Horsley’s decision to retire comes after he delivered another motorsport win for Mazda with the Mazda3 MPS dominating the Showroom category, finishing an impressive sixth outright at this year’s Targa Tasmania rally.
Successes such as this and an unwavering determination to succeed have defined Horsley’s career with Mazda and made him one of Australian motor sports most respected team bosses.
Horsley’s Mazda Motorsport career started in 1981 when he was hired as team manager of Allan Moffat Racing and launched the team’s successful RX-7 touring car program.
It was only a matter of months before Horsley, Moffat and the RX-7 tasted success with a win at Surfer’s Paradise in late 1981. This signaled the beginning of three decades of motorsport triumphs for Mazda.
Three successive Australian Endurance Championships followed for the RX-7 between 1982 and 1984 but perhaps Horsley’s greatest achievement was a hat-trick of victories at the James Hardie Bathurst 12 Hour between 1992 and 1994.
While some may be content to take their foot off the gas after this level of success, Horsley’s character is perfectly summed up by what he did next. Determined not to be outdone by European rivals, including Porsche, Horsley created the turbo-charged RX-7 SP and with Dick Johnson and John Bowe recruited, the Eastern Creek 12 Hour title was duly secured.
Horsley then masterminded a change in direction for Mazda Motorsport with tarmac rallying and Targa Tasmania in particular becoming the focus.
This change of direction only spurred Horsley and Mazda Motorsport on to further success with Horsley’s ability to get the best from both driver and machine further enhanced as he delivered no less than 11 Targa Tasmania class wins between 1994 and 2012.
However, Horsley’s impact on Mazda Australia has also been felt beyond motorsport as his role as a key figure in Mazda’s Public Relations team enabled him to deliver many engaging drive programs and memorable launch events.
Mazda Australia managing director, Doug Dickson worked closely with Horsley for over 30 years and is well-positioned to assess the qualities he brought to Mazda.
“Allan’s passion for fast cars and motorsports promotion was always going to be of great benefit to Mazda and so the last three decades have proved. His ability to overcome challenges and deliver giant-killing victories has played a huge role in putting Mazda Motorsport and our brand on the map,” he said.
“His contribution to our motorsports program and our Public Relations efforts over such a long period are to be applauded and on behalf of Mazda Australia I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude to Allan and wish him all the very best in his retirement,” Dickson concluded.
After such a long and successful career, Horsley is looking forward to the future.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with Mazda and I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with so many great people across both motorsport and Public Relations. I’m sure that many of these relationships will continue and with a lifetime of motorsport in the blood, I’m sure I won’t be losing my interest in cars any time soon.”
With Allan Horsley’s retirement effective immediately, Mazda Australia has taken the opportunity to restructure its Public Relations operations. The company’s National Public Relations team is to be located at Mazda Australia’s Melbourne head office under the guidance of Public Relations manager Steve Maciver. Press car delivery will continue as normal from the current state locations although all bookings will now be handled by the National Public Relations team in Melbourne, bringing NSW in line with all other states.
Further details on Mazda’s new Public Relations team will follow in the coming weeks.