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Last October the MSA issued the 'Hybrid & Electric Cars: Guidance for organizers of Speed events'. This document outlines the MSA safety requirements at such events and is to be welcomed. Before this, EV sprint racing in the UK was effectively uncontrolled and potentially dangerous. EVs permitted to race are either series production vehicles or Formula E cars. Other EVs including mine, must be individually approved by the MSA. To support this process I must produce a technical reference document detailing the cars high voltage electrical and battery safety systems and also prepare suitable risk assessments. I will submit the car and its documentation to the MSA for approval as soon as I can. Preparing the car and it's documentation is the easy bit - relatively. Each event organizer must also have written approval from the MSA to permit EV racing. The MSA guidance covers the provision of risk assessments, battery fire fighting equipment, separate and marshaled charging and quarantine areas, EV safety training for marshals and electric vehicle safety processes in general. Persuading event organizers to satisfy these requirements just to allow one car to compete will be a challenge. However, I have had expressions of support from across the racing fraternity and with the help and good will of the MSA and the WSCC, I hope at least one event will accept an entry from me this year - in July perhaps.
Well it happened - I raced my electric Westfield in a proper, MSA approved, sprint race. Although other electric cars have appeared at various race events, I think that this might have been the first time in the UK that an electric car has officially competed in an approved series. It's thank's to the WSCC that I've been able to do this. The car is one of seven cars developed 3 years ago. It has a 120KW motor (that's about 130bhp at the wheels), one gear and weighs 900Kg !!! The motor generates about 300 ft lb from zero speed - even so, being geared to do 115mph with no gearbox means she's slow of the line. Power rises from zero to 120KW at 50mph - after that is a constant 120KW up to 110mph. Without a power band as such and no gear changing means the power sensation is more like thrust. Although not fast by Westfield standards, the car was still faster than some of the other cars - not a bad start particularly as both me and the car had never been on the track before. So, now I have to sort out the suspension (too soft), put the car on a diet, boost the power and find some talent - normal racing problems I guess. Cheers John