In its 20th year, Aussie Racing Cars (ARC) is proud to welcome back to the grid, ARC founder, Phil Ward as he celebrates 50th years of participation in Australian Motorsport.
The category was invented and developed by race driver and engineer Phil Ward with the first car being rolled out of his workshop in 1997. The cars were all hand built by Ward and the chassis and suspension design was tested over many track sessions at Ward’s monthly corporate Kart day’s called Kart Blanche which were run at Sydney’s Oran Park Raceway. The first cars were sold to corporate karting guests at Kart Blanche long before CAMS sanction and long before the a national series for the cars was initiated. From then on the category went from strength to strength to become arguably the strongest national motor racing category, for the longest period of time ever in Australia.
The 2000 and 2001 seasons were run as stand alone events and in 2002 the category was formally invited to become an official support category to Supercars and was included on the program at Supercars Oran Park Raceway Event. The category fielded 25 cars at this event. The incredible reaction from not only the general public but from the V8 teams certainly gave the Wards the belief that they were on to something big and it would soon become clear the category was destined to fill a previously unrecognised void in the motorsport industry. It is now the longest standing and largest in terms of entry numbers of any National category in Australia and there are literally thousands of drivers across Australia ranging from Bathurst winners right down to club racers who have had a drive or 2 in an ARC.
The exclusive rights agreement that ARC has with CAMS changed ownership in April 2012 with well-known motorsport identity and racer, Tony Quinn taking the reins. The Quinn Era has delivered multiple new body shapes plus several mechanical upgrades improving reliability and reducing running costs continuing to enable cost effective participation at some of Australia’s and New Zealand’s premier race tracks and events.
In addition to this being the 20th Anniversary of ARC, category founder, Phil Ward will also celebrate a special anniversary in Adelaide.
Racing one of the cars he designed, in the category he created, Phil Ward will join the Aussie Racing Cars grid in Adelaide to celebrate not only the 20th Anniversary of this great category but his own anniversary – 50 years of participation in Australian Motorsport. A significant milestone.
Wardie’s first race was at Warwick Farm in 1969 driving a Ford Anglia. He has raced a variety of cars during his colourful career including his famous black and silver Escort BDA regularly thrilling the crowds at Oran and Amaroo Park circuits. His move to the fearsome Ex Bob Jane Monaro showed he had the skill behind the wheel to win numerous races against the big names of the era. His exploits driving Mercedes-Benz reflected his hard charging style over many seasons during the Group A and Super Touring era and in between he raced a myriad of other marques from time to time during his illustrious career. During his ownership of ARC he has competed in more than 350 races. Having raced at many of Australia and New Zealand’s best circuits and events, Phil reflects briefly on a driving career that spans 50 years:
“It doesn’t actually seem that long ago since I was towing my Ford Anglia sports sedan to Warwick Farm where I had my first race in 1969, it is very sad however that the circuit along with numerous others I was very fortunate to compete at are now just a memory” Ward said ‘I am enjoying retirement although I seem to be busier than ever playing with some of the special race cars I drove over the years, I call it retirement but I am pretty lucky really as I have never really worked a day in my life, my hobby was my job which I guess was primarily the reason ARC became such a success”
“Tony is doing a wonderful job with the category and I am thrilled it is in such good hands. I am excited to be doing a few rounds this season kicking off with Adelaide to celebrate ARC’s 20th and my 50th milestone in the sport”.
To officially launch the 20th year of Aussie Racing Cars competition all 2019 round 1 entrants and their teams will assemble on the Adelaide 500 grid on Thursday 28 February 2019 from 9am where Tony Quinn and Phil Ward will formally open the 2019 Aussie Race Cars Championship. In addition, the all new electric powered Aussie Race Car “Aus E Car” will be unveiled. Showcasing ARC’s technical ability and engineering knowhow, this car is evidence that there is no stopping the category and its growth as it remains at the forefront of Australia’s motor racing landscape. Who knows what the next 20 years may hold…
With a succession of big events, complete TV coverage of each event, a diverse mix of driving talent ranging from up-and-comers to fun-loving veterans, and a unique racing package, the 20th season of Aussie Racing Cars is set to be its most exhilarating yet.