Motorsport has always been the driving force in automotive innovation, although it has also proven to be paradoxically resistant to new forms of propulsion. By jump-starting a one-make electric vehicle (EV) race series, U.K.-based Westfield Sportscars, Ltd. hopes to push EV racing into the mainstream. To ensure the EVs are not just potent but also attractive, Westfield is sponsoring a design competition that will award the winning design a pre-production prototype display at Autosport International 2009, one of the U.K.’s biggest car shows.

The EVs that will form the basis of the world-first single-make electric race series are quite impressive - 0-60mph times are under five seconds and battery capacity is sufficient to allow a fifteen-lap club-race format. The cars will weigh in under 600kg total, and are based on a chassis developed by Westfield (their Lotus Seven-inspired Sport is pictured), Delta Motorsport and Birmingham City University’s Technology Innovation Centre (TIC). The design competition will determine what the skin that encases the chassis will look like.

The rather obviously named Electric Race Car series has yet to receive a start date, but with the competition starting January 10th at Autosport International 2008 and the design winner being announced at the following year’s convention, expect the 2010 race season to be an early target.