Gordon Murray has unveiled his new V12-powered T50 supercar, which has been dubbed the “logical successor” to the iconic McLaren F1 from 1992. We tell you more about it.
Uses a 4.0-litre Cosworth V12 with a whopping 12,100rpm redline.
Limited run of 100 road-going units, followed by 25 track-only versions.
Three-seat layout with central driver’s seat and manual gearbox.
What is the Gordon Murray Automotive T50?
The T50 is a new V12 supercar, which its creator – legendary car designer and engineer, Gordon Murray – calls, “the purest, lightest, most driver-focused supercar ever built”, is an ultra-light, mid-engined, all-carbon-fibre three-seater. It’s dubbed the T50 because it’s Murray’s 50th car design in a career spanning more than half a century.
It uses a refined version of the ground-effect ‘fan car’ technology its designer first introduced to grand-prix racing with the Brabham BT46B for the 1978 Formula 1 season. The T50 will be powered by a new, 663hp naturally aspirated 4.0-litre Cosworth V12 with a 12,100rpm redline. And it gets a manual gearbox.
Like its revered McLaren predecessor, the rear-wheel drive T50 places its driver centrally in the cabin, as in a jet fighter. It foregoes door mirrors for cameras to avoid adding to its 1.85m body width, so it should feel highly manoeuvrable in tight turns.
What does the T50 supercar look like?
The T50 was styled entirely in-house, with Gordon Murray himself the leader of the tiny design team. There are obvious references in its shape to the F1 — such as the compact size, the arrowhead front panel, the roof-mounted air scoop, the dihedral doors and the use of ‘ticket windows’ in the side glass — but strenuous efforts were made to make it look even more petite than its forebear.
There’s a major contrast between the graceful front end of the T50 and the extreme functionality of its rear end, which features large exhausts, business-like mesh for engine bay cooling, a giant underbody diffuser and a 400mm fan. The fan is driven by a 48V electrical system and its job is to develop downforce by rapidly accelerating the flow of air under the car. Murray says this “rewrites the rule book for road-car aerodynamics”.
The fan, the diffuser and a pair of dynamic aerofoils on the body’s upper trailing edge combine to develop far more downforce than any natural system could, and therefore develop levels of cornering grip hitherto unknown in supercars.
What’s known about the T50’s aerodynamic modes?
There are six aerodynamic modes. Two of them, Auto and Braking, work automatically, depending on the car’s speed and the driver’s input. The others — High Downforce, Vmax, Streamline and Test — are selectable from the cockpit.
High Downforce is self-explanatory, while Streamline and Vmax are similar in that the former configures the aerodynamics with a “virtual long tail” by running the fan at full speed and retracting the active flaps on the top and bottom surfaces. Vmax runs the V12’s crank-mounted 30hp integrated starter-generator flat out to contribute extra power in three-minute bursts. At speeds of above 241kph, the roof-mounted induction air scoop boosts maximum engine output to around 710hp.
How practical is the T50 supercar?
Impressive interior space is another theme of the T50. Its cabin is even roomier than that of the F1 (not to mention all modern rivals) and access to the centre seat is easier, because the floor is now flat. The analogue switchgear and instrumentation – very much designed in jet fighter style – are relatively simple but crafted to Swiss-watch quality.
The two side-mounted luggage compartments are as roomy as those of the F1 but can now also be top-loaded. Murray may be selling a £2m-plus (Rs 19.60 crore, before taxes and duties) collector’s car, but he’s determined that it will be usable day to day.
Gordon Murray T50: What’s under the skin?
The T50 is said to weigh just 986kg at the kerb – about two-thirds of the weight of what Murray insists on calling “an average supercar”. Keeping control of weight isn’t just about using exotic materials, he said; it’s a state of mind. The design team held weekly meetings about it. The T50’s carbon-fibre tub chassis weighs less than 150kg with all panels. Every individual nut, bolt, bracket and fastener — about 900 of them — was individually assessed for weight-saving.
The transversely mounted six-speed manual gearbox, supplied by Xtrac and designed with a new thin-wall casting technique, is 10kg lighter than the already-featherweight ’box used by the F1. The Cosworth V12, meanwhile, saves another 60kg over the F1’s BMW-derived engine and much more compared with that of a Ferrari. Even the carbon-fibre driver’s seat weighs only 7kg, and it’s 3kg for each passenger seat.
Why take such trouble? Because a heavy car can never deliver the benefits of a light one, said Murray. The lightness and the 663hp potential of the new V12 give the T50 a power-to-weight ratio that most conventional supercars could only match with a power output of close to 963hp. Originally claimed to be 3,890cc, the engine is now confirmed to be 3,994cc in capacity.
How exclusive is the T50 supercar?
Just 100 road-going T50s will be built, each at a cost of £2.36 million (Rs 23.12 crore before taxes and duties) before local taxes. Most have already been snapped up by global car connoisseurs, notably in the US and Japan, each of whom has paid a £600,000 (Rs 5.88 crore approx.) deposit for the privilege. A further £750,000 (Rs 7.35 crore) is due when their car is specified in detail, with the balance settled upon delivery.
Who will build the T50 and where?
The T50 will be built entirely by Gordon Murray Automotive, the bespoke company Murray launched to stand beside his existing design business when he revealed his plans for this car back in 2017. The T50 will be built at the Surrey factory in the UK where manufacturing will start late next year. Deliveries are due to begin early in 2022.
When will the T50 deliveries begin?
The first T50 is scheduled to reach its owner in January 2022, and the entire batch will be completed within the same year. After road car production ends, there will be a run of 25 hardcore, track-only editions. Murray says he would love to see the car race, but is reluctant to commit to a programme at present, because he wants to concentrate on the road-going version and because sports car and GT race regulations beyond 2022 are still far from certain.
Gordon Murray T50 image gallery