If you haven’t heard of the record-breaking news to come out of this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, where have you been? On Sunday, ex-Formula One driver Max Chilton rocketed up the Goodwood Hillclimb in just 39.08 seconds behind the wheel of the McMurtry Speirling. This saw him smash the previous record by 0.8 seconds, which was set by the Volkswagen ID R in 2019. It's mad enough that the single-seater's run (see it here) looks like it's being played in fast-forward. It's madder still that the car is now set be produced in road-legal form...
Aside from looking a bit like a miniature Batmobile, the McMurtry Speirling gets its colossal cornering speed from vacuum technology. A pair of fans mounted in its rear spin to drastically cut air pressure underneath the car and generate 2000kg of downforce, from a standstill… This is more than an F1 car produces at 150mph. Combine that with an electric powertrain that gives the car an output of 1,014hp per tonne (just 250hp/tonne shy today's hybrid F1 cars), and the ingredients are all there for a very fast run up the Duke of Richmond's driveway.
It's also a pretty spectacular base for a road car to be born from, and according to Autocar, that's exactly what's going to happen next. Admittedly, McMurtry managing director Thomas Yates said it will cost “seven figures”, with only a handful being built. And you’ll only be able to use the revolutionary fans on track days. But McMurtry is keen to keep the road car as true to the record-breaking track car as possible. For example, it will get the same powertrain and 60kWh battery – the car can go from 0-62mph in just 2 seconds.
If we put this crazy performance to one side, McMurtry still has to do the sensible stuff to make this car road legal. The company will need to add boring but essential features like windscreen wipers and headlights, while also tweaking the aero pieces to make sure they're pedestrian-safety-friendly. If you doubt that's possible, just know that you can already register your interest with McMurtry. Its intentions are very clear - and we can't help but feel rather proud. After all, this is a remarkable piece of British engineering, capable of pushing EV performance to an even higher level.
By George Boulton