Driver puts rally car on mechanical 'diet' for rallycross

Since their last rallycross outing at Lydden Hill, Chris Wheeler has stripped more than nine stone out of his Ford Fiesta

Since their last rallycross outing at Lydden Hill, Chris Wheeler has stripped more than nine stone out of his Ford Fiesta in an effort to go faster. - Credit: Sarah Hall

Every pound, not just in cash spent but also weight saved, counts in motorsport, and Torquay driver Chris Wheeler has been tackling a mechanical 'diet' to make his transition from rallying to rallycross a success.

Since registering a couple of third places on his rallycross debut at Lydden Hill, Kent, in May, Chris and his team have ruthlessly 'slimmed down' his 1600cc Ford Fiesta.

"Rallycross cars need to be light as well as powerful, to accelerate quickly, especially off the start-line," he said.

"We began by removing all the glass windows and replacing them with Perspex.

"Then we changed the steel bonnet and the tailgate for lightweight fibreglass, and we also took out the driver's equipment, seat frames and even the map lights.

"In all, we've cut 55KG from the car.  That's more than nine stone, the same as a small man!"

Wheeler, 26, has been racing across many motorsport disciplines over nearly ten years, and he decided to have a crack at rallycross earlier this year, mainly to keep sharp for the next rallying season.

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He added: "Rallycross is a new experience and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

"The people involved are friendly. You get the benefit of driving on tarmac and gravel all in one go, and competing wheel-to-wheel is incredibly exciting."

Next up is a double-header British Rallycross Drivers' Association round at Pembrey, South Wales, this weekend, August 7 and 8.

The aim is to improve on those Lydden Hill results, and Wheeler said: "We are determined to up our game."