RoToR Racing


Some strange goings on....................

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.
Multiple Scottish Formula Ford Champion Tom Brown cutting the first piece of metal for our proposed FF1600.

A snapshot of the chassis showing the ROPS that caused us all the

and a CFD,
(computational fluid dynamics) snapshot showing how it destroys the airflow at the rear of the car.

returning from Estoril Graham had a message asking " is this one of
yours" It was an advert for a hillclimb /sprint car on that well known
website. It was looking rather tired but it was indeed one of ours. It
was a FF2000 car the team had built way back in 1986 for the BBC
grandstand Winter series. That little car has been about over the years
and in our care gave lots of folk a lot of fun. It was sold to pay for
Grahams wedding, a great investment as it turned out, and has had a
couple of owners before becoming lost to us around 1994.

amazing is it that it pops up 31 years after we built it. Also amazing
is how the ROPS sticks out like a sore thumb and confirms how
problematic the rule book suggestions are.  Like nearly all the FF
Rotors we made it has been converted, not by us I may add, to take a
bike engine. There are now three Rotor single seaters out there with
bike engines and two sportscars.

Big Smiles


Bodywork fits. Looks big until you realise the man in the picture is only half the man he used to be.

Still lots to do so I suspect it will be 2018 before it is out on the hills.

Very slow in the workshop at the moment. Lots of distractions to keep the boys occupied elsewhere.

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
Old man with a smile on his face thanks to lots of carbon.

other notable occurrence was that after losing 3 stones Graham decided
that he should turn back time and try to squeeze into a FF1600 car

He fits. Not sure how he got out but even after 44 years sitting in a FF1600 car puts a smile on his face..

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

Trial fit of rear bodywork.

More progress on the new car.

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.

Airbox base and accusump mount.

Trial fit of the floor.

On its wheels at last.

On 4 wheels at last.

to report that we are getting there. The new car is undergoing a test
build before it goes to paint. We are hoping that by doing this we can
iron out any installation issues.   It has been on the scales and the
team are pleased to report it is on schedule to weigh in at 385KG with
the ground effect underbody and full bodywork.

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.

Cockpit cover and engine cover straight from the mould.

Front splitter and nosebox.

next big job is to produce the floor sections. We are going for a
complex design that incorporates venturi tunnels. A lot of work has gone
into this design and we are hopeful that as a result lots of downforce
will be generated. They need to be very strong yet light so we have done
some testing to see what we can come up with.

 Watch this space.

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.

Engine cover mould being made.

team are working hard on the new car. The moulds are well under way and
despite a couple of disasters with some old resin we are getting there.

Simon hard at work applying the gel coat.

also picked up a couple of carbon silencers for the engine. In keeping
with the rest of the car they are very lightweight although we might
need to add some other units to keep the decibels down.


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.