At the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed, a Nissan Leaf drove backward into the pages of history, setting a world record for fastest car driven over a measured mile in reverse.
Stunt driver Terry Grant broke the record on his first attempt last Friday, then shaved 26 seconds off that time during a run on Saturday. Grant’s best time was 1 minute, 37.02 seconds.
The Goodwood course is about three miles long, so Grant averaged about 55 mph in reverse on the record-setting run.
With its 92 mph top speed and glacial 0 to 60 mph time of 10.0 seconds, the Leaf doesn’t seem like the best choice for any sort of speed record. However, its electric motors made the Nissan EV the perfect car for the job.
“I had a great car at my disposal: with direct drive from the electric motor to its wheels, the Nissan Leaf can, in theory, go as fast backwards as it can forwards,” Grant said. “The only complaint I have is slight neck ache from constantly looking over my shoulder!”
Car companies like to show off their newest models with a run up Goodwood’s hillclimb track, but normally they do it if the nose pointing forward. As part of a social media marketing campaign, Nissan decided to send a Leaf up the hill backwards to claim the world record.
The Leaf’s backwards hill climb may not have the drama of the Audi R8 e-tron’s lap of the Nurburgring, but a record’s a record, right? Nissan decided to play to Leaf’s strengths, and not just with a boring economy run.