The British Automobile Racing Club

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First formed in 1912 as The Cyclecar Club, today the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) organises races at almost every venue in Great Britain.

The BARC will forever continue in its aim "To be the best".

Club History

First formed in 1912 as The Cyclecar Club, today the British Automobile Racing Club organises races at almost every venue in Britain

The Cyclecar Club, grew quickly and organised events at Brooklands as well as rallies and touring trials on the open road. In 1919, following World War One, with cyclecars on the decline, the name was changed to The Junior Car Club (JJC). Club members owned light cars, which were defined as four seater’s weighing less than 15cwt., or two-seater’s weighing less than 13cwt. Both categories had an engine capacity limit of less than 1500cc (four stroke) or 1100cc (two stroke).

Membership grew quickly, a secretary and key staff were appointed in 1921, while regional centres were formed in the North, South West, Yorkshire and North Wales. In 1921 the JCC organised the first long-distance race in Britain. The 200 Mile Race at Brooklands was won by Henry Segrave’s in a Talbot-Darracq.

The “200” was run at Brooklands until 1928 and was the highlight of the JCC calendar. In 1932, a 1000 Mile Race, also organised at Brooklands, was won by Elsie Wisdom and Joan Richmond in a Riley. The JCC was one of the first clubs to allow women to compete against men.

Rallies were also organised, including The British Rally to the United States and Canada held in 1936 and 1939.

After the Second World War, the Junior Car Club was amalgamated with the Brooklands Automobile Racing Club but Brooklands as a racing venue was gone forever. The new home of the club, with its name changed in 1949 to The British Automobile Racing Club, was Goodwood circuit on the outskirts of Chichester in West Sussex.

The BARC was involved at the reopening of Crystal Palace in 1953 and the opening of Aintree the following year. Indeed, when the British Grand Prix was run at Aintree in 1955, 57, 59, 61 *and *62 the BARC was the organiser. The 1955 race witnessed Stirling Moss’ first ever World Championship Grand Prix win.

Goodwood was the venue of many important BARC promotions, with at least one International fixture each year until the circuit was closed on public safety grounds in 1966. Easter Monday Internationals often featured a Formula 1 race. In 1952, 1953 and 1955 a nine-hour sports car race was run, the first after-dark racing ever organised in Britain.

Goodwood’s closure was serious; the BARC had no “home”. The 1967 Easter Monday International was switched temporarily to Silverstone, while its new circuit, Thruxton, was transformed from a bleak wartime airfield into a permanent motor racing facility.

Since its opening in 1968 the Hampshire circuit has developed into one of the major circuits in the country and since 1974, the BARC Headquarters have been at the track. Major meetings held each year have included the Easter Monday Formula 2 race, while there were also major races for the British Formula 1 Championship and saloon car championships.

Recently, the BARC has been instrumental in introducing several important new formulae. Formula Vauxhall Lotus in 1988, Formula Renault in 1989, and Formula BMW in 2004. There is a similar story with Saloon cars, including the Renault Clio Championship and the SEAT Championship.

The club currently has six active centres throughout the country, based in the South East, Midlands, North West, South West, Yorkshire and Wales plus a centre in Ontario, Canada. The BARC operates three UK circuits at Thruxton in Hampshire, Pembrey in Dyfed, Croft in North Yorkshire along with two hillclimb venues at Gurston Down near Salisbury and Harewood Hill near Leeds.

On the social side, the BARC organised its first Beaujolias Challenge in 1981. This very popular fun motoring event, which ran every year up to 1997, started at Lacenas in France on dates which coincided with the annual release of the Beaujolais Nouveau and raised a considerable amount of money for charity.

Yet another milestone in the Club’s history came in 1990, when BARC signed a 50 year lease on Pembrey Circuit in South Wales.. During the following two years race administration buildings and a restaurant were erected and 1992 saw the first visit of British Formula 3 and British Touring Car Championships to the circuit.

In June 1993, following an idea from BARC Council member Ian Bax, a hillclimb event called the Festival of Speed for cars and motorcycles of different eras, was held at Goodwood House, the home of the BARC president, The Earl of March. The following year the Goodwood Festival of Speed celebrated 100 years of motorsport. The now annual event has grown into what is described by the press as the premier event in the Historic motorsport world calendar. Cars are flown in from around the world to be driven by stars such as Moss, Surtees, Gonzales and current Grand Prix and GT drivers.

August 1995 saw the Club organising the BBC Top Gear World Electric Challenge featuring a round of the FIA Electro-Solar Cup 1995 – the first ever race meeting for electrically-powered vehicles run under FIA rules in the UK.

In July 1995 at Donington, the BARC organised the first ever UK round of the FIA International Touring Car series. With the main race organisers in Germany and support races coming from Italy (Maserati) and France (Eurocup Renault Clio) this was a truly international event that called for immense planning and organisation.

The BARC are responsible for organising some of the highest International race meetings in Europe and have one of the best worldwide reputations for race meeting organisation and promotion. The complete success of these, plus other races organised by BARC is well documented by the media.

Following the death of Ian Taylor, the BARC purchased the Ian Taylor Motor Racing School in 1998 (now trading as Thruxton Motorsport Centre) and have developed this school into a first class driving experience centre, offering drives in both exciting and exotic machinery such as Formula Renault Single seat racing cars and Ferrari and Lamborghini super cars. A purpose-built Kart centre and Four-Wheel-Drive facility have also been added to the Thruxton Motorsport Centre’s portfolio.

In 2005 the BARC were also able to purchase the TOCA Company who operate the British Touring Car Championship, thereby adding another prestige Championship to its portfolio. During late 2006, the company invested in the purchase of Croft PromoSport Ltd, previously owned by the Croft Estate in the North of England, and has therefore taken over all motor sport activities at the Croft circuit near Darlington.

For 2015 and beyond, The BARC was awarded the organising rights to the MSA British Rallycross Championship and the prestigious end of season British Rallycross GP and at the same time a state-of-the-art purpose built skid-pan was opened at Thruxton, complimenting the other great driving experiences already on offer.

The BARC is awarded the organising rights to the British round of the World Rallycross Championship at Lydden Hill in 2016 and the Mighty Minis join.

In 2017 the BARC continues to spread it's wings. Four championships join; Two brand new, the Renault UK Clio Cup Junior Championship and the UKV8s. The others, joining the Classic Saloon Car Championships is the Honda V-Tec Challenge and the Smart 4Two Cup. The BARC is also awarded the managing of the prestigious FiA World Endurance Championship at it's UK round at Silverstone in April.

All of these investments hold great promise for the BARC, broadening the geographical and operational spread of our existing activities and further enhances the club’s standing within the motor-racing industry. The BARC will forever continue in its aim to be the best!


Thruxton Logo

Thruxton Circuit

The fastest race circuit in the UK and home of the BARC. Thruxton regularly hosts the UK’s premier motor sport championships including British Touring Cars and British Superbike Championships. In addition Thruxton Motorsport Centre offers a wide range of experience activities including supercar and racing car driving experiences, outdoor karting on a purpose built facility and a 4x4 off road driving centre.

Croft Logo

Croft Circuit

North Yorkshires premier motor racing circuit. Set in the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside. This superb 2.1 mile circuit has been developed for over 50 years into a top-flight racing venue which hosts prestigious Motorsport events such as British Touring Cars (BTCC) as well as the most competitive club level racing.

Pembrey Logo

Pembrey Circuit

The home of welsh motor sport. At Pembrey you can watch racing for cars, motorcycles, karts & trucks. In addition Pembrey also hosts rallies and sprints. The circuit is an ideal base for corporate and motorsport team activities and offers a dedicated series of motorsport performance driving schools.

Gurston Down Logo

Gurston Down Speed Hill Climb

Located near Salisbury, Wiltshire and with almost 50 years’ worth of experience organising and staging speed hill climbs, Gurston Down is widely regarded as one of the best hill climb venues in Britain and has been voted ‘Best British Hill Climb Championship Event Organiser’ a record nine times.

Harewood Hill Logo

Harewood Speed HillClimb

The longest speed hill climb course in the UK. The venue offers unrivalled views of high speed motorsport action set against a backdrop of the beautiful Wharfedale valley. Cars compete against the clock on the 1440 metre tarmac track, with speeds reaching 130mph.

BARC Roll of Honour

The BARC Roll of Honour is divided into three sections:

The BARC Gold Medal

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 merited.

Download of recipients

The BARC's Browning Medal

This medal is awarded to that 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 of recipients

2016 BARC Championship Winners

The champions and other award winners of 2016

Download of recipients

2017 BARC Championship Winners

The champions and other award winners of 2017

Download of recipients

Starting Out In Motorsport

A Basic Guide to getting started in Motor Racing.


The controlling body for Motor Sport in the UK is the Motor Sports Association (MSA) who derive their authority from the FIA in Geneve. The FIA is the highest international body involved in the administration of Motor Sport.

All competitors need to obtain a Competition Licence from the MSA. Request a “Starter” pack which will include an application form and details of ARDS courses offered by racing schools in the UK. It is necessary to attend and pass an ARDS course before the MSA will issue a national B race licence.

Those wishing to go karting or into speed events need a slightly different licence before they start competing.

The BARC’s own Thruxton Motorsport Centre and Croft Circuit offer ARDS courses. The instructors are all very knowledgeable and professional racing drivers. They will assess your capabilities, and advise you as to whether you are best suited to racing a saloon, sportscar or single-seater. However, we recognise that you may have already made up your mind!

All applications to the MSA for a racing license have to be accompanied by a medical report completed by a doctor (form supplied in the Starter Pack).

The MSA may be contacted on 01753 765000, by visiting their website or alternatively, you can write to them at:
The Motor Sports Association Ltd.
Motor Sports House
Riverside Park
Colnbrook, Slough

Once you are in possession of a competition licence you need to become a member of an MSA recognised motor club such as the BARC.

Once you have gained your licence, you are ready to take the next step, and decide which Championship or Series to join.

There are over 100 different Championships in the UK, administered by dozens of different organisations or clubs. For most of them, you will need to buy and race-prepare a car or join a professional team who provide and maintain the car.


It is very difficult for us to quantify the costs of you becoming a racing driver as the frequency at which you compete or the degree of technical sophistication you wish to attain will have a very significant impact on your overall costs.

However, you should recognise that you will incur costs in all of the following areas:

  • ARDS course and competition licence
  • Personal equipment (overalls, helmet etc)
  • Purchase of a suitable car (depending on the Championship you wish to enter)
  • Car preparation or Team agreement
  • Purchase of a suitable electronic transponder for race timing purposes
  • Annual Club membership
  • Annual Subsidiary Club membership, depending on the Championship
  • Annual Championship Registration fee
  • Race entry fees
  • Transport costs to/from each race meeting (using a trailer or transporter etc)
  • Accommodation at race meetings, hotels, food etc

Commercial Options

BARC offer a number of ways to get involved with our events and circuits. Listed below are some examples of how we can work together


The BARC Circuits offer a range of advertising that can reach your target market directly. Each year more than 100,000 consumers visit our circuits. We have complete packages of adverting which include our new look Race programmes for 2013 along with key opportunities to advertise on our web site. The overall reach and frequency of our group wide sites give you the opportunity to reach your target market directly.

Trade Promotions

Why not build a trade stand at one of our motor racing events. Trade stands offer high visibility and when combined with the size of our motor racing circuits and the excellent dwell times there could not be a better place to sell your products.

Promotional Campaigns

We offer an excellent way for you to promote your products or services to our visiting consumers. We can help you organise product demonstrations and customer sign up or simply offer leafleting opportunities to our customers as they come into our circuits. You can offer free samples of products to our customers and we can develop the best range of promotional campaigns to suit your key objectives.


We have Hospitality packages to suit all budgets. We can cater for individuals to large corporate event days. We offer an end to end solution providing you with completely hosted days that include tours of the venue with an insight into how a race meeting is put together. We provide first class catering throughout your day with us making it a very memorable occasion for everybody.


We have several sponsorship opportunities readymade for you to associate yourselves with the exiting world of motor sport. These opportunities might include sponsorship of a racing series, individual race meetings or other BARC activities which take place during any one year. We like to believe that we can find just the right opportunity for your company and brand name delivering a real and effective return year in year out.


For further information please email Ian Watson

BARC Policy Statements

The BARC has a number of different policy statements relating to the way in which the companies within the group operate.

The BARC Health & Safety Policy

The BARC tries to maintain a safe environment for all of its employees and visitors at all times

Download Health & Safety Policy

The BARC Social Media Guidelines

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 reputation

Download Social Media Guidelines

The BARC Environmental Policy

The BARC is committed to protecting the environment as far as is possible within the operation of events and venues.

Download Environmental Policy