Those in the know have always rated Chris Ward as one of the best crop of younger drivers in historic racing. However, his performances at the Goodwood Revival really put his name into the spotlight. Paul Lawrence chatted to the former rising single-seater star.
What is the appeal of historic racing?
“The pre-dominance of what I do now is historic and I thoroughly enjoy it, probably because there is more input from a driver’s point of view. You don’t have traction control, anti-lock brakes and so on. The car moves about a lot more and that suits my way of driving. I’d love to have another go at modern racing and I still think I’ve got the ability to drive a modern car very well. So if the opportunity was there, we’d have a go.”
How did you get into historics?
“I started racing historics in the 1990s with a German family and they then decided to go off and do some sailing so the chance went away. When I was driving for Nissan with Alex Buncombe, Alex was racing for JD Classics at the time and that led to a chance to try some of the historic cars. I had my first drive with JD in 2012 and it has been fantastic. I thoroughly enjoy it and I’m very proud to be part of the JD team. The guys are so passionate about what they do. Derek Hood has built the business up from scratch and he has a passion for classic cars.”
What are you racing?
“It’s not all about Jaguars, although from the racing side we tend to have mainly Jaguars. In restoration and sales it is Ferrari that is the busiest. We’re also starting to diversify in the racing. We take the Cologne Capri out a lot and we’ve got the Bastos Rover so we’re moving into different fields. I’m very lucky with the type of cars we have to race. We go from XK120s to C-types, D-types, lightweight E-types and more modern touring cars.”
What did you do before JD Classics?
“I started instructing at Silverstone in 1994 and became chief instructor in ’99 and then the role developed from there. Latterly, it was more about overseeing the circuit on an operational basis. I’m now with JD Classics full time, co-ordinating the various departments and liaising with the customers in an overall management role.”
What else would you like to race?
“This year Paul Gibson asked me to partner him in his Lola T70 Mk3B, so that has been fantastic. We’ve raced against each other for many years and Paul was a real rival in the days of National Supersports. I’d like to try my hand at some historic single-seaters, maybe Formula 2 or Formula 1. They are the cars I grew up with.”