Veteran Motorsports Exec Ward Named Historic Sportscar Racing President

10 Jan. 2024 • 17:05
© Historic Sportscar Racing

Veteran motorsports executive Chris Ward has been named president of Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR), taking over the top leadership position of the IMSA-owned vintage and historic sports car racing sanctioning body from David Hinton. The management announcements were made today by IMSA President John Doonan as the organization prepares for this month’s season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona and HSR makes plans for its first event of the year, the Spring Fling at Sebring International Raceway, March 8-10.


“We look forward to welcoming Chris Ward, who is already a familiar and close colleague in the paddock, to the IMSA team as HSR president and at the same time couldn’t be happier that David Hinton will continue as an advisor and a member of the HSR Board of Directors,” Doonan said. “The timing of and people involved in this positive change couldn’t be better. David first approached us last year to discuss a succession plan to take place in 2024 for the HSR president position at the same time Chris became available. It all fell into place perfectly as we set the foundation for the next phase of HSR’s growth. It is our intent to continue to focus on the core values that HSR was founded on, which are to grow vintage and historic racing in North America.”


Ward most recently served as Head of Motorsport for Lamborghini North America from 2014-2023, where among his vast managerial responsibilities was the oversight of day-to-day operations of the IMSA-sanctioned Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series, including sanctioning body coordination, team and customer liaison and acquisition, parts supply chain management and logistics and hospitality operations. 


Under Ward’s management and direction, the Super Trofeo series reached unprecedented growth, particularly in recent years. Record fields and capacity grids have been commonplace and new car orders for pending seasons of competition have frequently been early sellouts. 


Prior to his tenure at Lamborghini, Ward co-founded a successful experiential marketing agency based in Detroit. Its primary focus was marketing, PR and events for luxury brands such as Audi, Bombardier, Bentley Motors and Breitling.


"It is a huge honor to be asked to steer HSR going forward in this new role,” Ward said. “I’d like to thank (IMSA CEO) Ed Bennett and John Doonan for this tremendous opportunity and, of course, David Hinton for agreeing to remain as an advisor, guaranteeing a seamless transition for our customer teams and drivers. HSR is on a terrific growth trajectory and I’m so looking forward to being a part of its exciting future.”  


Hinton made the decision to step aside as the second anniversary of IMSA’s acquisition of HSR approaches later this month. He served as HSR president for the last 11 years after acquiring majority ownership of the organization in 2012 in partnership with the late George Tuma. Under Hinton’s leadership, HSR has seen its largest growth periods in its more than 40-year history as he guided both the organization’s competition and business operations.


A milestone achievement was the sale of HSR to IMSA that Hinton steered in step with Doonan following Tuma’s passing and the loss of their ownership partner and popular race car driver Jim Pace in late 2020. Hinton also worked with the management of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in bringing HSR in as the sanctioning body for the globally popular Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion historic events beginning in 2021. He will serve as the official HSR representative at the Monterey Reunions in 2024 and remain on the Board of Directors for HSR. 


Hinton also continues to operate his longstanding championship and race-winning historic racing team Heritage Motorsports out of Clearwater, Florida.


“While I am leaving my familiar and current role, I am certainly not going away and will continue to have a regular presence in the HSR paddock both as an advisor and running Heritage Motorsports,” Hinton said. “I am also deeply honored to be asked to serve on the HSR Board of Directors, but after 11 years running two companies, my partner in all things Denise and I have decided it is time to slow down. I can’t thank John Doonan, Ed Bennett and everyone at IMSA enough for all of the trust and support over the last few years and look forward to helping Chris Ward all that I can to keep HSR’s solid growth going. 


“I hope I have done George and Jim proud - I know they would have been over the moon about the IMSA ownership – and I also want to thank earlier owners and founders Joe Pendergast, Howard Turner, Steve Simpson and Peter McLauglin, who were key in making HSR what it is today. It has been a privilege to work with our dedicated HSR staff over the last decade plus – they are the best in the business – and we are all lucky to have such a fantastic group of HSR member competitors who are unwavering supporters and make our jobs enjoyable. I will see you all at Sebring in a couple of months.”


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