British boutique maker, Westfield Sportcars, has revealed its latest venture into the world of green motorsport with a unique electric vehicle (EV) roadster it plans to use as the centerpiece of a new one-make series due to commence in 2011. Dubbed the iRacer, the car was displayed at Geneva in a form Westfield's Managing Director Julian Turner says is "99 percent representative of the final production vehicle". Beyond its EV pedigree, the iRacer's brings a new dimension to construction techniques, expanding its bodywork build beyond composites and aluminum, to include recyclable plastics and a unique stretched lycra skin over an aluminum framework that claims to offer a safe, lightweight, low-cost, easily reconfigurable and aerodynamically efficient envelope.
While taking the iRacer from a shop dream to the circuit represents no small leap of faith, Westfield has engaged a number of notable partners in the undertaking. They include Potenza Technology, Delta Motorsport, RDM Automotive and Coventry University, using funding from the Advantage Niche Vehicle Program which is managed by Cenex, Center of Excellence in Low carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies. The iRAcer is powered by twin Oxford YASA electric motors that produce the equivalent of 200 peak horsepower but a claimed 738 lb.-ft. of torque. Driving the rear wheels directly to eliminate the need for a transmission and prop shafts, the motors are energized by a pack of 11 48V sealed lithium-ion phosphate battery cells that will give the 1,323-lb. cars a 0-60 mph time of less than five seconds. They'll be capable of running a minimum of 55 miles at race speeds that will be electronically limited to 110 mph before requiring a two-hour recharge.
Westfield is currently running operational trials on the iRacer to improve the torque-vectoring capabilities of its controller system. It also plans to run further wind tunnel testing to tweak the iRacer's bodywork as well as create a suitably racy noise-generation system to add a bit more aural excitement to the mix.