Motorsport is now a tough business with big budgets and expectations to match.
But it can also be a family operation and in Scotland we need to look no further than the Knockhill Race Circuit near Dunfermline in Fife.
At its head is CEO Derek Butcher, the former motorbike racer responsible for building it up over the past 35 years since he took over the basic track from a local farmer.
The day-to-day running is now in the hands of a managing director, his daughter Jillian, who also has quite a reputation behind the wheel of some pretty fast machinery.
But it doesn’t end there. Husband Gordon Shedden is commercial manager and brother Rory Butcher heads up the events operation but both are involved in driver experience days, giving first-hand guidance to customers who want the thrill and training in handling a high- performance car.
That’s when they’re both not hurtling at a great rate of knots around racetracks in the UK and further afield around the world.
Three-times British Touring Car Champion Gordon (or “Flash” as he’s known in the business) is taking two years out to compete in the 10-round World Touring Cars at the wheel of a fearsomely fast Audi RS3 which has already taken him to Morocco, the Nurburgring in Germany and Slovakia and will see him finish the year in the final three rounds in China, Japan and Macau.
However, 31-year-old Rory is still learning the ropes following in Gordon’s tyre tracks in the BTCC after being thrown in at the deep end last year to replace another driver injured in a serious crash midway through the championship.
“That was a huge learning curve,” he said when I spoke to them both ahead of the upcoming Knockhill round of the BTCC on August 26.
“I was thrown into my apprenticeship and, to make it worse, my first race was here at Knockhill so there was huge pressure on me especially as I’d had hardly any front-wheel-drive race experience.”
It paid off though and he secured a drive for this year’s championship with the AMD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team at the wheel of the two-litre turbo MG6 GT debuted by veteran driver Jason Plato six years earlier.
The season has not been without its troubles but he has scored valuable points and is positive about building on his experience and securing a drive with the team again next year.
He’s been getting valuable mentoring from Flash, who is happy to pass on guidance.
“I’ve been keeping an eye on him but it’s not just about the driving,” he said.
“It’s fine when you’re on the podium and the champagne is being sprayed but motorsport can be a lonely existence.
“I can be his sounding board and it’s important to keep up his confidence especially when things aren’t going well.”
He doesn’t give away all his secrets though.
“We were actually competing against each other for the latter part of last season, and although we were at different levels I told him then not to get in my way and spoil my chances of winning the championship.
“Besides, I might be back in the BTCC before long so I don’t tell him everything,” he said.
When they have time they both take regular sessions as instructors at Knockhill giving customers racetrack experience under their watchful eyes.
In the past, customers would jump at the chance of having Gordon as their instructor. Are people now asking for rising star Rory?
“I’d be delighted if they asked for him,” said 39-year-old Gordon. “With us both now having a high profile in motorsport, it all helps to promote Knockhill.”
Driving for the Belgian-based AudiSport Leopard Lukoil Racing Team, Gordon’s races are given worldwide coverage on Eurosport but the competition is intense.
“I knew the BTCC inside-out but with the World Series every circuit is new to me, and most of the other drivers and teams have been involved for a long time.
“We’re a new team and there are all sorts of things I never thought about, like language. My team all speak very good English, but occasionally there’s some confusion about technical terms.”
So what’s it like having your sister or your wife as your boss in working life at Knockhill, especially as she was no mean racer in her time?
They were both in agreement. “Jillian’s the boss” they said in unison.
Rory was a bit more forthcoming.
“She doesn’t hold back but you know where you are with her and she’s always been there for me,” he said.
Jillian follows Gordon to the circuits when time allows and will be heading to the Far East with him for the final rounds.
Rory’s wife Joy does the same to see him in action along with new arrival, seven-month-old Parker, travelling to the circuits around the UK, occasionally borrowing Gordon’s motorhome.
So how does he fancy his chances on home ground when the BTCC circus arrives in Fife?
“I’ve grown up racing around here but it’s different when you’re at the wheel of a Touring car in a race,” Rory said.
“I actually haven’t been round this track for about a year since the BTCC was last here.”
He’ll be feeling the pressure of performing in front of a home crowd but can be sure of wholehearted support from all the family and the enthusiastic Scottish motorsport fans.