This car’s tech was banned in the F1 for decades – now it could set a new speed record

by | Jun 16, 2022 - 3:02PM | EV

A top down view of the McMurtry Spéirling fan car.

This Batmobile-looking EV racer will take on the famous Goodwood Hillclimb using tech that was banned in Formula 1.

The McMurtry Spéirling uses an electric fan to create more downforce than an F1 car.

Similar fan tech was ‘banned’ in the F1 after a Brabham car driven by Niki Lauda won the first race it entered and sent the paddock into mass hysterics at how quick it was.

That’s the last time a fan car competed in motorsport, back in 1978. Until now.

READ MORE! Your guide to the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2022

Now British EV brand McMurty Automotive has built a fan car – where a fan sucks the vehicle down into the surface of the track to create downforce.

The Spéirling can hit 0-60mph (0-97km/h) in under 1.5 seconds, and it will be using that crazy downforce and speed to storm up the iconic Goodwood Hillclimb.

The McMurty group is confident it can push for a record time, and has former F1 driver Max Chilton and British Hillclimb Championship leader Alex Summers driving the car.

The Goodwood Hillclimb

The Hillclimb is one of the main attractions at the massive Festival of Speed.

The record for the climb was set in 2019 by the Volkswagen ID.R.

Driver Romain Dumas set a time of 39.9 seconds.

The track is 1890 meters (1.1 miles) long and climbs 92.7 meters (304 feet) high. It has an average gradient of 4.9 percent.

The Spéirling will be running in ‘Batch 5’ and the shootout sessions.

More than 200,000 visitors are expected at the Goodwood Festival of Speed over the four days it runs.

How does the Spéirling fan car work?

The fan makes more than double the car’s own weight in downforce.

But what really sets it apart is this downforce is available at all times, not like a normal car that needs speed to create downforce.

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“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,” driver Max Chilton said.

The instant downforce allows the instant torque from the drive motors to be fully deployed – the result is 0-60mph (0-97km/h) in under 1.5 seconds and a top speed of 150mph or 241km/h (which is capped for Goodwood).

The ‘banned’ Brabham’s F1 fan car

The fan car burst onto the racing scene at the Formula 1 Swedish Grand Prix in 1978.

The Brabham BT46B won the race, which was its very first outing.

The car used skirts and fans underneath that worked to create incredible downforce by sucking the car onto the track surface.

Other teams were furious with the design, they were unable to keep up with Lauda’s speed.

Brabham’s boss Bernie Ecclestone withdrew the car from the rest of the F1 calendar after pressure from the Formula One Constructors’ Association.

The Brabham BT46B was only used once, so it’s the only F1 car to have a 100 percent win rate.

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