Ever heard of the McMurtry Spéirling single-seater electric fan car? If not, that changes today as the wild-looking electric racer has broken both the official and unofficial hillclimb records at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
UK-based McMurtry Automotive has made motorsport history by setting a new all-time hillclimb record at Goodwood on Sunday and winning the event on its competition debut. Driven by former Formula One driver Max Chilton, the tiny EV completed the 1.16-mile (1.86-kilometer) course in a blistering 39.08 seconds, beating fierce competition in Sunday Shootout in front of 150,000 spectators.
The Spéirling broke both the previous official shootout record of 41.6 seconds, set by Nick Heidfeld in 1999 in the McLaren MP4/13 F1, and the unofficial outright record of 39.3 seconds set by Romain Dumas in 2019 in the all-electric Volkswagen ID.R.
Remarkably, the McMurtry Spéirling is the first fan car to compete in officially sanctioned motorsport since the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix; by winning the event, the EV maintained the 100% win rate for fan cars spanning 4 decades.
Gallery: McMurtry Spéirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed
The small car—it's only 3.5 meters (137.8 inches) long, 1.7 m (66.9 in) wide, and 1.1 m (43.3 in) tall—is capable of sprinting from zero to 60 mph (96 km/h) in under 1.5 seconds and reaching a top speed of 150 mph (241 km/h), capped due to hillclimb gearbox selection. What's more, the Spéirling sports 2,000 kilograms (4,409 pounds) of instant downforce, more than what a Formula 1 car is capable of generating at speeds up to 150 mph (241 km/h), but with significantly less drag.
"I’ve been coming to Goodwood since I was 4 years of age. After witnessing the Nick Heidfeld official record: Did I ever think I would be the one to beat that? No. Taking this record is the most memorable of my racing career."
Max Chilton, lead development driver
Compared to the demonstrator car that made its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last year, the McMurtry Spéirling record-breaking car went through an intensive program of prototyping and testing. A lot of time was dedicated to the unique fan-powered downforce system, which enables it to generate more than double its own weight in downforce. Unlike conventional vehicles, the Spéirling's downforce is available at all speeds as it does not rely on airflow over the car.
If you haven't hit play already, the video at the top of this page shows the electric fan car's record run up the hill. Don't miss it because it's truly spectacular.