• WILTSHIRE COLLEGE Motorsport engineering students rebuild racing car
• Owner managed project while on military service in Afghanistan
• Latest in a series of motorsport youth projects
• ‘Christians In Motorsport’ outreach and education program
RAF Officer John Clayton’s award-winning Fletcher Hornet racing car is benefitting from the skills of Wiltshire College’s students, based at Castle Combe circuit near Chippenham. Several groups of students have been compiling their course portfolio by completely re-building the car over the last 18 months and thereby bringing themselves several steps closer to their dream of becoming fully-qualified motorsport engineers.
Iain McGrory, a former RAF aircraft engineer, has recently taken over as the team leader. Iain bravely survived a stroke that left him partially paralysed and led to the end of his automotive business but he is now forging ahead in a new direction with the aid of Wiltshire College. He signed up for a degree course in Motor Sport Design and, on leaving his first tutorial, tripped over the wheel of a racing car. When he pulled himself up he read on the side of it “Christians in Motorsport”, which grabbed his attention as Iain and his wife Sarah are joint founders of the radical outreach organization ‘Diverse Ministries for Christ’. John, 33 from Oxford, said “Iain is an expert engineer and we have both served in the RAF so are on the same wavelength. Coupled with our shared faith, I am really chuffed to have his help on the project”.
Iain follows in the footsteps of other talented students who have worked on the car over the last 18 months, under the expert mentoring of Haydn Earl and other college staff. John said “the likes of Tim Coulson, Mark Griffiths and Joe Vuagniaux who have shown the high calibre of engineer the College is turning out. I served 7 months in Afghanistan while they were working on the car and we had to liaise daily about technical issues with the build and its components over email and phone. At that time we had never even met and doing it from the other side of the world was a real challenge -but a welcome break from the routine in Kandahar for me.”
The link with the college comes after John’s similar involvement in the past with other educational projects. “I’m committed to helping Learning Grid (LG) develop the next generation of engineers”, he said. “They have an excellent range of programs to help teachers, pupils and the industry. It has been very rewarding to work with the National College for Motorsport, Lunar Racing, Shrewsbury College and Skidz in the past. The UK is still at the cutting edge of the industry but this is continually under threat from abroad -LG are working to ensure Britain is still at the forefront in the future.”
“I’ve been lucky enough to be mentored by people in the industry such as the GT driver for “Road & Track Ferrari”, and endurance racer Paul Searle of AquAid. Now I can do the same for Wilts college pupils, and they will even get to drive the car on track to see the fruits of their labours when it’s finished! The ‘Christians In Motorsport’ (CiM) group puts a high priority on its support to youth projects such as this and the Scripture Union holiday ‘The Track’”
CIM founder-member John Clayton, an RAF Officer from Oxford, is delighted with the partnership:“The car, which won the prestigious Kitcar show ‘converted car of the year’ award, has made an interesting project because it is built from scratch and unique. Engineering challenges overcome by the students have included modifying the chassis to accept the BGH gearbox, and the combustion chemistry when Flashlube is used in a high-revving race engine.”