It was at the 2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed that British firm McMurtry debuted the Speirling, a tiny (it’s just 126 inches long) but powerful electric track car that does away with drag-inducing aerodynamic features in favor of a fan-powered ground effect system generating loads of downforce. We’re talking the ability to generate more than 4,400 pounds (up from 1,100 pounds previously) of downforce at a standstill.
But does it actually deliver on the track? The answer is a resounding yes as we discovered at this past weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in the U.K., where McMurtry took part in the event’s Sunday Shootout hill climb, taking not only the win but also the record.
With former Formula 1 driver Max Chilton, currently head development driver for the Speirling, behind the wheel, the downsized Batmobile rocketed up the hill in just 39.08 seconds. The previous record for the 1.16-mile hill climb that winds its way around the grounds of Goodwood House was the 39.9 seconds set in 2019 by Romain Dumas, behind the wheel of the 670-hp Volkswagen ID.R time attack special. Considering how short the track is, the gap between the two times is nothing short of amazing.
What makes the Speirling, devised as a technology demonstrator, so quick is a combination of high horsepower, low weight, low drag, and of course incredible downforce, with the latter being more than what an F1 car produces up to 150 mph. The powertrain consists of a pair of electric motors driving the rear wheels, and powering those motors is a 60-kilowatt-hour battery.
McMurtry hasn’t said how powerful the Speirling is but claims the car has approximately one horsepower for every 2.2 pounds of weight. The weight of the car is claimed to be less than 2,200 pounds.
Performance claims include a 0-60 mph time of less than 1.5 seconds and a top speed of 150 mph, the latter being capped due to the transmission setup McMurtry used for the hill climb. Normally the top speed is over 200 mph.
“The largely constant downforce is an innovative feature to exploit as a driver,” Chilton said ahead of the run. “It’s very different compared to what I’m used to driving in F1 and IndyCar, and testing this year has required me to adapt my driving style to maximize performance.”
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