Exclusive | McMurtry’s record-breaker Max Chilton: “It literally put us on the map”

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Photo Credits: Pit Debrief

The Goodwood Festival of Speed brings motorsport fans from all over the world to celebrate together in Chichester. The busiest areas during this past weekend’s event were the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team assembly area, anything with Sebastian Vettel in the vicinity of it and McLaren F1 Team’s paddock long display stand. However, another area experiencing regular footfall was the McMurtry Automotive stand and the team’s driver Max Chilton spoke to Pit Debrief about the difference a year makes.


Back in June 2022, the McMurtry Spéirling hit the headlines. The team’s electric single-seat prototype fan car powered car (driven by Max Chilton) completed the historic 1.16 mile Hill Climb at Goodwood in a blistering 39.08s. In doing so, this meant the McMurtry Spéirling comprehensively beat the official shootout record of 41.6s from Nick Heidfeld which had been set back in 1999 in a McLaren MP4/13 F1. It even beat the unofficial outright record from Roman Dumas in the VW ID.R of 39.9s which was set in 2019. McMurtry Automotive had arrived and was now on the cover of every motorsport publication – and even broadsheets – the next day. Pit Debrief asked record-breaking driver Max Chilton, whether he and the company had anticipated such a response.


“No. So, McMurtry turned from a sort of company into a brand that day, it literally put us on the map. I think the company’s Instagram went from 3000 to 50,000 or 40,000 in a matter of days so it really did go wild.


“Obviously, it’s a 23-year record so you know it’s a big occasion for such a small brand people hadn’t heard of. It was an amazing moment it was a great moment in my career as well. So, it was great to see so many people back this year to see us. We’re not in the time trial but we’ll put on a nice show,” stated Chilton.


The fact that so many people had come to Goodwood and made a specific point of visiting the McMurtry Automotive area goes to show that the company which aims to ‘invent, engineer and develop electric vehicles to challenge conventions surrounding the automotive industry’ is achieving what it set out to. However, it could all have been so different had they not recorded the record-breaking time. The man that fell on, Max Chilton, explained to Pit Debrief the mental side of such a challenge. 


“It was really difficult. I’d missed the Saturday because of a wedding so going out on the Sunday there was a lot of pressure. The team said ‘you’re going to break the record, we’re going to break the record’. I was like ‘that’s a big ask’. So, then I had to then do it.” explained Chilton.

“It was amazing, it made it all worth it, if the morning was probably the most stressful morning of my life then the afternoon was probably one of the best. So, yeah that’s the way life goes and yeah I wouldn’t have changed it for the world,”

The record-breaking crowd in attendance at Goodwood – with the majority wearing F1 memorabilia largely head to toe – shows once again that the sport is in a peak moment.


“Formula One at the end of the day is the peak of motorsport and it elevates everything. So, it’s just more people getting into it – a younger audience. But every year, Goodwood for 30 years has grown so it’s just great to see a sport we all love and enjoy growing and I’ve been a part of it. I’m now not a driver as such, I don’t race anymore professionally apart from driving for these guys, but I still love the sport,” concluded Chilton.


For many, Max Chilton will first be thought of as a former F1 racing driver having made his debut for Marussia F1 Team back in 2013. Recording 35 F1 race starts is no mean feat but on occasion what a driver does after F1 can even eclipse anything they achieved in the pinnacle of motorsport – this is certainly the case for Chilton. A point evidenced by the fact that in the moments after our interview he was back posing for photos and signing photos of the McMurtry Spéirling and the crowd – much like the admirers of McMurtry Automotive – was only getting larger.