Max Chilton joins McMurtry as chief development driver


McMurtry Automotive is a UK-based start-up developing a Batmobile-like electric hypercar as a potential racing car and technology demonstrator. Named the Spéirling, the 800V prototype weighs less than a tonne, with a 1hp:1kg power to weight ratio enabled by a 60kWh battery capacity. The low weight is enabled by a full carbon monocoque with integrated battery, carbon crash structures and carbon bodywork, carbon brakes and a lightweight multi-link suspension with active ride-height control. As a package, McMurtry estimates the car can cover 0-300kph in under nine seconds.

Such a vehicle may call for a particularly talented head development driver, which McMurtry has found in the form of Max Chilton, the British ex-Formula 1, IndyCar and Le Mans 24H driver. In his role Chilton will help develop the McMurtry Spéirling at race circuits and testing venues over the coming year and also serve as a senior spokesperson for the company.

Thomas Yates, managing director of McMurtry Automotive said, “I am really pleased to have Max join as a dedicated and leading member of our team, as we now further increase our rate of testing and development. Fresh from six seasons of competition in IndyCar and previously having competed in Formula One, Max will bring a wealth of motorsport and driving experience that will undoubtedly help us to reveal the performance potential of the Spéirling and get us closer to our record-breaking goals.”

Small but potent: the Spéirling’s fan-powered ground-effect system generates “mind-bending performance”

Max Chilton added, “It’s a huge honour to be given the opportunity to become head development driver for McMurtry. The company is really reaching new heights in the performance EV world. The team have spent over four years developing the Spéirling, a car which will really show the world what performance can be achieved with all electric power.

“McMurtry caught my eye last year; their professionalism and ability to invent new solutions is something I have never experienced at this level. I am excited to see what we can achieve in the future, particularly developing a road car, which has always been on my long-term list to achieve. My thanks are with Sir David McMurtry for coming up with this truly amazing project and trusting me with this role.”

The McMurtry Spéirling was unveiled in July 2021 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed where it was driven up the hillclimb by development drivers Derek Bell MBE and Alex Summers.  Since then, the Spéirling has completed a first round of development testing through the winter season. The car will now be in the capable hands of Chilton.

One innovation Chilton will enjoy is the Spéirling’s patented downforce-on-demand system, a fan-powered ground effect system that generates downforce without the need for conventional, drag-inducing aerodynamic wings. The system generates a huge amount of noise, which the company says has been likened to a jet engine. McMurtry sees the system as being key to the Spéirling’s track potential, unlocking “mind-bending performance” without stretching the car’s diminutive proportions (3,200mm long, 1,500mm wide, 1,050mm tall).

You can see the McMurtry Spéirling’s performance at the 2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed hillclimb HERE (3:15 onwards)

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Adam divides his time as an editor between the worlds of aviation and motoring. These worlds may seem a little diverse today, but autonomous technology and future urban mobility is bringing them ever-closer. Adam is also chairman of the Vehicle Dynamics International Awards.

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