Over an exceptional four-day event, the biggest highlight of this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed was the breaking of the outright record up the hill climb. Max Chilton, a former Formula 1 and IndyCar driver, drove the McMurtry Spéirling up the 1.16-mile hill climb in 39.081 seconds.
The Spéirling is an electric monster purpose-built to destroy track records. The car has a fan-powered active downforce system that can generate over 4,400 pounds of downforce, even at a standstill. The Spéirling weighs just under a ton and has nearly 1,000 horsepower, allowing the vehicle to go from 0 to 300 km/h (186.4 mph) in nine seconds.
The record run is astonishing to watch as the tiny machine hurtles up the narrow ribbon of pavement. There’s next to no deceleration as the Spéirling rounds the hill climb’s haybale-lined corners. The crowd gasps in amazement as the fan car blasts past each viewing area. With each camera cut, the Spéirling gets faster and faster until it blows across the finish line carrying a considerable amount of speed.
The previous outright record of 39.9 seconds was unofficially set by the electric Volkswagen ID.R in 2019, with two-time Le Mans winner Romain Dumas behind the wheel. The record was unofficial because Dumas set the time during a Saturday qualifying run, not on Sunday during a run in the shootout proper.
Nick Heidfeld set the previous official record of 41.6 seconds in a 1998 McLaren MP4/13 during the 1999 Festival of Speed. Even though Heidfield’s run was official, the record still somewhat carried as an asterisk because Formula One cars can no longer make timed competitive runs up the hill climb for safety reasons. Watching Heidfeld’s run, it’s visibly apparent how much more cornering speed the McMurtry Spéirling has over the late ‘90s F1 car.