Inside Leadfoot Racing
When it comes to building unique and exciting cars, Leadfoot Racing (LFR) are at the top of their game. Run by a pair of confirmed petrol heads, Ed Sadler and Chris Evans, this dynamic duo of automotive engineers are able to turn a customer’s idea into reality. Specialists at developing bespoke turbo systems, LFR have carved out an enviable reputation for their ‘anything goes’ ethos, which means there’s always something exciting in the workshop. Ramair are proud to supply performance filtration products to these guys.
Having started out simply building fast and fun cars for themselves, Ed and Chris began working on friends’ cars. Just over four years ago, they decided to go full time doing the stuff they love – creating quirky, unusual projects that excite them. We’ve known them for years and have always supplied them with our latest products – particularly our universal kits to suit some weird and wonderful fitments. These guys build powerful cars that get used hard, so it’s a great test bed for Ramair filters.
So we decided to spend a day with Ed and Chris to look at some of their current projects and find out what makes LFR tick.Like many of the finest automotive tuners and engineers, LFR are tucked away in the countryside – in this case just outside Amesbury, Wiltshire. It’s a quiet, peaceful place, most of the time, apart from when the latest project is being tested or when the military buzz the farm in one of their £35-million Apache attack helicopters (you can see one photobombing our shot of the black 135i below). Cool.
As we arrive, the workshop is filled with the delicious aroma of bacon and sausage – just what’s needed on this bitterly cold January morning. “Great to see you,” smiles a jovial Ed, “help yourself to breakfast – the coffee is brewing.” Now that’s a proper welcome!
Over a much-needed butty and some strong coffee, Ed and Chris show us around the place. The workshop is crammed full of engineering paraphernalia, from lathes and welding kit for fabricating bespoke bits such as manifolds, to pipe benders for making roll cages and exhausts – these guys can make pretty much anything from scratch. Chris specialises in designing bespoke manifolds for turbo applications such as Harrison’s Honda S2000 that’s in the workshop today. An Integra DC5 is also having its turbo system fully refreshed to LFR spec.
“My way of working is to look at a problem and find a solution, but do it my own way, rather than follow what others may have done,” explains Chris. This allows him to focus on making the turbo set-up the most efficient it can be, rather than having to work with what’s already available. A prime example is the 600+bhp BMW 135i they recently completed.
The N54 twin-turbo set-up has been replaced with a bespoke twin-scroll single-turbo system, but the twist is that Chris has managed to fit a large GTX3584 turbo, but retain the OEM location. It would have been simpler to mount the turbo on top like others have done, but for Chris, that didn’t feel right. “We wanted the engine to look stock, so I had to engineer a way to make it all fit,” says Chris.
Like all of LFR’s creations, the BMW runs a Ramair performance filter, designed for maximum airflow and a sonorous induction sound. And take our word for it – this 600+bhp Beemer sounds incredible, especially when we go for a test drive. The power is relentless, making this humble 1-Series a bit of a sleeper.
It’s this relentless attention to detail and ability to think outside the box that sets LFR apart from many others. However, even though their work is of an extremely high standard, they don’t take themselves too seriously… “We just like having fun, “ says Ed. “Life’s too short to drive something boring, so we like to make cars that are exciting.”
As we wrap up a great day, Ed suggests we round things off by doing a burnout in their E30. So Chris backs the car into the workshop, waits for everyone to prime their iPhones and then dumps the clutch. With a beefy straight-six E46 lump installed (another LFR first), the rear wheels spin up fast and the workshop quickly fills with the unmistakable smell of burning rubber. As a final flourish, Chris lets off the brakes and the retro BMW snakes its way out of the doors and into the yard. Good work sir – a textbook burnout!
The video goes down very well on social media and has even given LFR an idea. “We had such a great response that we’ve decided to launch the LFR Burnout Challenge,” smiles Ed. “We’re inviting people with weird and wonderful cars to come to the workshop and do a 30-second burnout, which we will then judge. We’ll put them all on social media and the best one will receive a prize. Just bear in mind we’re looking for unusual cars, not just stock Clios,” smiles Ed.
We’ll be hooking up with Leadfoot Racing at some great track events this year, kicking off with the Spring Action Day at Castle Combe on 30 March – so why not come and say hi. Just look for the Ramair stand and don’t forget to like LFR on facebook too @leadfoot.racing.lfr and while you’re at it, give Ramair a like @RamairFilters
The LFR cars…
LFR have fitted their own manifold and turbo system to transform Harrison’s Honda into a 500+bhp, big-boosting hooligan. With a set of ultra-light US forged rims, big brakes and a host of chassis upgrades, this is set to be one of the quickest S2000s around and a whole heap of sideways fun.
One of the most striking cars you’ll ever see, this full custom Corrado has been fully built by LFR. Although the diesel engine was already installed, ED and Chris have transformed the rest of it, which includes custom wide body and roll-cage inspired bumpers, to the cut out boot, under-body fuel tank and much more – guaranteed to make the OEM+ crew do a sick on their skinny jeans.
This cheeky little gold Bimmer is a perfect example of what LFR are all about. It isn’t the cleanest car around and isn’t meant to be. But it oozes cool, thanks to its boxy early late 80s, early 90s styling and the fact its running a straight-six lifted from an E46. Lots of custom fabrication was required to make it all work, but it looks like it was meant to go there and offers a potent performance punch.
There are very few of the little wedge-shaped Toyota about and this one came to LFR for a full refresh. Owner Curtis wanted the tired engine rebuilding and a whole host of other issues sorting out. This may not be the most extreme car to roll out of LFR, but it’s still a cool little thing oozing retro goodness.