The 2006 season
|At the start of the year Rotor Racing decided to push ahead with the Rotor JT7 race car. A new class of racing had been started by the Scottish Motor Racing Club and we felt that we would like to become involved. Shortly after the decision was made we lost the use of our workshop. That placed us in a difficult position but fate was on our side and we were lucky enough to find a small unit in Kirkintilloch. We quickly refurbished the workshop and got stuck in to the task of rebuilding one of the Rotor JT7 cars into a mini sports-prototype. We also started to look about for a driver for the project car. Around this time I received a call from a former Rotor owner asking for advice regarding his son who had done well in karting and was hoping to move into cars. David Brown sounded ideal for the job and we agreed to push ahead with the car and pencilled him in as a possible driver. The car started to take shape and progress was going well. It had always been the intention to use a full width front end as well as undertrays and aero aids. Drawings had been completed previously and we were pleased with the design and keen to see it on track. |
Things changed slightly when Kenneth Brown, Davidís dad told me that he had managed to secure a car for use in the UK Formula Ford Championship. This was a huge step and one that was to have far reaching consequences for the team. I had been brought up on Formula Ford racing and the Rotor team had been very active in the formula but that was twenty years ago. Things have moved on and the biggest problem facing a small team is the commitment that is required to contest a British Championship. I was asked to help and decided I would try and help out as best I could.
It would mean that a couple of our projects would be put on hold and that others would have to be quickly finished and made ready for the season ahead.
The first outing of the year was with the Golf GTI that we use for stage rallying. Graham and Alan Maxwell took part in the DCC stages at Ingliston. It was a good day out and the team finished 40th from 75 starters. Brian and Gordon serviced and although new to it, did a great job. The car is almost standard and we decided after the event that we would try and increase the performance before we use it again.
In April the race season got underway and I helped out the Brown family in the UK FF race series. Round one and two were at Oulton Park and the team got off to a poor start as the borrowed car fell to pieces. We spent 5 days fettling it as it threw up problem after problem. On track David was out of his depth having never seen the circuit before. He qualified last for his first Formula Ford race and was very disappointed by that. In the races things were different and he soon got better. In fact he finished both races and got faster each time he went on track.
After Oulton Park we were off to Donington for round 3 and 4. It was a strange weekend because young David went through all the emotions. A good practice day got him into the frame but he got caught up in someone elseís accident in qualifying and this compromised his grid slot. In the race he was flying and managed to get up to second in class before another competitor pushed him onto the grass. In the second of the races he played safe and drove for a finish. It is all part of the learning curve but things were getting better and we all felt that it would not be long until he got on the podium.
Back home the Rotor team put a lot of effort into getting the BMW M3 finished. Numerous electrical problems had held the project up. Everyone has had a go at solving them but we still could not get it to work as we expected. The breakthrough came when we discovered that there was a missing wire and that our loom was different to that on the wiring diagram. Eureka, once replaced everything fell into place and the BMW was soon finished. We took it to Knockhill for a shakedown and it went reasonably well. The diff was making a lot more noise than it should have one but we ran it long enough to be happy with the results of our labours.
After our trip with the M3 it was back to the Ford series. A trip to Snetterton saw David make his first trip to the podium. It was fantastic and it gave the boy some much-needed confidence. It was the turning point of the year and we started to really motor as the team increased its input and doubled the effort required.
Back home we got on with a couple of outstanding jobs. The differential from the M3 was sent for checking and the moulds for the JT7 were started. We also managed to find time to get the other JT 7 out for a thrash. This took place at Forrestburn and it was great fun.
The season started to slow down as we entered the holiday period. The M3 diff was returned and refitted and the Golf engine was stripped and the rebuild was started. The JT7 development was the project to suffered most from the commitment to the Ford series but it got some attention when we got the chance. The UK FF series was going well and the trips to Brands Hatch and Rockingham produced four-second places. Davidís consistency was paying off and his pointís tally was good enough to take the lead in the Scholarship class championship. Things were looking up and Graham decided to put all his efforts into trying to win the championship. We went to the Second Brands Hatch round desperate for a win. The long circuit at Brands is a driverís circuit and one of the most difficult on the calendar. We were sure that Davidís pace would get him his first win and we were not disappointed as we left Brands with our first pole position and two wins.
We returned home delighted and focussed on the job in hand. Knockhill was our next track and we took advantage of a test to try and make sure the car was perfect for our home race. Typically all our running in the dry was in vain because the races at Knockhill were damp or wet. It was a big meeting for us and we had lots of guests wishing us well. John Kyle played his part and helped David out with some sponsorship. Team ďBroonĒ managed to scrape through the weekend with a second and a third. This put the pressure on us for the championship as at the top things started to become very close points wise. There was also a gap in the calendar followed by three races in 3 weekends. This meant 12 days away in 21 and entailed 2400 miles in the truck. As a small team we felt at a disadvantage but we were determined to get the job done.
Three meetings in three weekends was a big ask but we did it and with only Castle Combe left we had enough points in the bag to be UK FF Scholarship champions. We had to go to Castle Combe to satisfy the regulations so David decided to go for it. David had been at Combe earlier in the year but the car failed and he only got 20 laps. On the Thursday before the meeting he got 4 sessions in the wet but come qualifying it had dried. He was 2nd in class but that did not bother him and he went on to win both events.
David was lucky enough to run in the UK FF Winter series with Kevin Mills racing in a 2006 Duratec car courtesy of Van Diemen. As I had started on another project involving David for 2007 I decided to take a back seat and did not go to any of the winter series events. David did well and took pole and won the first round, which is a tremendous achievement. He had the ability to win his second championship of the season but a bad move by another competitor in the third race of the series resulted in a non finish which put paid to any chance of winning the championship.
David has impressed me all year. John Kyle and I have invested substantially in a project for him in 2007. It is a big step but one that I feel he can take. We have purchased a car, leased an engine and done a test but there are still some problems with the infrastructure that will have to be resolved. Money will be tight but we are working on it. I, and some others, have put in a huge amount of work on the project, including drafting a plan, persuading sponsors to come on board, making equipment, rearranging the workshop, building a trailer to get it about short term, so it is safe to say that we are seriously committed to backing the boy. Lets hope it all comes together with David other wise some young driver will have to be drafted in and boy will he have won a watch.
Look out for the big launch !!!!!!!!