Record-setting McMurtry sports car sucks air for speed

by Danielle F. Winter

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It looks like a baby Batmobile and goes like a bat from hell.

Britain’s McMurtry Spéirling track electric car set a blistering new record on the Goodwood Festival of Speed ​​hill climb this weekend by tearing up the 1.16-mile track in 39.08 seconds.

She surpassed the fastest 41.6 seconds set by a McLaren F1 car in 1999 and then 39.90 seconds in 2019, recorded by the VW ID.4 electric prototype.

Record-setting McMurtry sports car sucks air for speed

The electric single-seater was driven by former F1 and IndyCar driver Max Chilton at the annual event, where road and race cars chronicle the entire history of the car racing up the hill one at a time.

The McMurtry Spéirling weighs less than 1,000 kg. (Vince Mignott/MB Media/Getty Images)

The Spéirling is the brainchild of Irish billionaire Sir David McMurtry and is named after the Irish word for thunder.

The carbon fiber car is just over 3 meters long and narrower than an original VW Beetle, with styling that makes it look like a baby version of the Michael Keaton-era Batmobile.

Professional racing driver Max Chilton of Great Britain during the Goodwood Festival Of Speed ​​2022 at the Goodwood Motor Circuit on July 26, 2022, in Chichester, England. (Photo by Vince Mignott/MB Media/Getty Images)

Exact specs have not been shared, but it weighs less than 1,000 kilograms (2,205 pounds) and has an electric drivetrain that delivers at least one horsepower per kg to the rear wheels, allowing it to accelerate to 60 mph in 1.5 seconds.

The secret to its success is a fan-driven system that draws in air from under the car to create a vacuum effect that helps the car stick to the road with less of the drag-producing wings and spoilers commonly used on sports cars.

A fan creates a vacuum under the vehicle. (McMurtry)

The concept was made famous by the Chaparral 2J endurance racing car and the Brabham BT46 Formula One car of the 1970s, which were later banned from competition. McMurtry says the system generates more than twice the vehicle’s weight in downforce even when it’s not moving, as demonstrated by the almost comically fast way it cornered the Goodwood track.

The company says the car can run for 30-60 minutes at race speed between charges of its 60 kWh battery and plans to take it to circuits worldwide to claim as many records as possible before a street-legal version is under development in development. The sale goes.


“It’s never going to be the most comfortable going over speed bumps, but that’s not the point. You have this great, loud, exciting, electric, compact car you know will be the fastest.” [car] on every track day you attend,” director Thomas Yates told Autocar.

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