2017 works Spectrum 015 FF driven by Jayden Ojeda (Borland)

Australia’s ‘Auto Action’ magazine has an ‘Under The Skin’ section of its online publication which analyses the design and engineering of racing cars in some detail, its worth keeping an eye on…

 A short while ago AA interviewed Mike Borland about his latest Formula Ford design, the Spectrum 015, the article is also of interest in relation to the general health of FF in Australia.

All Australian enthusiasts will be well aware of Mike’s facility in Melbourne’s Braeside, down by Port Phillip Bay on the cities southern outskirts. Mind you, Borland Racing Developments have had plenty of success in the UK, the US and New Zealand with both Formula Ford and Ford 2000, the latter in the ‘States. So Spectrum are hardly an unknown marque globally these days.

Mike is the nephew of Brian Shead, designer, builder and racer of the very successful series of Cheetah racing cars so the desire to build cars was almost a natural part of his growing up process. Borland’s business originally prepared and ran ANF2 cars for customers in 1984 but soon morphed into construction of FF and F Vee racers. By the time I first met him in 1996 he was on the cusp of national FF success, Jason Bargwanna placed 2nd in the ’96 Australian FF Championship in a Spectrum 05C with Adam Macrow and Christian, son of Alan, Jones taking first and second in the 1998 championship aboard the 06 model.

In 2006 a Spectrum 011 raced to victory at Brands Hatch and more recently the company has had ongoing success in both Formula Ford and Ford 2000 in the US in addition to its position as market leader in Australia. Historic racers know the business for its restoration work and project engineering skills recently deployed on programs like Chris Lambden’s ‘Thunder 5000’, the prospective Australian National Formula 1 category/car.

Salutory is that Borlands have outlived all of the well known racing single-seater and sportscar marques of Australia with the exception of Elfin- and there is little doubt Mike will achieve that in the coming years. Mind you, at eighty Bob Britton is still working, Rennmax Engineering lives on, that business was started in the early sixties or perhaps even a little earlier. Bob Britton and Mike Borland, we salute you!

Australia does of course have vast engineering resources devoted to ‘Taxis’- V8 Supercars and Sports-Sedans to a lesser extent, and its great that large numbers of people can make a living out of the sport/business. But it is galling how small the engineering aspects of the purist end of the sport are, perhaps a global trend given the proliferation of one-make categories these days.

Click here for the Spectrum 015 Ford Duratec FF article;


Slinky, sexy, cost-effective and fast Spectrum 014 Ford 2000 160bhp car at Phillip Island in March 2017 running in the ‘Trophy’ class amongst an F3 field, Paul Zsidy up (Borland)

Postscript: On racing car production numbers in Australia…

I am not suggesting above that Elfin exists as a going concern still building racing cars, but rather that Elfin in its various guises inclusive of the Garrie Cooper period had a longer life than Borlands so far. Michael has eclipsed the lifespan and production numbers of Asp, Birrana, Bolwell, Bowin, Cheetah, Elwyn, Farrell, Hardman, Hustler, JMW, Kaditcha, Malmark-Elfin, Matich, Richards, Shrike, Spectre, Turnham, Welsor, Wren.

There are many others but these are constructors who have built five’ish cars or more off the top of my head. I dips me hat to anyone who can make a living out of building racing cars over time. I’ve been in small and medium sized businesses all of my working life and know just how hard it is- I can think of few markets more difficult than racecar manufacture in which to make a dollar!

Borland Racing Developments…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s