Gordon Murray, a South African-born British designer of Formula One racing cars, is most recognized as the man behind the McLaren F1 road car, the one-time fastest car on the road, which debuted in 1992.
Now, Murray has unveiled the T.50, considered the “spiritual successor” to the McLaren F1. Yet don’t expect a throwback. According to Gordon Murray Automotive, the supercar was inspired by Murray’s 50 years at the top of Formula One engineering and design. Murray, who studied mechanical engineering at Natal Technical College, was named an Honorary Professor in 2002 and awarded an honorary doctorate in 2011 from this same institution.
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The new car shuns hybridization, dual-clutch transmissions and turbocharging in favor of developing a “true driving machine.” The T.50 is expected to deliver 650bhp and 450Nm of maximum torque. The T.50, which will weigh just 980kg, will feature a mid-mounted mini-V12 Cosworth engine that will produce up to 12,100rpm. Lighter than the upcoming Aston Martin Valkyrie, the T.50 will be the lightest car of its type ever manufactured.
Additionally, the T.50 will include a rear-wheel-drive layout, a central driving position and an H-pattern gearbox. The T.50 also features the same, three-seat format that Murray designed for the F1, allowing the driver to enjoy a central ‘jet-fighter-style’ driving position. The new car will advance the F1’s state-of-the-art aerodynamics by managing the underbody airflow with a 400mm fan at the rear.
Despite current trends in electrification, even for sports cars, don’t expect the T.50 to ditch its traditional petrol engine. “Just about the most ridiculous thing you could do at present is make an electric supercar,” Murray told Autocar. “With batteries in their current state, you’d end up with something that weighed two tonnes, would go well in a straight line for a while, but wouldn’t corner because of the weight, and wouldn’t have much range.”
The first T.50 models are expected to hit the market in 2022. The Gordon Murray Automotive production line, which is located in Surrey, will produce just 100 models, which will be priced at roughly £2.5 million a pop. “If we made 300 we could make them 800 grand, but I don’t want to make 300, because I don’t want to be a car company,” Murray told Top Gear Magazine. “I just want to make a few very special cars for people who want to own a piece of engineering and art.”
The T.50 supercar will be the first car manufactured by Gordon Murray Automotive, which was founded in November 2017. Aside from its own vehicles, the company will produce exclusive vehicles for external customers. Gordon Murray Automotive works with Gordon Murray Design, a groundbreaking design and engineering company that was established in 2007. The company is considered one of the finest automotive design teams in the world, delivering complete car concepts for development and production.