Nissan Leaf goes for hillclimb record…in revese

Terry Grant will drive Nissan Leaf up Goodwood Hillclimb in reverse.

Stuct driver Terry Grant practices driving the Nissan Leaf in reverse for a race up Goodwood Hillclimb in reverse.

While the Nissan Leaf set an electric car record time at the 2012 Pikes Peak hillclimb, it now will attempt to set a new electric car record at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (June 29 through July 1), running the famous 1.16-mile Goodwood hillclimb in pursuit of a place in the Guinness Book of Records. But Nissan isn’t going to do it the easy way. They’re going to run it backwards.

Officially, the record Nissan hopes to achieve with the Leaf at Goodwood is “fastest time over a distance of one mile in reverse” and believes the Leaf is well suited for it because an electric car is just as fast in reverse as it is forward. All that is needed is to spin the electric motor the other way, and with no gearing restraints, the Leaf won’t have the limitations of a gasoline engine.

According to Nissan’s UK offices:

“With direct drive from the electric motor to its wheels, the Nissan LEAF going backwards should be able to hit the same top speed it manages going forwards. With its batteries located under the floor of the car, it has a low centre of gravity making the car very stable at speed with little body roll under cornering. And with fewer moving parts than a conventional car, there’s less likelihood of mechanical issues thwarting the attempt.”

Nissan isn’t doing it just to be silly. Well, they are, but it’s part of Nissan’s social media-driven campaign, “The Big Turn On”, which is designed to get the EV message out across Europe. Says Nissan UK, “The campaign aims to prove that as well as being environmentally friendly, the Nissan LEAF is safe, economical to run, practical, and fun to drive.”

Fun, that is, even in reverse.

The driver of the Nissan Leaf Goodwood hillclimb car will be professional stunt driver Terry Grant, who last year drove a Nissan Juke up the hillclimb course on two wheels.

In a statement via Nissan, Grant said, “The LEAF Reverse Record isn’t going to be easy and will be very challenging. I’d prefer to do it on a nice straight and level strip of tarmac rather than on Lord March’s drive. The hill not only climbs, but is also full of twists, turns and obstacles.”

Said Grant, “Whatever happens, I know I’m going to finish the weekend with a serious crick in my neck!”

Nissan Leaf NISMO RC electric competition car

Nissan Leaf NISMO RC electric competition car

On a more serious note, Nissan will be entering an electric car that runs with the driver looking out the front of the car. The Nissan Leaf NISMO RC will be running to set a hill record for electric vehicles. It will be driven by 2011 FIA GT1 Championship winning driver, Michael Krumm, fresh from running Nissan’s innovative DeltaWing endurance racing car at Le Mans.

Nissan will start building the Leaf at Nissan Sunderland Plant along with the Nissan Qashqai, the Nissan Note and the Nissan Juke, beginning in 2013, joining Leaf manufacture that will begin in Tennessee late this year.