January 31, 2023

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McMurtry Automotive Speirling to get a road-legal version

Talk about betting on yourself. Irish businessman Sir David McMurtry backed McMurtry Automotive in 2016 after asking a group of ex-motorsports engineers to come up with a clean-sheet electric car with the “twin goals of driver engagement and vehicle performance.” The team created the McMurtry Speirling, a diminutive battery-electric single-seater fan car. A 60-kwH Molicell battery powers multiple motors providing well beyond 1,000 horsepower, and powers a fan system that sucks the car to the road, providing more than 4,000 pounds of downforce from a standstill. The upstarts went to the Goodwood Festival of Speed and broke the hillclimb record held by the Volkswagen ID.R. since 2019, covering the 1.6-mile run 0.8 second faster than the VW. Now they’ve told Autocar a roadgoing version is on the way, and they already have a working prototype.

McMurtry Automotive managing director Thomas Yates said, “We want to provide something that you can drive through the center of London, and then take onto a track.” The road version will be slightly different than the track-only model that raced through Goodwood grounds. It will likely be slightly slower, too, sacrificing ultimate aero for requirements like headlights and taillights, windshield wipers, and front and rear license plates.

It will still be plenty hardcore, however, a brochure for the car advertising rush to 60 miles per hour in under 2 seconds, 2,000 kilograms of downforce available from standstill and 2,250 kg available at 150 miles per hour, and a peak cornering force of 3G. McMurtry still hasn’t given detailed specs on motor count and output, but the track car’s power-to-weight is claimed to be 1,000 horsepower per metric ton (2,240 pounds). The road car will weigh under 2,240 pounds and have a range of 300 miles on the European cycle.

The fan will only be usable in Track Mode, which we wouldn’t be surprised to find geofenced to known tracks. Not only does it make 120dB of noise at full spin, the dust it sucks up from the road gets ejected out the rear vents — behavior that isn’t friendly to other road users or pedestrians on the High Street. Once taken to a circuit, though, Yates says, “You have this unbelievable, loud, exciting, electric, really compact car that you know will be the fastest [car] at any track day you attend.” The battery can handle from 30 to 60 minutes of flat-out charging before needing a charge.

The firm already has a second act in mind, too — a car smaller than the dinky Speirling (which means “thunderstorm” in Gaelic). The Speirling measures 138 inches long, 67 inches wide, and 43.3 inches high. Compared to a 2022 Mazda Miata, that’s 16 inches shorter, an inch narrower, and nearly six inches lower. Yates told Autocar the company is dedicated to single-seaters for now, the target for the Speirling being “something that was in no way wasteful, had no redundant space, and nothing was wasted, just a phenomenal, compact, lightweight driving experience.” The next model will eliminate even more “redundant space.”

The Speirling road car will cost seven figures in pounds sterling, meaning at least $1.22 million U.S. at current exchange rates, when it debuts. Those interested can register for updates at the McMurtry site.