A Race Car Is Born
It’s hard to drive sports cars on normal roads the way they’re meant to be driven. It’s also illegal. So, I’ve always been attracted to the idea of building a kit car that is road legal but, with a little bit of modification, could be thrashed about a race track, piloted up a hill climb or spun around an autotest.
The Westfield is just one of many cars that have copied the incredibly popular Lotus Seven design and layout. To be honest, I’m not sure how they have all got away with it ! It is a great little car. Pretty simple to build and lunatic when you let it of the leash.
I started with it as a road car. Then had a go with it on an autotest. Compared to the modified minis that specialise in this event, it was total pants. It loved the hill climb a bit too much. The doubled-up throttle return springs, that I had to fit to pass scrutineering, locked together when I floored it at the start. Bit ironic! I only knew about it when I braked for the first corner and shot off the road. Ooops.
The car was a total joy on a very informal track day but it came in to its own when I entered one leg of the official Westfield race series. It meant trailering the car to Croix en Ternois in Northern France. What a brilliant weekend. I qualified last on the grid. No surprise there. But, I had the good sense to ask the bloke in pole position how he thought I should approach the start. He said he was pretty confident there would be a pile up of some sort at the first corner because no one really knew the circuit and everyone would over cook it and leave their braking too late. He went on. “Hang around at the back and wait to see what happens. You may be lucky’. So, that’s what I did. And, I was, very lucky. The aforementioned pile up ensued leaving a gap for me to overtake the entire field on the inside. Suddenly, I was in the lead. I kept looking in my mirrors and all I could see were cars weaving about trying to get past. I felt like a rabbit must feel being chased by a pack of hungry dogs. Note: Rabbits may not have wing mirrors but with eyes on the sides of their head they have good rearward visibility. But, it didn’t last long. On the final corner on to the start-finish straight I did a rather stylish 180 and had a front row seat as the entire field came at and past me !