This weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Nissan LEAF will attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest time over a distance of one mile, in reverse, by completing the famous 1.16-mile Goodwood hillclimb course backwards.
With direct drive from the electric motor to its wheels, the Nissan LEAF going backwards should be able to hit the same top speed it manages going forwards. With its batteries located under the floor of the car, it has a low center of gravity making the car very stable at speed with little body roll under cornering. And with fewer moving parts than a conventional car, there's less likelihood of mechanical issues thwarting the attempt.
Professional stunt driver Terry Grant will make the attempt, and should have no problems. Terry is the same fellow who, at the 2011 Festival of Speed, climbed a hill course completely on two wheels driving a Nissan Juke (erratic, record setting video below).
"The LEAF Reverse Record isn't going to be easy and will be very challenging," admitted Terry. "I'd prefer to do it on a nice straight and level strip of tarmac rather than on Lord March's drive. The hill not only climbs, but is also full of twists, turns and obstacles. It's a hugely technical test of speed and concentration. But despite the risks, the strength and integrity of Nissan LEAF's design gives me confidence. Whatever happens, I know I'm going to finish the weekend with a serious crick in my neck!"
We are not really sure being able to go 80mph backwards is a selling feature for the LEAF, but any good publicity for electric vehicles can't be all that bad.
Also of interest according to a Nissan press release for the event: One of the other Nissan stars of the FoS weekend will be the dramatic race-prepared Nissan LEAF NISMO RC. It will be racing against the clock, to set a hill record for electric vehicles. It will be driven by 2011 FIA GT1 Championship winning driver, Michael Krumm, who wowed the huge crowd at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours from behind the wheel of the startling Nissan DeltaWing endurance racing car.