Association of Racing Drivers Schools
ARDS elects new Chairman, Pat Blakeney


The Association of Racing Drivers’ Schools (ARDS) has elected Pat Blakeney as its new Chairman.

Currently Operations Manager at Thruxton Circuit, Pat has served as a Director of ARDS for ten years.  He is also a Director of ARKS, the Association of Karting Schools and the NKA, National Karting Association.

Outgoing Chairman, Paul O’Brien, will step down at the Association’s annual general meeting in March 2014, following 20 years in the role.  Paul is Managing Director of Acorne plc, a leading experience day, gift card and voucher business with a portfolio of brands including Virgin Experience Days.

Under Paul’s Chairmanship, ARDS developed the highly respected ARDS Instructor Licensing scheme*, through which over 500 race driver instructors are accredited and insured each year.

Most recently, Paul has worked closely with the MSA to develop a scheme to provide training and third party accreditation for instructors who wish to develop coaching careers.

Talking of Pat’s appointment, Paul said:

 “I’ve worked closely with Pat in recent years and am delighted to leave ARDS in his very capable hands.  It’s a busy time for ARDS, as we build on the Association’s success, with further training initiatives for instructors and the continuing monitoring and development of quality standards within the racing school sector.  Pat will also work closely with the MSA to roll out the professional coaching scheme.”

Pat brings a wealth of motorsport, instructing and management experience to the role.  In addition to his position at Thruxton - which includes responsibility for the motorsport centre, kart centre and circuit operations - Pat is an experienced S Grade senior instructor.  He pioneered ARDS Junior Driver Training Course and has worked, as Lead Instructor, with BMW on their race driver coaching and education programme.  He is also an enthusiastic and successful competitor in Formula Ford and has raced in a broad spectrum of cars since 1986.

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