The Sunday Shootout at the Goodwood Festival of Speed has become one of the weekend’s biggest draws, with some of the world’s fastest road and race cars attempting to get up the Duke of Richmond’s 1.16-mile drive as fast as possible. It’s become such a big deal for manufacturers, that VW entered a retuned ID.R into the timed runs in 2019 - and wiped the floor with everyone, clocking 39.9 seconds. But for 2022’s FOS, a British EV start up is aiming to beat it…
The McMurtry Automotive Speirling may not be a car you know of yet, but it’s nothing if not innovative. And distinctive - it really is as tiny as it looks, like a Hot Wheels prototype racer. It’s an EV, powered McMurtry’s own 60kWh battery pack (more powertrain details are coming at Goodwood), but that’s not the exciting bit. The exciting bit is that the Speirling is a fan car, and its entry into the timed shootout is the first occasion a fan car has been in official competition since Niki Lauda won the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix in the Brabham BT46B.
Like the infamous Brabham, the McMurtry uses a fan to dramatically increase downforce; 2,000kg is claimed, and that’s from 0mph. Don’t ask us how that’s possible, because we don’t know. With the promise of a 0-60mph time that’s “under 1.5 seconds” thanks to 1,000hp per tonnne, you can see why Sir David McMurtry’s team of former F1 engineers are confident about their chances. The Goodwood hill probably looks like a proper race track in something as small as the Speirling, too.
McMurtry’s project began in 2016, with the aim to design and build the “ultimate high performance car”, without compromise or concession; it was designed “around the twin goals of driver engagement and vehicle performance”, which sound like great building blocks for any car.
The Speirling that’s come out, says McMurtry, aims to “herald a new era of track capability, hasten wider EV development and showcase McMurtry Automotive as EV innovators for road and track cars.” With the shootout as big a deal as it is, a record-breaking run would undoubtedly ensure a lot of attention for the tiny EV.
Max Chilton, who has been lead development driver for McMurtry, will be responsible for the attempt. In fact, it’ll be his first competitive run: “The challenge now is to translate confidence and speed from testing on conventional circuits onto Goodwood’s tight, undulating hillclimb course. We will have limited practice runs and an audience of hundreds of thousands, so it’s a demanding yet great opportunity to show the current pace of this car on the world stage.” Looks like it’ll be well worth hanging around until Sunday afternoon, then - can the VW’s incredible time be beaten?
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