This is the website of Rotor Racing, a Motorsport team founded in 1982 by Graham Millar, a motorsport junkie for 40 years, to race Rotor Racing cars. Rotor Racing has always been a group of unpaid amateurs keen on motorsport of all varieties and over the years the group have had a go at most things. You can read about the past activities of Graham and his group in our archive section and keep up to date with recent developments here. Graham has had plenty of helpers over the years and collectively they are called "Rotor Racing." But why "Rotor?" Well the dictionary defines rotor as;
In his early racing days, Graham found that he did rather a lot of spinning. Hence, Rotor Racing.
It has been some season for the RoToR team. At the start of the year we were asked to get involved in FF1600 racing by our long term backer, Cardowan Creameries. Over the previous couple of years they had supported James Clarke in Historic saloons and Classic Clubmans. James had done well and had decided that for 2018 he wished to test himself further in Formula Ford racing. It was a great honour to be given the task of building a new team but in such a short period of time finding cars, engines and a spares package was going to be a challenge never mind getting things together for the first meeting of the year. It was decided that the team would be called MCK Motorsport to reflect the partners involved and would contest the Scottish Motor racing clubs FF championship and also the BRSCC national series. The Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes trophy were also in the schedule. It was a big ask for what is after all a group of people who are involved in racing for fun and do it all in their spare time but as usual Graham and the boys were determined to give it their best shot. The team opted for Mygale chassis and Scholar engines. Not the most fashionable combination but on paper, given previous showings by both groups, more than up to the task in hand which was to get as much race mileage as possible for young James. The Calendar had been kind to the team but sadly the early season weather had not. Heavy snow had caused the test days at Knockhill to be cancelled so it was in at the deep end for James at the first round of the National Championship at Silverstone. Sadly the new engine did not want to play and poor James seemed to struggle a bit with how competitive it was going to be. Despite this early set back everyone got stuck in and as the season progressed things got better as the car and driver progressed. Sadly a belief that the car was not good enough and neither was the engine or the team started to develop and this caused a serious rift between all those involved. As early as the end of April it was felt by some that we were wasting our time and the plug should be pulled. Fortunately we got a bit longer than that but it soured relationships to the point where there was only one outcome. MCK Motorsport lasted till the end of August where a position was engineered which resulted in it being game over. It was a shame for James that, through no fault of his own, not only had he lost the drive but he had also lost a sponsor who had been very generous over the previous few years. We wish him well and feel proud that despite all that has been said about the team, car and engine he got his first podium in FF1600 with us.
Famous last words..........................
" I am never getting married"
" I am never having children"
" The love affair with Formula Ford is over"
These are some of the wise words from our leader.............................. This from the man who has been happily married for nearly 30 years and has two girls and two boys whom he adores. What about the last quote? Suffice to say here is a recent picture of the workshop.
Some strange goings on....................
Graham was away with the Scottish team who have a Norma CN car to Estoril for the last round of the 2017 V de V season. He was intending going to Silverstone that weekend for the Walter Hayes Trophy but after attending the Formula Ford Festival at Brands It seems he lost a bit of interest in FF1600. Not really sure why this came about because Rotor have always loved Formula Ford. In fact the team spent 3 months recently on a programme to see if a new FF1600 car was a possibility. Kenneth even did some simulations that proved that we were on the right track. Everything looked good until we got to the Roll Over Protection System. This has always been a problem for us due to no one following the material rules and guidelines as laid out in the Motor Sport Associations rule book. Instead people go the certificate route but this involves money and lots of it. There is one test house to check your simulations and their fees and that of the MSA are prohibitive for a group of amateur builders. Instead we have always gone the non certificate route and this results in a rather large structure. There is no doubt it does the job but it is disadvantageous due to its shape and size when it comes to the aerodynamic side of things. We even made a mock chassis to check that the manufacturing process was within or skills. Sadly we decided that it was not worth the effort to go ahead with the project.
Very slow in the workshop at the moment. Lots of distractions to keep the boys occupied elsewhere.
One of the biggest was going racing again. A trip to Barcelona for Graham to help out an ex driver seemed to have all the wrong effects. After watching a new Norma LMP3 car getting finished in the pit next to him his brain seems to have gone into meltdown. An amazing piece of kit and yours for only 230K euros, plus taxes of course. How the other half live.
Simon and Graham managed to get the rear bodywork made. It has been trial fitted to the car and the team are happy with it. Brackets for the mounting points are all cut and now that we have the final body section in place our next task is to get everything mounted. We can then finalise a couple of other details before starting painting the components. We have decided that we will go for a bespoke radiator and are talking to suppliers at the moment. Radiator will be rear mounted and the engine cover will have an internal ducting system. We know this works because way back in 1985 we ran a similar system on the JT3 FF1600.
More progress on the new car.
We have started a trial build. So far it is going well. We still have to decide on an airbox design. Once we are happy with the shape we will make a mould and the final article.
On its wheels at last.
Things are progressing well. All the moulds are made for the new car and we are starting to produce carbon fibre parts from them. There is a huge amount of work involved in this but we are starting to get through the workload. They say a picture tells a thousand words so here are some of the carbon parts we have produced.
Things have been a bit slow recently. I am afraid old age is slowing us down and we now have the situation where days are lost to funerals/ doctors/ hospital/ nurses appointments. It really is not much fun this old age lark. That said we have been getting on with it and have now made all the moulds for the bodywork. We are going to start making the panels soon and it is hoped that despite losing a lot of time recently that we can get the car running soon.There are lots of bits still to make but getting the car on track is the priority so things like ground effect carbon floors might have to wait. We have finally managed to get rid of the buck which has allowed us a bit of extra space to work in.
Progress is being made on the hillclimb/sprint car but a lot of the teams enthusiasm for the project has gone because we in found out in June that there has been a bit of lobbying going on to ban such vehicles. There is now a proposal in front of the speed committee suggesting that from the first of January 2017 the rules include a minimum cockpit width. As far back as 2006 "thin" cars have competed in the sportslibre class and in the 2011 rules and regulations, all reference to minimum cockpit widths was removed. There is a suggestion that this was a mistake but why does it take the governing body 4 years to find that out? Not the first time that a Rotor car has seen a change in rules cause the team grief.The plan is to get it finished as soon as we can so that we can compete in 2016 before the rules are changed.
Talking of grief. We are all still down at the loss of Tommy Donachie. Tommy was Grahams mechanic when he raced in Formula Ford. One of the worlds good guys and Mr 100%. When the decision was made to build a Rotor FF Tommy was in his element. His skills as a joiner, or wood artisan as he called it, helped making the buck for the bodywork but it was his desire for knowledge that really helped with the design. All the books were read, sketches made and when we came to doing the engineering drawings and started working things out, the side of his office was converted into a massive string computer so that we could explore roll centres and the difference they made to the grip of a car. That was the nature of the man, if you were going to do something you did it well or not at all and if we needed a drawing board 40ft wide so be it, Tommy would find a way. It was the same with fags and red wine,no point in half measures, you either did it or you did not. He had suffered ill health for years and despite suffering numerous heart attacks and strokes was always the same lovely guy.
RoToR starting to look the part.
Here we have a very rare sight, four Clans and one Imp in the workshop at the same time. Sadly this get together was to show prospective buyers the cars and to say our last goodbyes. The team have decided that restoring old cars is not for us. The Clan project was good fun but old age has caught up with us and we realised it was no longer an attractive proposition because there are plenty of oldies in the workshop as it is.Three Clans and the Imp have been sold. We are left with our race Clan. I was promised by a third party that it too was going but the deal fell through at the last minute. Perhaps this is an omen and we are destined to use it but as things stand that seems unlikely.
Our priority for 2015 is to finish the build of the new Rotor hillclimb car. Progress recently has been very slow. When we showed the MSA (the governing body of motorsport ) our plans at the recent Autosport show we were surprised at their response. It became obvious that innovation was not to be encouraged and the technical people we spoke with were quoting rules that did not apply to a car of the sort we are building. Sadly it appears that if you are in the sport for fun as we are you are seen as a liability when it comes to trying new ideas. We took all that they said on board but got the feeling that those the license holders employ had never played with Lego never mind designed and build a race car. A very disappointing experience all in.
We also got a shock recently when our landlord decided that putting our rent up by 25% seemed a good idea. Sadly it backfired because it made us think and when we opened our eyes we discovered that we were paying too much for what we get compared to other Industrial estates. The upshot is that we are actively looking for another unit with a bit more space to expand into so other projects that we have in mind can go ahead.