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.
Tommy and Graham at the 1985 FF festival with the Rotor JT3.