You could soon brave McDonald’s in McMurtry’s electric fan car
McMurtry Automotive—the firm behind the little-know Spéirling electric car that shattered the course record at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed—has confirmed that a road-legal version “that you can drive through the center of London, then take on to a track,” will go into production.
A tiny, single-seat EV employing a fan to press it into the tarmac, the Spéirling, driven by former F1 and IndyCar racer Max Chilton, broke the Sussex venue’s Timed Shootout record that had stood for 23 years, managing a time of 39.08 seconds.
A flight principle developed to infamy in F1, “ground effect” trickled into motorsports in the late ’70s with the Lotus 78 and 79, each of which used underbody contouring (specifically venturi tunnels) to suck them to the track. Gordon Murray went a step further with the Brabham BT46B. He leveraged ground effect with active, not simply passive tech, equipping the Alfa-powered Brabham with a fan mounted below its giant rear wing. Ostensibly, it was designed to cool the engine, but the exponential improvements in downforce meant that the BT46B upset the balance of competition. After Niki Lauda outstripped the competition with Murray’s design in the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix, fan tech was swiftly banned.
Outside of organized competition, the innovative gearheads at McMurtry have a few more options.
Speaking to Autocar, the company admitted that the production Spéirling (named after the Irish Gaelic for “thunderstorm”) would be slower than its Goodwood-going counterpart to satisfy road-going regulations.
The new car will be no slouch, however: with a “seven-figure” price tag confirmed by managing director Thomas Yates, the Spéirling will save its fan-generated ground-effect for the track.
McMurtry is taking statements of interest online and has a published a brochure stating that the Spéirling will have a 300-mile range, weigh less than 2200 pounds, and generate 2.2 tons of downforce when stationary. (It still hasn’t released horsepower or torque figures.)
Yates says: “We want to provide something that you can drive through the center of London, and then take onto a track. It will never be the most comfortable over speed bumps, but that’s not really the point. The point is you have this unbelievable, loud, exciting, electric really compact car that you know will be the fastest at any track day you attend.”