As famous drivers and equally famous cars can always be found driving in the Goodwood Festival of Speed’s hill climb, the event is easily one of the most glamorous shows we get to see all year. With rare vintage cars, some of the world’s fastest production cars and more than a few modern race cars all taking on the hill, the competition couldn’t be fiercer. As such, winning a record at Goodwood grants you certain bragging rights. Nissan is looking to capture two such records this year, but with two cars you probably wouldn’t expect.
Although you’d expect the GT-R to be the car of choice for snagging a record at Goodwood, Nissan chose the path less traveled – and more daring. The automaker will attempt to take the record for fastest car up the hill -- backwards -- with its electric Leaf, and also attempt to become the fastest to tackle the course on two wheels in a Nissan Juke.
Both cars will be driven by Terry Grant, whose experience as a professional stunt driver should come in handy. To train for the two record attempts, Grant will perform the stunts every day leading up to the main event.
“I’ve experienced Goodwood before but never attempted to set a new record,” said Grant. “To have the chance to grab not only one but two records at the same event will hopefully provide everyone with a very entertaining spectacle.”
Watching a gasoline-powered car go up the hill backwards probably wouldn’t be as exciting, as the reverse gear in a conventional transmission typically only allows for low-speed travel. But once certain electronic nannies are disabled, the Leaf’s drivetrain is capable of accelerating the car in reverse just as fast as it can going forward – up to a theoretical 90 mph. This should make the task more entertaining for audiences, and could ensure that Nissan holds the record for a few years if Grant succeeds.
The second stunt involves the Juke attacking the hill with just two of its four wheels on the ground. Although there’s nothing particularly special about the Juke that will help it accomplish this feat – with the possible exception of its relatively small size – Grant’s stunt driving experience might be enough to earn Nissan a record for the fastest four-wheeled car to complete the course on two wheels.
In addition to the two record attempts, Nissan will have a few other cars on hand at Goodwood. The Nissan Leaf Nismo RC will make its UK debut, fresh from its demonstration lap at Le Mans two weeks ago. Team Sumo Power GT’s Nissan GT-R will also tackle the hill in a demonstration run. The GT1-class car will celebrate its second consecutive win of the RAC tourist trophy at Silverstone Circuit in the FIA GT1 championship, and will make its Goodwood debut at this year’s festival.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed begins July 1 and runs through July 3 in West Sussex, England.