This week Steve had reason to dust off his tuxedo, catches up with the creator of a track-only EV racer, and makes plans to expand his motoring fleet.
Few things in life lift your spirits like motorsport success, even when it’s other people’s. I was flattered to be invited to Motorsport UK’s Night of Champions in central London to see 2021’s winners receive their gongs; and the spectacular big-screen video of great competitors in action, even in low-key disciplines like production car trialling, made the initially unwelcome act of exhuming my dinner jacket from the wardrobe seem entirely worthwhile. And that was before counting the ambience and sumptuous hospitality.
I sat on a hacks’ table between commentators Jenny Gow and Louise Goodman, whose trackside tales provided yet more entertainment. Note to self: do more motorsport.
The news that ex-Formula 1 driver Max Chilton has joined McMurtry, the tiny performance-EV start-up based near me in Gloucestershire, set me wondering how things were going with Spéirling, the outrageous single-seat, track-only fan car that it revealed at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last year and has been testing ever since.
Inspired by billionaire industrialist Sir David McMurtry, the project aims to show by efficiency as much as speed the potential of high-performance EVs in racing and eventually on the road. So I rang managing director Tom Yates, a four-year veteran of the project, for a chat.
Yates reckons Chilton has joined at just the right time: he showed me a video clip of the new chief test driver pulling 2g-plus through a couple of Castle Combe bends with the downforce fans “just starting to work nicely”. It’s pretty clear that the Spéirling will soon demolish the lap record.
The team have much to do before they’re ready to sell a planned handful of track-only cars (potential owners are standing in line) and several more to hit their next target of launching a special, focused and very expensive road car. But the potential is dazzling.