The first SEWC Locost, #74 was born somewhen prior to 2006 and is based on a Luego chassis. The car was originally campaigned with some success up until the end of 2008 by its previous owner, Garry Brandon, who having tried his hand with Stock Hatch Racing since we purchased his Locost, has now returned to Locost racing from 2013 with a refurbished car.
Garry built up and developed the car into a capable vehicle and we were lucky enough to purchase this from him in early 2009.
The specification at the time was as follows:
- 1300cc Ford Xflow bored out to +90 thou as per Chapionship Regs
- Ford RS 4 spoke alloys with the Yokohama A539 control tyre
- Standard “book” rollcage
- Mini perspex aeroscreen
- Fibreglass tillet seat
- rear panel mounted fuel tank
- Avo Shocks
- Standard width with 1″ spacers all round
- Standard ratio steering rack
- Standard exhaust from Luego
At the time we purchased #74 we were still enjoying trackdays and the purchase of the car was the first step on the path to go circuit racing. I recall my first trackday in the Locost at Cadwell Park in 2009, where first lap, first session it nearly all ended in tears, or rather, in a barrier. Clearly I had some learning to do as I had been spoilt with 4wd turbo cars before and the masses of grip that comes with them. Rear wheel drive was going to take a little getting used to!
July 2009 saw another trackday, this time with some tuition from Michael Vergers! The day went really well and I learnt a lot about how to read what the car was about to do and how to control it and maintain speed.
I then decided it was about time I actually got on the grid so booked myself in for the ARDS test at Thruxton Race School.
Having completed my ARDS test successfully (see the “Want to Race?” page), it was time to get on track. The first outing for #74 piloted by me was at Castle Combe, Easter Weekend 2010. I was pretty nervous that weekend, having only ever been to one race meeting to spectate and that was the week before! I felt I was jumping in at the deep end!
The qualifying session was interesting as the car in front of me lost one of its rear wheels exiting the pitlane at the start of the session – what had I let myself in for?!?!
However, the races both went well and I finished a respectable 19th in the first race out of 33 and 20th in the second race out of 30 cars. Result!
We then formulated a plan to improve the car as I improved my skills with time in the seat. Out came the standard steering rack for a quick rack as my style means I do like the back end loose and I find it easier to tame the resultant oversteer with a quick rack.
We also decided a change of colour might be in order and set about turning the blue car into a green one.
We continued to improve when it came to the races, finishing 20th out of 32 in both races at Brands Hatch in late April 2010 and 18th in both races at Anglesey in May 2010 on a track I had never been to before with one race in the wet, which was also a new experience.
We continued to develop the car and hone my skills over the remaining rounds of 2010, finishing every race we entered. Results included 15th at Brands Hatch, 19th at Cadwell Park and 25th and 19th at Snetterton. We then set about improving the car over the winter of 2010.
We had 2 new race engines built by Barry Snow of Calbourne Garage on the Isle of Wight, a man who is a local legend for building first class race engines, along with machinist Tony Cole. Once fitted in the car, they went off to Tom Airey in Hampshire for the carbs to be set up. We were very pleased with the results of the two builds, which created 2 very different engines, one with bags of low down torque and a nice wide band of power delivery and a second spare engine which is a right little screamer, revving higher but with a couple of bhp less than the main engine.
The car was then sent off to Procomp Motorsport where fellow racer Matt Gilmour and his father Ivan worked their magic improving the car further and helping to lose weight from the cage by supplying one of their ROPS Certified cages. Other changes have included a full width aero screen, new lightweight bespoke Compomotive CXR alloys in a custom offset and a change over from AVO suspension to the highly rated Protech Suspension as set up by Procomp to their own specification.
We also ditched the tillet seat for a foam-in-bag one, which took a whole day and then some to prepare, pour, mould and finish. It was worth the time and effort though as I now find myself not sliding around under cornering forces and able to concentrate more on feedback from the car than having to hold on tight to the steering wheel.
In 2011 we improved further, finishing Brands with a lap of 58.61, just outside the lap record and a finish in 14th, follwed by 10th in the heat at Cadwell but then being involved in a large first corner pile up with about 9 cars in the final – our first DNF.
Snetterton in May 2011 saw us enter the Allcomers series as a means to ensure the car was running right following the accident at Cadwell where we had to replace a front wishbone and upper ball joint. We completed both Allcomers races finishing 4th in both in the handicap – so close to a trophy!
Then we were off to Donington, a new circuit for us. The highlight of our weekend was a 5th in the 2nd heat and fastest lap as well. We completed both heats and races, finishing 16th and 11th – not bad for a circuit i was still learning.
OCTOBER 2011 – THE END OF AN ERA!
As the race season came to a grand finale with the 2011 Birkett 6 hour Handicap, it was also a fitting end to my time with car #74. Collected from Silverstone by its new owner, Bill Forbes, it is going to a new home where hopefully it will contiune to prove to be an excellent car for someone starting out in motor racing.
Goodbye number 74 – we will miss you!
Welcome, new double championship winning Locost!
This car was purchased from Locost Champion Scott Mittell at the end of the 2011 season and work was quickly underway to transform its look to something I could call my own.
2012 saw a full season get underway in the new car and after a slow start with engine issues at Silverstone, Procomp Motorsport worked their magic to bring the race engine up to power and the reward was a 3rd place at Brands Hatch in the wet.
The rest of the 2012 season saw consistent results with the new Procomp LA Locost proving both fast and reliable. A new engine mid season meant we could push harder knowing we had a spare should the inevitable happen.
Donington saw the new engine run for the first time along with some changes to the ignition and the last round at Snetterton saw another great result with a 3rd place finish and another trophy.
2013 saw the second SEWC car on the grid after driver and builder Ryan Munt completed his home built car over the winter season. A quick trackday at Castle Combe in March saw the teething problems overcome and the car, #21, and Ryan made their first appearance on the grid at Snetterton.
Since 2013 there have been quite a few changes at SEWC. Firstly, the ex Scott Mittell locost as campaigned by Steve was sold to Peter and Jack Coveney. A sabbatical then followed whilst decisions were made about where to head with our motorsport journey.
2017 saw the purchase of a full Procomp LA Locost which had been in storage for around 5 years. This car was the sister car to Ali Garrett’s and had been developed since the first locost championship before being relegated to a life in a dusty garage. Brought out of storage, work commenced to completely strip down and rebuild with new parts and a more modern engine. Finally finished for the middle of the 2018 race season, this 2 litre Ford Zetec retained the live axle and with its twin 45 carbs created around 175bhp. Thruxton was the inaugural race where unfortunately after a great qualifying the car would retire with head gasket issues.
All problems resolved, the Zetec Locost hit the track for the 2018 race season and was very successful racing in the Sports Specials Championship with 750 Motor Club in Class A, as well as competing in sprints and hill climbs.
At the end of 2018, the opportunity arose to purchase another chassis. This one was a one-off designed specifically for circuit work and was fitted with a stage 6 Dunnel Race Engine Zetec producing in excess of 200bhp. Onkly problem was, it had been crashed and needed a new front end as well as a cage that was legal for circuit racing. No doubt the SEWC team set about the task and the SEWC SubZero was born.
Its a bit of a lardy car weighing in at 645kg without the driver, but the handling from the independent rear suspension more than makes up for this. 2019 would see the car run at 10 rounds of the 750MC Sports Specials Champonship in Class A with many top 10 finishes culminating in a 3rd and 4th at a wet Snetterton in October.
At the same time running parallel to the circuit racing, the SubZero was campaigned in the ACSMC Speed Championship and completed in 10 sprints and hillclimbs in the hotly contested Sports Libre Class. 10 Class wins would see the car finish runner up in the overall championship, missing out on championship status by just over 1 point.
The October race at Snetterton saw the car put on the rolling road and it dyno’d at 204.6bhp which relates to 276bhp/tonne with a 95kg driver. Class limit is 340bhp/tonne so 3rd and 4th was quite a result! It didn’t take much thinking to realise that to add a little ballast and run the car in Class B (270bhp/tonne) would be far more beneficial and that is the spec which the car will run in 2020.SEWC Motorsport SubZero 2020 spec Zetec powered Procomp LA Locost as campaigned in 2018