Asphalt-sucking McMurtry hyper fan car sets Goodwood afire
It's been over 40 years, but the fan car is officially back. One year after debuting as a demonstrator, the McMurtry Spéirling became the first fan car to race in sanctioned motorsport since 1978, breaking the 40-second barrier to win this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed and become the fastest car to ever tackle the famed hillclimb. Driver Max Chilton put the unique single-seater's all-electric powertrain and thundering on-demand downforce system to work in beating the still-intimidating Volkswagen ID.R's 2019 mark.
Since debuting the Spéirling at last year's Goodwood Festival of Speed, the McMurtry team has put the prototype through a rigorous testing and development program. During that time, it effectively multiplied available downforce to 2,000 kg (4,440 lb), a figure that's also more than double the diminutive car's weight. Up to its current top speed of 150 mph (241 km/h), the Spéirling develops more downforce than an F1 race car, McMurtry says.
Unlike the ground effects and other aerodynamic trickery that develop downforce from airflow, the downforce achieved via McMurtry's system comes instantaneously from 0 mph and entails only minimal amounts of drag, a combination McMurtry calls the "holy grail of tire grip and energy efficiency." The car uses that holy grail for an insanely quick sub-1.5-second 0-60 mph (96.5-km/h) sprint. It currently tops out at 150 mph only because of the hillclimb-specific gearing – expect future iterations to push that figure northward.
Former F1 and Indy pro Max Chilton joined the McMurtry team as its head development driver earlier this year and has been integral in the shakedown and development process. The company announced two weeks ago its plans to put Chilton behind the wheel at Goodwood's 1.16-mile (1.86-km) hillclimb event, with designs on both a 2022 victory and an overall record time.
Chilton and McMurtry triumphed at Sunday's Goodwood shootout, achieving both goals with a 39.08-second run. That time handily beat Nick Heidfeld's 41.6-second official shootout record from way back in 1999 and Romain Dumas' unofficial qualifying-run record of 39.9 seconds from 2019. Heidfeld set his record in a McLaren MP4/13 F1 car, while Dumas did it behind the wheel of the multi-record-setting Volkswagen ID.R.
"I’ve been coming to Goodwood since I was four years of age," said Chilton. "After witnessing the Nick Heidfeld official record, did I ever think I would be the one to beat that? No. Taking this record is the most memorable of my racing career."
McMurtry says that event marked the first time a fan car competed in an officially sanctioned motorsport event since Niki Lauda drove the infamous Brabham BT46B to victory at the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix.
Inspired by F1 cars from the 1960s, the tiny Spéirling measures just 3.5 m (11.5 ft) long by 1.7 m (5.6 ft) wide by 1.1 m (3.5 ft) high. The sub-1,000-kg (2,200-lb) one-seater puts out 1,000-bhp/tonne using a dual-motor rear electric drive wired up to a 60-kWh battery pack built from P26A cylindrical lithium-ion cells from Taiwan's Molicel. The pack delivers up to 30 minutes of track runtime.
The latest version of the Spéirling also features a carbon monocoque, active ride-height suspension, bespoke 210/640R19 front and 240/640R19 rear tires, and carbon-ceramic disc brakes.
While the Spéirling's thundering 100-decibel fan system and central cockpit are most at home on the track, McMurtry still plans a street-legal version to be customized and hand-built to each buyer's unique specifications. When not being pushed to the max, the 30-minute battery will turn out an estimated 300 miles (483 km) of range on the road.
McMurtry doesn't specify a timeframe for the release of a road car, but it does promise some "radical" performance updates and more record attempts following its Goodwood victory.
Watch Max Chilton glue the Spéirling to the track and achieve Goodwood glory in the video below. It's a great watch and barely longer than the 39.08-second run itself.
Source: McMurtry Automotive
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The Chaparral 2-J by Jim Hall in 1970 was and is still the first active ground effects race car and became the quickest car on a circuit on planet earth back then in CanAm racing circuit when they allowed experimentation but being so quick it was outlawed. Jim all pioneered wings on cars etc.
I don't find any wings on actual automobiles before Jim's racing cars. Land speed rockets or otherwise for straight-line speed tests aren't really the point in automobile evolution.