McMurtry Automotive enters electric fan car into Goodwood Festival of Speed Hillclimb


The man behind the global manufacturing company Renishaw, who is one of Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs, has turned his attention to electric vehicles, and now the results of his investment will compete at the Goodwood Festival of Speed at the end of this month.

In 2016 Sir David McMurtry, 82, tasked a team of former Formula 1 engineers  to design and build the ultimate high performance car. At Goodwood 2021 the result of this challenge, the McMurtry Spéirling, was revealed to the public. Twelve months later, having conducted an extensive testing programme with former Formula 1 driver Max Chilton, the team will return to Goodwood, this time competing for victory, with aspirations to challenge the outright record too.

The company Sir David founded, McMurtry Automotive, invents, engineers and develops electric vehicles to challenge conventions surrounding the automotive industry.

The secret to the performance of the Spéirling is its ‘clean sheet’ design, according to the company.

Sir David tasked the team with reimagining what a car should look like in the 21st century, starting from first principles rather than following the standard process of evolving what had come before. The result is a fully-electric, compact vehicle designed around the twin goals of driver engagement and vehicle performance. The purpose of the Spéirling is to herald a new era of electric track capability, hasten wider EV development and showcase McMurtry Automotive as EV innovators for road and track cars.

The Spéirling’s unique performance differentiator is its fan powered downforce producing more than double its own weight in downforce which, unlike conventional vehicles, is available at all speeds as it does not rely on airflow over the car.

MaxandMcMurtrySpeirlingThe figures are impressive, says the company, generating more downforce than a Formula 1 car at speeds up to 150mph, with significantly less drag. The instant downforce allows the instant torque from the drive motors to be fully deployed – the result is 0-60mph in under 1.5 seconds and a top speed of 150mph (which is capped due to hillclimb gearbox selection).

These figures, plus the confidence gained from extensive track testing with former Formula 1, Le Mans and IndyCar driver Max Chilton has convinced the team at McMurtry that an outside shot at the record on the Goodwood hillclimb is within reach. The record is currently held by the Volkswagen ID.R, having previously been held by a McLaren Formula 1 car.  Chilton will be supported by current British hillclimb championship leader Alex Summers. Having drivers from different disciplines sharing the car will help push each other and the car to its maximum.

Powering the fully-electric car, the 60 kWh battery pack within the Spéirling is designed and built by McMurtry Automotive using Molicel cells.  The two companies’ technical partnership gives the Spéirling a distinct advantage for power density, delivering impressive acceleration, and for energy density, contributing to over 30 mins of track running range.

More details on the battery will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Max Chilton, Lead Development Driver: “Having previously enjoyed demonstration runs in an F1 car at Goodwood Festival of Speed, this year, I’m looking forward to making my competitive hillclimb debut.  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. ”

“The largely constant downforce is an innovative feature to exploit as a driver.  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 maximise performance.”

[Max will be driving Thursday, Friday and Sunday.  Alex Summers is driving on Saturday.]