Nissan Leaf sets speed record - backwards
It might not be the fastest car going forwards, but very few cars can get close to it in reverse.
The Nissan Leaf managed to go up the Goodwood Hill Climb at an average of 55 mph. Given that the uphill course includes one 90 degree corner and a couple of other quite tricky ones, that means the Leaf must have been travelling well over 60 mph at times.
We are not sure whether to be more impressed by the car or the driver. The Leaf's direct electric drive means it can go at the same speed in either direction – the motor simply spins the other way. However, one of the other surprising benefits of proper electric cars (not horrors like the G-Wiz), is that they tend to have very strong roadholding. Their heavy battery packs are mounted low down, so their centre-of-gravity is quite a lot lower than a conventional car.
We should also salute the pilot: professional stunt driver Terry Grant. Driving backwards at high speed is extremely difficult, as the fact the steered wheels are now at the back makes the car incredibly twitchy. We tried driving quickly backwards once on a circuit, and the slightest wrong touch would send the car all over the place.
Other Nissans on the course included the race-prepared Nissan Leaf NISMO RC (driving in the correct direction) to set a hillclimb record for electric vehicles, driven by current FIA GT1 world champion Michael Krumm, who also drove his 540hp GT-R GT1 racer up the hill.