Up to speed?
Mike McColl has never gotten a ticket, but he knows speed
BY WAYNE NEWTON
IT MIGHT SURPRISE some people to
discover stock cars are made in London
by a second-generation builder. McColl
Racing is the name, and it’s wellknown
in the Canadian motorsports
The company assembles approximately
20 sports cars a year costing up
to $100,000 per vehicle. Among his customers
is Canada’s well-known stock car
driver, D.J. Kennington of St. Thomas,
for whom McColl has built at least eight
cars including the Dodge Challenger
Kennington races in the highly-competitive
NASCAR Pinty’s series.
McColl’s father, Burt, started the
company in Wheatley as a hobby while
working for Union Gas. Burt’s passion
for racing soon infected Mike and his
two other sons.
It was after working in the electronics
industry that Mike decided to
work for McColl Racing. Eventually,
he took the helm and relocated it first
to St. Thomas. Then fifteen years ago
he brought the business to London.
McColl’s is now on its second London
location, an approximately 12,000-sq.-ft.
space at 80 Bessemer Rd. He has a team
of 14 employees, which includes his two
brothers, together they build and repair
race cars and sell high-performance car
McColl cars are raced on some of
Ontario’s major tracks, but also on the
NASCAR Euro circuit.
While most of its performance parts
are imported from the United States,
completed cars are rarely sold to
American buyers because of the highpriced
McColl Racing’s repair, service, and
retail parts season start in May and ends
in October. New cars, from entry-level
four-cylinder cars which compete at
highway speeds to premiere class beasts
which race at 130 mph at Jukasa, are
built from October to May.
“In the summer, I get to as many
tracks and series as possible,” McColl
said. “We work with crew members,
more as consultants, on setups to get the
most out of the cars.
“I enjoy working with the driver, the
car, the crew to improve the speed.”
During the week, the McColl shop
is lined with cars in need of TLC after
“Most times, the price of repairs is less
than building a new car,” McColl said.
Driver safety features have been the
greatest advancement since he first
started building cars in the 80s, McColl
said. Still, the role of race car driver is
one he’s always wanted to leave to someone
He’s driven one of his cars on a track
once when he did two laps near Ottawa.
“I missed my spot to stop,” McColl
said. “They asked what I thought, and I
said, ‘it was very noisy, very rough, and
it doesn’t stop. The driver said, ‘I’ve been
telling you that.’”
He had a quieter, smoother ride when
he took his 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS
V8 for a spin at Delaware Speedway.
As McColl Racing grew, he recruited
skilled employees from the racing community,
people with a passion for the
Two of his newest staff members have
post-secondary auto courses. Longer
term employees took a different route.
“They have racing backgrounds,”
McColl said of his staff, “either as crew
or drivers. They’re here because of their
passion for and love for racing.”
Building a race car and competing
on the oval has a lot in common
with running a small business.
Success isn’t just about the driver,
despite being the focus. It takes a
team of diverse skills, McColl said
and being willing to take calculated
10 | businesslondon.ca | OCTOBER 2017
PHOTO: GEOFF ROBINS
“Like any well-oiled machine, it all
has to work together to have a successful
race,” McColl said. “Like a