RoToR Racing


That was fun. 2008 was a good year. I managed to get lots done, achieved a few goals and laid to rest a few skeletons. The 25th anniversary year of RoToR Racing saw the team construct a Pinto sports 2000, build a chassis for a future Rotor project and go motor racing on a wing and a prayer. Let me explain.

At the end of 2007 things were looking bleak. The F3 project had gone and there was nothing on the horizon that appealed other than building another Rotor road car. Both road projects are ticking over and enthusiasm is still high, but outside forces were causing problems. For a long time it has been my dream to take part in the Tour Of Mull rally in a vehicle of my own design. The MSA do not like specials and to run in competition events we need their approval. I understand where they are coming from but sticking a space frame and motorbike engine in a rust eaten saloon car is not what we are about. We also do not fit in with their specialised manufacturer grouping either where a small company building 20 cars a year can become involved in motor sport. In fact the technical rules and regulations for the future of motor sport are still full of contradictions and I sometimes wonder whether they actually know what they want. The project is still on-going, and would be a great car for competition in the 1600cc class, but spending money on it is a low priority given that the vehicle might never be allowed to compete.

Early sketch

My other road project is coming along nicely and I have managed to get the chassis built. It is what I think fun cars will be like in the future. Designed to use the mechanicals from most front wheel drive hatch backs, the concept car has a central driving position with the passenger behind him. Few have seen the concept but those in the know have been enthusiastic with their praise. Still to be done are the chassis brackets and the minimalist bodywork. I am sure it would work and certainly intend pushing ahead when time is available.

These two were the options for 2008, put some serious effort into finishing another Rotor road car or find something to do involving competition.

Sports 2000.

I had come across the championship in 2006 when involved in UKFF and thought it ideal for a Rotor project. At first glance it looks all very clubby but when you have a really close look there are some serious players spending quite a lot of cash on their hobby. There are three main groups, Duratec, Pinto and Historics. A new Duratec car is in the region of 40/45K with a good pinto 15/20K and a historic 20/25K. Not Rotor territory but worth a closer look. I looked, learned and decided that there was the possibility, that with a lot of effort, we could perhaps manage to do something. When the series announced that the were running separate races for all three classes, things became more interesting and I took the decision to go ahead and try and cobble something together to get on track and see what it was like.

I started with the Rotor JT7 comp car that we had. The Chassis was fine if a little short in the wheelbase and a bit heavy. The bodywork that I had designed for the car back in 1995 as an option also looked suitable. Was there the basis of a sports 2000 lurking in the back of the workshop? We got everything laid out, including an old Pinto engine from E Bay, and quickly realised that things would fit with some modifications for the water pump. Our trusty MK8 Hewland transaxle from the seventies was also suitable and the only thing that looked a problem was converting all four uprights to take the smaller wheels and brakes required in sports 2000. It all seemed so easy but there was a major flaw in that lots of bits needed making and all of that would take time. Could we build a car to get out in 2008?

On a few occasions I thought we had no chance but thanks to John Kyle providing the funds and Simon Dunkley, Davie Black and Skinydug the labour, we made it. We also managed to get on track and raced at Silverstone and Brands Hatch.

It was not a great success results wise, a serious lack of testing saw to that, but we had great fun and are looking for a way to do more in 2009.