Video: Why Racing Legend Sir Stirling Moss Loves His Renault Twizy Electric Runabout

Used to pushing cars to their absolute limits on race tracks around the world, professional racing drivers are known for being rather particular about the vehicles they drive on and off the track.

In his heyday, Sir Stirling Moss was no stranger to rear-wheel drive, responsive cars.

In his heyday, Sir Stirling Moss was no stranger to rear-wheel drive, responsive cars.

While you’d be forgiven for thinking most race car drivers, given unlimited funds, would pick the most powerful road-going car they could for as their daily driver, it turns out that they’re just like the rest of us, making their choices based on a car’s specifications, practicality, running costs and of course, driving experience.

After all, at the end of the day, even race car drivers need a vehicle that suits their budget and their lifestyle.

Sir Stirling Moss' car is in British Racing Green.

Sir Stirling Moss’ car is in British Racing Green.

And so it is that Sir Stirling Moss — one of Britain’s most cherished racing drivers — uses the tiny two-seat all-electric Renault Twizy as his daily runabout.

Sir Moss, who won the 1955 Mille Miglia and 16 Grand Prix races in his long and esteemed career (but sadly never won a Formula 1 World Championship) hung up his racing gloves a long time ago. But at the sprightly age of eighty-five, he’s still willing and able to show younger, less experienced drivers a thing or two.

As the cute two-minute video above shows, the limited-speed electric vehicle has everything that the racing legend needs.

“I’m Stirling Moss. I drove 108 different racing cars in my career,” Sir Moss says in the video. “And now I have just one. I live in London, and traffic is so bad and that’s why it’s nice to have the [Renault] Twizy because it’s electric.”

Powered at the rear wheels by a tiny 13 kilowatt electric motor and 6.1 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack mounted beneath its tandem seats, Sir Moss’ Twizy is furnished in British Racing Green and bears his personalised license plate  7 SM. With a top speed of just 52 mph, the two-seat runabout won’t win any stoplight races, but having spent some considerable time in the Twizy ourselves, we can attest to its fantastic roadholding and ability to tackle most urban corners at or near the legal speed limit.

Like racing cars of yore, the Renault Twizy isn’t exactly big on creature comforts. Aside from the direct and responsive, unassisted steering and independent suspension  — which we’re sure is one of the reasons Sir Moss is such a fan — there’s a four-point seatbelt for the driver, a hand-operated emergency brake, and little else.

The 2-minute video even shows Sir Moss having some overtaking fun.

The 2-minute video even shows Sir Moss having some overtaking fun.

The suspension, while a little brutal on big city-centre potholes, was designed in conjunction with Renault’s Formula 1 race team. Meanwhile, the position of the wheels themselves — outboard of the Twizy’s body — ensure you can flatten out any curve with ease, the car’s narrow width and instant response letting you take the kind of lines that only a motorcyclist would dare on the public highway.

Like other electric cars in London, the Renault Twizy is exempt from congestion charge, meaning Sir Moss can come and go through London’s central congestion charging zone without paying a hefty fee every time.

And while we’re glad to see Renault count such a motoring legend among its customers, we do note that Sir Stirling’s ride isn’t completely stock. As far as we can tell — in addition to the racing green paint and numberplate — a decent radio mounted under the dash and a pair of aftermarket windows ensure that the former racing driver is afforded at least some protection from the noises and smells of London’s West End.


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