the new season as part of its new status – the latest step in progressing forward.

Ian Fowler, Classic VW Cup Championship Co-ordinator, said: “Gaining Motorsport UK Championship status for the 2019 Classic VW Cup is a great reward for all the teams and drivers that have supported us since our first season in 2015.

“We must thank the team at the BARC for all there help and assistance over the seasons and we look forward to welcoming drivers and teams, old and new, on the grid for the 2019 season.”

In addition to the Classic VW Cup becoming a fully-fledged championship, the series will also introduce a GT Cup class for the forthcoming campaign – which will feature sporadically throughout the year.

Fowler added: “With the new GT Cup joining us at selected rounds in 2019 we feel we this new class will offer the same friendly and competitive, but for models that can’t race in the original Classic VW Cup.”

The Classic VW Cup will kick off its 2019 season at Silverstone in late April before then visiting Pembrey, Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Anglesey and finally Cadwell Park, which will serve as the venue to coronate a new champion.

Both the BARC Saloon Series and the Dream Automotive Honda VTEC Challenge will also be regular fixtures around the Classic VW Cup this season as they feature at all events.

British Truck Racing Association Championship partners with SmartWitness video camera systems

All competing British Truck Racing Association Championship machines will be fitted with SmartWitness video camera systems in 2019, following an agreement with SmartWitness.

Forward-facing, rear and blind side SmartWitness cameras will be installed on all competing trucks at BTRAC events for the forthcoming season with the live video support set to be available for race officials at the click of a button.

Competing trucks will have 1080HD footage on a monitored live stream via connected 3G/4G SmartWitness cameras which will be monitored on the SmartView software platform. The live video platform registers events such as hard breaking, acceleration as well as footage on demand from collisions shot in high resolution and at 30 frames per second.

The forward facing SmartWitness KP1S camera has a 170 angle lens which simultaneously records to an SD card in a tamper-proof unit, as well as sending footage and data via the 3G/4G cellular connection.

Driving infringements can be monitored live from the SmartView platform or can be reviewed from the SD card afterwards if race officials so wish. The SmartWitness software will allow officials to track back to the exact moment of an alleged infringement and can analyse footage frame by frame on forward-facing, rear or blind side cameras to see exactly what happened in any alleged incident. The SmartWitness system has already been trialled on BTRAC machinery with selective trucks running the equipment at the 2018 season finale at Brands Hatch.

Glen Horncastle, Championship Director, said: “The SmartWitness system and cameras are the perfect solution to assist race officials to investigate and monitor these race trucks in race conditions. The SmartWitness cameras and software really impressed us and ticked all the boxes from what we needed from live video analysis.

“We are always looking to align ourselves with professional sponsors / partners who can bring added value to the Championship, and having the ability to work with a technology leading camera and software provider such as SmartWitness is a very exciting prospect.

“Not only will the Championship benefit from this relationship but so will the fans, as they will be given the opportunity of viewing truck racing from new angles and with previously unavailable vehicle telemetry.”

Paul Singh, SmartWitness CEO, added: “We are really proud to be a part of the British Truck Racing Association Championship, we are big fans of the sport and it’s great that we can help make it safer and fairer.

“The cameras and systems are exactly the same as we install in HGV fleets across the UK and USA, the cameras are the same high definition footage, G-shock sensors and GPS tracking. Our system is so robust and flexible that it can work just as well on a truck hurtling round Brands Hatch at 100mph as it does with a vehicle in urban traffic.”

The 2019 British Truck Racing Association Championship season will begin over the Easter weekend at Brands Hatch on April 21/22, before the heavyweight behemoths then descend on Pembrey, Thruxton, Nurburgring, Donington Park and Snetterton, before capping off the year back at Pembrey and Brands Hatch.

Series Elite takes covers off race spec car and announces title sponsor

Series Elite, the new race series that will cater exclusively for drivers aged 40 and over, have taken the covers off its first Jaguar SVO Project 8 car at the Autosport Show International and announced SmarTrack as its title sponsor.

Taking pride of place at the NEC Arena in Birmingham, the jaw-dropping V8 machine will be capable of speeds of almost 200mph and is fitted with an FIA approved roll cage, as well as Corbeau seat and harnesses.

The car is the first of the grid being built by Jaguar and has been converted to race specification by Slidesports’s Mark Jenkins.

In addition to the car being unveiled, SmarTrack have also been announced as Series Elite title sponsor in a multi-year agreement which will see branding on each car, trackside, in the paddock and across all marketing communications.

SmarTrack is a multiple award winning stolen vehicle tracking systems brand and the category will be known as SmarTrack Series Elite for the forthcoming campaign.

Graeme Glew, Series Elite CEO, said: “It is another milestone on our journey to the first race today with the unveiling of our race car and the signing of a title sponsor, with SmarTrack stolen vehicle recovery systems joining us.

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome SmarTrack on board and thanks to their commitment and that of our other partners, we can build a great new series with high profile brands that reflect the premium quality of our drivers and events.

“I’ve been developing SmarTrack Series Elite for over two years and working with Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) to produce the quality, build and performance of race car that we need for the series during this time, so to bring this to fruition with the unveiling of the race-spec car in Birmingham today is fantastic.”

SmarTrack’s Gavin Hennessey added: “This is a great opportunity for SmarTrack to be working with the new, exclusive race series for amateur racing drivers using the latest Project 8 Jaguar SVO P8 vehicles and race technology.”

The inaugural season of SmarTrack Series Elite kicks off at Brands Hatch in May before visits to Silverstone, Donington Park, Snetterton and Portimao.

BTCC grid continues to take shape following flurry of Autosport Show announcements

The countdown to the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship has further intensified following a flurry of announcements at the Autosport Show International.

Serving as the annual launch for the new motorsport season at the NEC Arena in Birmingham, ASI 19 has seen a raft of unveilings and launches take place for Britain’s premier race series – all of which have further shaped the forthcoming campaigns entry list.

Motorbase Performance led the announcements by confirming Tom Chilton will remain with the Ford Focus RS squad for a second successive season after finishing third overall in 2018, and he will be joined by Ollie Jackson.

Jackson makes the switch to the Kent-based squad after several years at AMD Tuning. Coming off the back of a maiden BTCC podium at Brands Hatch last year, Jackson returns to the Motorbase fold focused on scoring a maiden win in 2019.

The covers have come off a variety of cars too with Jake Hill unveiling the striking colours of his Trade Price Cars Racing Audi S3 whilst Daniel Rowbottom has done the same on his Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes Benz A-Class as he prepares to make his BTCC bow this year.

Plenty of heads turned when the striking AMD Tuning Honda Civic Type R of Sam Tordoff and Rory Butcher was unveiled whilst Power Maxed Racing’s Vauxhall Astra also showcased its revised colour scheme for the forthcoming campaign as well.

Prior to the Autosport Show reigning champions West Surrey Racing confirmed that Colin Turkington will defend his title at the wheel of a BMW, partnering new team-mate Tom Oliphant. Former champion Andrew Jordan has also re-signed with WSR as he bids to capture another crown.

Toyota will make a triumphant return to the championship as a fully-fledged manufacturer in 2019 too with confirmation that they will join Speedworks Motorsport in bringing the new Corolla to the grid, with last years runner-up Tom Ingram at the wheel.

Team HARD will field four Volkswagen CC’s once more with Mike Bushell, Bobby Thompson, Michael Crees and Carl Boardley behind the wheel whilst new outfit Excelr8 Motorsport have taken on the running the MG6 GT’s, with former MINI Challenge competitor Rob Smith the first driver confirmed for them.

More announcements are set to be made in the coming weeks and months before the 2019 season officially roars into life with rounds one, two and three taking place around the Indy layout of Brands Hatch on April 6/7.

For more BTCC content, head to www.btcc.net.

Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship to raise funds for Children with Cancer UK

Kwik Fit and the British Touring Car Championship will team together in 2019 to raise funds for Children with Cancer UK.

Announced on the opening day of the Autosport Show International, the first public for the BTCC under its new title sponsorship with Kwik Fit, the two will aim to harness the support of race teams and spectators to fundraise for the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people.

A wide range of fundraising initiatives will be run over the course of the season, including many ‘money-can’t buy’ opportunities for BTCC fans such as winning a lap ride in the BTCC safety car, wave the chequered flag for a BTCC race, walk the track prior to the start of racing, win VIP tickets to the final race weekend, and to meet a driver and be part of a BTCC team for a day.

Children with Cancer UK’s mission is to improve survival rates and the quality of survival in young cancer patients and to find ways to prevent cancer in the future.  It funds research, works to raise awareness and also provides practical support for young cancer patients and their families.

A key objective of the fundraising is to help fund new family accommodation at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital to keep families together while children from across the UK receive cancer treatment.

Andy Lane, Kwik Fit Marketing Director, said: “We are really excited to be sponsoring the BTCC and are very grateful to the championship for joining us in supporting Children with Cancer UK.

“We know that BTCC fans are not only passionate about the sport but have also been very supportive of good causes over many seasons.  We hope that children with cancer will benefit from their support this season.”

BTCC Series Director Alan Gow continued: “Our new sponsorship agreement with Kwik Fit is bringing a new look to the championship this year, and we have lots of new initiatives to add to fans’ enjoyment of the race weekends and the overall programme in general.

“While we live and breathe our racing, we hope that by supporting Children with Cancer UK the championship can provide a benefit to those families facing a much bigger challenge than getting a podium position.”

In addition to the fundraising taking place at BTCC events, Kwik Fit employees around the country will also carry out their own activities to support the charity too.

The 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will begin at Brands Hatch on April 6/7 before travelling the length and breadth of the country, with 30 pulsating races taking place.

British Rallycross Championship issues revised 2019 calendar

The Toyo Tires Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship has issued a revised calendar for the forthcoming 2019 season, comprising of six events.

Compared to the draft schedule that was published in November last year, the changes reduce the number of race weekends to six and also remove the cluster of events in late August / September, creating a more evenly spread of dates over the year.

All championships will be run across eight events in total with the season kicking off at Silverstone and then drawing to a close at Croft. Trips to Lydden Hill and Pembrey in-between will ensure sideways thrills and spills remain throughout.

The Motorsport UK Junior Rallycross Championship and Swift Sport Rallycross Championship will each have nine events as opposed to eight, with the September visit to Pembrey serving as a double-header.

Toyo Tires Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship 2019 Calendar

Silverstone – March 24

Lydden Hill – April 22

Pembrey – June 22

Pembrey – June 23

Lydden Hill – August 26

Pembrey – September 21/22

Croft – October 26

Croft – October 27

Wildcat Sprint Car breaks cover ahead of inaugural season

The Wildcat Sprint Car Series is set to a leave a memorable mark in 2019 as preparations continue for its inaugural season, where it will run under the British Automobile Racing Club umbrella.

Created by Sonny Howard, the lead figurehead behind the Pickup Truck Racing Championship and the BARC Super Silhouette Championship, the new one-make category will take its place on the British Truck Racing Association Championship support package in the forthcoming season, completing the SHP Promotions ‘Power of Three’ package.

Showcasing a head-turning appearance, the US-style racers will feature a two-litre Ford Duratec engine as well as a four-speed Quaife sequential gearbox. With the bodywork made from glass-reinforced plastic and the machine being rear-wheel-drive, those competing in the series are guaranteed an adrenaline rush like no other.

With the focus firmly set on producing entertaining wheel-to-wheel action, the series is hoping to attract younger drivers to compete in front of what is expected to be capacity trackside crowds at some of the UK’s top venues.

Those attending the Autosport Show International at the NEC Arena in Birmingham next week (January 10/11/12/13) will be able to see the jaw-dropping machine first-hand as it sits on display amongst the other SHP Promotions vehicles.

For those that want more information on the Wildcat Sprint Car Series, contact SHP Promotions via info@wildcatsprintcars.co.uk

Pembrey Circuit reveals blockbuster 2019 events calendar

Pembrey Circuit is set for another blockbuster motorsport season in 2019 following confirmation of what is a bumper events calendar for the forthcoming year.

Coming off the back of a hugely successful 2018 campaign for the South Wales-based venue which saw a glittering array of events take place and spectators line the bankings each weekend, the British Automobile Racing Club is track is gearing up for more of the same.

The new season will kick off in early April with the Drift Championship making the first of what will be two visits during the year. The British Racing & Sports Car Club will then make a long overdue return to the venue for an Easter extravaganza later in the month.

High-octane thrills will be provided by the Classic Motorcycle Racing Championship in early May before the heavyweight behemoths of the British Truck Racing Association Championship descend on Pembrey.

Always a highlight of the year, the five-tonne mega-machines will likely dazzle over the weekend of May 11/12 and will be joined by a stellar supporting cast.

Sideways action will come in the shape of the BTRDA Clubmans Rallycross Championship before the BARC stages back to back weekends in early June.

Those will be shortly followed up by two frenetic days of enthralling entertainment from the Toyo Tires British Rallycross Championship. As the summer months pass, the action shows no sign of letting up with event after event taking place.

August 17/18 will be one to watch as the British Supermoto Championship tackles the challenges of Pembrey before both the British Truck Racing Association Championship and Toyo Tires British Rallycross Championship visit once more.

The CMC Tarmac Rally Stages will wind down the action before the CMC ‘Jaffa’ Christmas Rally Stages will bring the curtain down on what is expected to be another memorable year of competition.

2019 Calendar

Drift Championship – April 7

British Racing & Sports Car Club – April 20/21

Classic Motorcycle Racing Championship – May 4/5

British Truck Racing Association Championship – May 11/12

Autosport International BTRDA Clubmans Rallycross Championship in partnership with Toyo Tires – May 18/19

BARC Wales Sprint – June 1/2

British Automobile Racing Club – June 8/9

Toyo Tires British Rallycross Championship – June 22/23

NGRR Motorcycle Championships – July 13/14

VMCC Motorcycle Championships – July 27/28

Autosport International BTRDA Clubmans Rallycross Championship in partnership with Toyo Tires – August 10/11

British Supermoto Championship – August 17/18

Drift Championship – September 1

Toyo Tires British Rallycross Championship – September 21/22

British Truck Racing Association Championship – October 5/6

CMC Tarmac Rally Stages – October 20

CMC ‘Jaffa’ Christmas Rally Stages – December 29

Tickets for all events at Pembrey Circuit will be available to purchase online or by phone in the New Year.

BARC HQ 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: Friday 21st December at 17:00

TO: Wednesday 2nd January 2019 at 09:00

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible trackside next year, 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!