Lola stalwart David Scotney dies at 61

FLAGS at Huntingdon racing car manufacturer Lola’s Glebe Road headquarters flew at half-mast last week, and employees observed a minute’s silence, as a tribute to long-serving employee David Scotney, who died peacefully at the Royal Marsden hospital in London after a three-year battle against illness. He was 61.

Leading the tributes was Lola owner and executive chairman Martin Birrane, who said: “I got to know David at Le Mans in 1981 when he helped Dorset Racing with a De Cadenet that I was driving. We became firm friends immediately, and he continued to work on and run my various racing cars for many years both before and after my purchase of Lola. I had complete trust in him to provide me with a safe racing car.

“David earned respect as a Lola representative in the pit lanes of the world’s top racing circuits. He fully deserved that respect. He was one of those rare people in motorsport who was an ‘all-rounder’.

“He could build and rebuild a car, an engine and a gearbox and kept himself up to date with the latest electrics and electronics. Dave could do the lot. Nothing seemed to phase him.

“Outside of his family I was the first person who was told about the illness, and I encouraged and supported him throughout his very brave battle.

“David was also a great companion and a raconteur with an impish sense of humour. Above all, he was a true gentleman and a man of integrity.

“He was my friend, and I will miss him, as will all of those who knew him. I send my deepest condolences to his wife Alison, his family and all his many friends.

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David Scotney worked at Lola for the last 34 years, apart from a short stint in 1984 working for John Fitzpatrick Racing in Group C sports cars.

David was born and bred in the Huntingdon area and honed his well-renowned mechanical skills at local garages in the area. In 1978 he joined Lola full-time, working on that year’s successful T500 USAC car that took Al Unser to Indy 500 victory, Lola’s second of three successes at the Brickyard.”

Through the 1980s David was instrumental in overseeing Lola’s Formula 3000 operation and acted as chief mechanic for the works teams throughout this period. He particularly enjoyed his time with the Barcelona F3000 team in 1987 where Luis Perez Sala nearly took the title, said company spokesman Sam Smith.

David also often shared his anecdotes of working with Mark Blundell who drove for Lola between 1987 and 1990 both in International F3000 and with the Nissan Group C project for which David worked in 1989 and 1990.

Enjoying a year in Formula One in 1993 with the BMS Scuderia Italia Lolas, David then went on to work predominantly on Martin Birrane’s vision of re-energising Lola at Le Mans from 1998 onwards.

In total David attended 22 Le Mans 24 Hours from 1979 until 2011. He worked on entries from Dorset Racing, De Cadenet, Ultramar, Nissan, MG Sport as well as overseeing class-winning and podium-placing Lolas from Multimatic, Binnie, RML, Speedy Sebah and Level 5.

David was also passionate about Lola’s history and took an active involvement in the company’s golden anniversary celebrations in 2008. He took great delight in re-acquainting himself with some of the cars that he had originally worked on and also with some of the drivers he knew well, Mr Smith added.

“Devoted husband to Alison, David was an integral part of the Lola team and indeed a significant part of its history. Equally at home tinkering with his impressive collection of classic motorbikes as he was with cutting edge modern racing machinery, David will be very fondly remembered and greatly missed by all his colleagues at Lola, as well as many throughout the racing industry.”