T90 1990 – 1996
Darrian development took a major step forward, thanks to the interest of Robin Herd, founder of March Engineering, the largest producer of racing cars in the world.
Robin Herd came down to Wales, with Bill Gwynne, buying two cars which were completed at Bill Gwynne’s workshops. But Robin had some ideas to develop the aerodynamics to improve handling and to keep the tail end down as the car flew over brows.
Tim did a few designs, which he sent to Robin Herd. After studying the drawings, Robin stepped in and helped finance the new tooling, and got his own T9 converted at the same time.
In 1990 Geoff Kitney clinched the Motoring News Championship first with the T9, which by mid-season was replaced by a new T90. In fact 1990 was an incredible year for the Darrian concern. In addition to the Motoring News, Darrians also won the Welsh Tarmac Championship and the South of England Tarmac Championship.
Geoff’s T9 was bought by John Dalton, who went on to emulate Geoff’s success with the car, by winning the Motoring News Championship again in 1993.
Despite the incredible success they were having in the world of rallying, more and more Darrians were finding their way into racing.
It was Roddie Patterson’s performance in his Darrian that drew Tim toward circuit racing. Tim had converted Roddie’s roadgoing T9 to T90 specification and he supported Roddie at several Oulton Park races. The T90 racer performed extremely well producing some promising results in the BARC Lynton Trailers Championship.
Swansea Institute Team Darrian
As a development of the Higher National Diploma in Automotive Engineering, Swansea Institute purchased a Darrian T90. Their aim was to build the skills of their students by racing a car in the Welsh Drivers’ Championship. This they felt was an excellent way to forge a relationship and partnership with Wales’ most successful competition car maker, Darrian. Driving this pioneering course forward was Roger Dowden. The relationship forged between; Roger, Tim and Swansea Institute, cannot be underestimated, and really drove Darrian, as a specialist car maker, forward
During a trip to the 1995 Le Mans with Roger Dowden, Tim thought that it would be worth having a go at the National GT Championship. Spurred on by friend Paul Adams’ encouraging comments and his astute observations, the idea moved apace.
Ken Thomson had purchased a Darrian T90 during the winter of 93/94 and by 1995 had secured the Scottish Sportscar Championship, to become Scottish Racing Champion. Tim contacted Ken and invited him to form a team with Swansea Institute. Both cars were converted to run Millington Diamond engines.
In 1996, with the support of the WDA, the car and the team had developed to such a level that they won the extremely prestigious Privilege Insurance National GT Championship at their first attempt.
The team, SITD, continued to race in the championship until 1999 making technical improvements to the car which would eventually form the foundation of the new Darrian GTR.
The credibility the Darrian Team gained throughout the motorsport industry enabled Swansea Institute to develop the world’s first Motor Sport Engineering degree which currently attracts 150 students from all over the world. For this achievement Swansea Institute was awarded the extremely prestigious ‘Services to Industry’ award by the MIA. at the House of Lords.