Earlier this week we said that that Nissan needed a new, quirky way of advertising its 2011 Nissan Leaf that didn’t involve making household gadgets run on gasoline or relying on trained polar bears.
Nissan can’t have heard us.
Instead of a quirky new ad campaign, Nissan is attempting to set a new world record for climbing the famous Goodwood Hill in an electric car.
The car attempting the record is a standard 2011 Nissan Leaf production model (not the Leaf Nismo RC race car concept Nissan unveiled earlier this year at the New York Auto Show, although that car will make its U.K. debut at the event).
But Tsugio Matsuda, the Japanese race driver responsible for putting the Nismo RC through its paces this spring won’t be sitting behind the wheel. For this particular challenge, Nissan is handing over its race-ready car to stunt driver Terry Grant.
Holder of various stunt world records, Grant is known for his ability to change a car tire on the move, and his parallel parking wizardry, but at next weekend’s iconic Goodwood Festival of Speed Grant will be taking a backwards glance at the track ahead.
The record attempt is an obvious publicity stunt, designed to highlight Nissan’s 2011 Leaf and Nismo RC.
But we can forgive Nissan. With past Goodwood Hillclimb contestants like the Tesla Roadster outperforming the Nismo RC in every way, Nissan’s concept sports car would have looked a little slow.
Taking the hill-climb backwards also has the unique side effect of illustrating that without a conventional gearbox, electric vehicles are technically capable of going as fast backwards as they can forwards.
Nissan Juke to attempt record two-wheeled run up Goodwood Hill
Outside of the Goodwood Hill Climb circuit, don’t expect to see reverse racing take off as a new form of electric motorsport though. And as production electric cars have their rear-speed artificially restricted for safety, don’t think you can pull a similar stunt in your own electric car.
The backwards hill-climb record won’t be the only time you’ll see a Nissan attempt the Goodwood hill-climb backwards next weekend either. Terry Grant will also be attempting the course on two wheels - in a 2011 Nissan Juke.