Rob Loaring is one of the most versatile and accomplished engineers in European drag racing. Working as I.C.E. Automotive from premises at Silverstone, he has won six UK Pro Modified Championships as crew chief or tuner, created a highly respected engine building business, fostered the introduction of new class regulations into the sport in the UK and built and run some of the sport’s best performing and spectacular race cars.
He was in his late teens, when he first ventured to Santa Pod with the Draper Brothers, carrying out minor roles on their first few cars. He then acquired a dragster from them which became his grounding as a crew chief and tuner.
In the mid-eighties Rob made the momentous decision to work in drag racing for a living. The name I.C.E. Automotive was coined as it was a suitable length to place on his customers’ hood scoops and fenders. The initials stand for Internal Combustion Engine. Pro Modified had just started by 1988 and Rob had an opportunity to work with Tim Cook on his ’56 Chevy and, later, a smaller ’55 Chevy, The class technology was growing quickly, albeit solely with nitrous engines, and the pair won winning the championship in 1990 and 1991. Rob then joined with Tony Rose for two years, who ran the first six second pass by a European doorslammer in July 1993. Subsequently, they both took the 1994 Pro Mod Championship. A further collaboration, with Dave Mingay in 1995, gave Rob his fourth Pro Mod title.
Rob teamed up with current business partner Nick Davies in 1997, the pair winning the Championship in 1999 and 2000 with Nick driving. He drew up plans for a heads-up doorslammer class which would be more affordable and yet be highly competitive – Super Modified. The class was an instant hit and fields of eight cars were common during its ten year reign.
And during recent years, he has developed turbo engines for Pro Mod and Street Eliminator and built the iconic Havoc Altered, which he and Nick raced memorably against the legendary US Fuel Altered Pure Hell at Santa Pod Raceway’s 2014 Dragstalgia Meet. Rob also turned his attention to Nostalgia Funny Cars and built the superb Apache for Tim Garlick and he found time to help with the recent restoration work on the Allard Chrysler dragster. It is for his continued determination to pursue engineering excellence and influence drag racing’s development in the UK, along with his willingness to help others that Rob Loaring is being inducted into the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
Profile by Simon Groves