Formula Ford racer through London

Why such pain? Well, you know all those lightweights billed as ‘race cars for the road': Ariel Atoms, KTM X-Bows, Caterhams, Radicals? While hardly comfortable for a cross-Europe commute, they are at least designed to be bearable for longer than, say, 10 minutes. The Formula Ford is not. This isn't a race car for the road: this is a race car upgraded by precisely the minimum required to achieve road legality and absolutely no more. Horn, indicators, bumpers, delicate light pods, vicious sequential gearbox.

No windscreen, no luggage compartment, no padding. Not even a seat. Before I strapped into the FF at Ford's Dunton skunkworks in deepest Essex an hour or two back, it sported a comfy cushion to protect the driver's ar*e from its harsh spaceframe tubing. But, as a tactful Ford engineer pointed out, this padding was designed around the slimline buttocks of slimline racing drivers and that, with it in place, the waist belts wouldn't actually fit around my more capacious frame.