In 1982, Westfield began as the dream of Chris Smith, who created a replica of his favorite automobile, the Lotus XI Le Mans. His astonishing success snowed him under a barrage of enthusiasm from admirers begging for his craftsmanship. After nearly 30 years, Westfield has sold over 10,000 cars to automotive aficionados across the globe.
The Westfield iRACER, vaguely reminiscent of the Lotus 7, is designed by Elliot Hawkins, a graduate of the renowned Royal College of Art. The iRACER looks like a Formula One speed demon, replete with dual downforce inducing wings. Hawkin’s handiwork is well appreciated. Julian Turner, Westfield’s Managing Director, said: “The look is bold, and 99% representative of the final production vehicle.” The iRACER was developed in partnership with Potenza Technology, Delta Motorsport, RDM Automotive and Coventry University.
Spandex is not normally associated with automotive racing, but Westfield disagrees. The iRACER is encased in a polyurethane copolymer membrane, of which Westfield is quite proud. “The use of materials such as fabrics … has major benefits for racing," says Paul Faithfull, iRACER project manager. The sheath is attached to an aluminum frame. Squatting beside the vehicle are four racing tires covered by “spats” – full wheel covers – to improve aerodynamics.
But the iRACER’s most impressive attribute is that which it lacks – an ICE (internal combustion engine). The iRACER is an EV – for that, it makes no apologies. Each wheel is equipped with a direct drive 40kW YASA electric motor. Both motors are capable of a whopping net 737 lb-feet of torque. Power comes from a 440-lb pack of lithium ion phosphate batteries, strategically positioned to balance the vehicle’s 600-kg weight. At race speed, the batteries are good for 50-60 miles and can be recharged in two hours with a phase three generator. EV may mean: “Extreme Velocity” – the iRACER rockets to 60-mph in sub-five seconds and is electronically limited at 110-mph.
Westfield plans to compete with the iRACER at the 2011 EV World Cup. Faithfull declares, “We are excited by the prospect of racing against other electric vehicles at circuits across Europe and beyond.”
Mr. Faithfull, so is everyone else.