Cars are getting bigger, more technical, overly complicated and that’s the same case with supercars that are coming out nowadays, they are brilliant but one cannot fathom how close they provide the same driving experience. Gordon Murray has found that to be a problem and decided to make what is known as an “analogue supercar” by means of following the simplicity path of designing a driver-focused supercar. It is called the T.50 and it is light, powerful and aero purposeful.
If you don’t know Gordon Murray, he is responsible for the development of the McLaren F1 and he has 50 years of experience in automotive design, including in Formula One Racing. The McLaren F1 is famous for holding the record of the fastest production car for a near 13 years before being dethroned but it still remains the fastest naturally aspirated production car in the world to this day. By just looking at the T.50, you can tell that the design is heavily inspired by the McLaren F1 as it is deemed the “spiritual successor”. The Gordon Murray Design company was founded in 2017 and the development of the T.50 began in 2019 and it’s only recently on the 4th of August 2020 whereby the car was unveiled to the public. The highlights of this car are the engine and the aerodynamics which take it to a whole new level of engineering possibilities.
Gordon Murray turned to Cosworth and asked them to make a powerful engine for the T.50. They did just that but with specs that you would expect him to prefer and because he is the Father of the McLaren F1, he wanted it to be a high-revving naturally aspirated V12 engine with the displacement set at 3.9-litre and in addition, it has an integrated 48-Volt starter generator to fill in power gaps. The total power output is 650 hp (484 kW) and 450 Nm of torque. The enticing part about this engine is that it can rev up to 12 100 rpm and the manner in how fast it can reach that rev limit which is 0.3 seconds from idle, that’s incredibly insane.
The power will be shifted on a 6-speed manual transmission, that’s right, a manual gearbox still exists in 2020 and this is one of the few modern supercars with manual transmission and you’ll be happy to shift the H-pattern gear knob while sitting on the central interior seat just like in the McLaren F1. The transmission was designed in conjunction with Xtrac and is said to have ditched a flywheel which sounds a bit uncanny but there is a good reason for that because this means that less fuel will be required to spin the flywheel and this cancellation contributes to weight reduction which is basically the whole idea of this supercar.
The major component that contributes to the aerodynamics of the T.50 is the 400 mm fan that acts as a vacuum to suck the car onto the ground, improving underbody airflow which in simple terms improves downforce. The idea is taken from Gordon Murray’s oldest creation in Formula One, the Brabham BT46B F1 car which had a fan on the back and skirts on the side to seal the underbody but the T.50 doesn’t need side skirts as technological advancements allow it to achieve the same principle of downforce while maintaining a clean look. There are two flaps that act as active wings to generate downforce and are also used as air brakes.
The body is made mostly out of carbon fibre with elements of aluminium used here and there to keep the weight of the car as low as possible and that meant also using a carbon monocoque. That is an absolute advantage because the power-to-weight ratio sits at 663 hp per ton and to put that into perspective, that is more than a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport or a Ferrari LaFerrari. The weight of the car is crucial and making that a priority reaps excellent performance. They installed carbon-ceramic brakes and something the McLaren F1 did not have, ABS (anti-lock braking system).
Gordon Murray has stated that the T.50 is meant to be the best engineered car on the planet and it’s expected to offer the best possible driving experience. He also added that he doesn’t care about the 0-100 figures because he knows that it will be blindly fast, however, he was keen to share the theoretical top speed of 365 km/h which is what you need these days to call that car a supercar or even a hypercar.
Looking at the specs and the hype it has received on the internet, there is no doubt that this will be the best car humanity has received in a very long time. Only 100 units are expected to be built and deliveries will proceed from early 2022 with a price tag of £2 million (R46 Million). Question is, will any of the units come to SA? Since Gordon Murray was born in South Africa, it could be a possibility of such a thing happening but I cannot predict that guess on such a basis. The car’s engine is currently undergoing final testing and will be ready in time for the test mule runs that will happen in September 2020 all the way till March 2021.
Source: Gordon Murray Design Press Release