Sunday, 15 December 2013


The HRDC Austin Academy, so what’s this all about then?

Historic saloon car racing is one of the few flourishing categories of motorsport in the UK today. But this popularity brings with it a level of competitiveness, which in itself brings added expense to improve and push the boundaries and levels of your chosen vehicle.
A tried and trusted formula in motor sport to try and ‘level the playing field’ is a 'one make' race series, where all cars are expected to be equal and thus the ability of the driver shines through, or not as the case may be!
To my knowledge this has not been tried with Historic saloons (maybe with the exception of Minis) certainly never with Austin A35s!

So why the A35?
Firstly, the Austin A35 has an iconic reputation as a race car - hitting well above its weight. Furthermore, the Austin A35 is still readily available to buy secondhand at sensible prices, £3.5K to £5.5K will buy a nice sound car if you buy wisely. The best advice is to buy as good as you can because welding a car up will not only cost you more than you expect, it will also take far longer than you expect, and your aim is to get on the grid in a reasonable time frame, not getting a suntan from your mig welder!
The mechanics of the A35 are tried and tested, and whilst not being cutting edge, these can be surprisingly reliable. The engine / gearbox / suspension / brakes package that has been designed is there to provide beginners - as well as seasoned racers - with a safe and rewarding experience.
Whilst the specification for the HRDC Academy cars could have gone a lot further with the engine output  and sophistication of suspension tuning; safety and reliability have driven the key factors with the Academy project - thus allowing novice drivers to build their experience with a stable and solid tool in the form of a HRDC Academy car. 

So you have bought your A35, what happens now?
Your first point of contact will be the HRDC

The key elements of the package are the engine, which is a sealed and tested unit, (only available to buy outright from Classic and Modern Engine Services), the roll cage which is a 6-point bolt in with welded-in strengthening plates, (only available from Caged Laser in Somerset), and then the suspension, brakes, auxiliary engine parts, interior and body accessories (available only from Moto-Build Racing).

The idea is that you buy the parts from the HRDC suppliers as and when it is convenient to you. During the assembly of your car, there are a certain amount of parts that are mandatory to buy via the HRDC suppliers, but also there are many other parts that are required to complete the car that you can source yourself. These other parts are also available via the HRDC suppliers if required. However if you do source certain items then you must ensure they are suitable for inclusion in your build, so don't be afraid of asking questions before you buy!

So you have built the car, what happens now?
The car needs to have it’s own HRDC chassis plate and passport, this is to ensure that all cars competing are known to have been built to the correct standard, if during the build you are in any doubt about how to do something or if a part is compatible / acceptable, there will always be someone available at the end of the phone or an email to help and advise. When built the car will be inspected to confirm eligibility, the chassis plate will then be stamped and fitted.

Once it has it’s passport and chassis plate that’s it, off to the first available race with the HRDC!
The 2014 HRDC Calendar is available on:
HRDC Academy cars will initially run as a separate class within the HRDC 'Touring Greats' Series for pre-'60 historic touring cars. Once HRDC Academy car numbers increase - a stand-alone Series will be formed.

Here's a pictorial journey through the build-up of an HRDC Academy car:

Firstly buy yourself the best car that you can - it will be money well spent!

A project like this - no matter how cheap - could be a step too far!




To see an HRDC ACADEMY car in action, go to:

'Starter' Academy cars can be sourced via:

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