Gordon Murray, the automotive designer behind the legendary and mighty McLaren F1 which held the world record in the 1990s for the world’s fastest car with a top speed of 242 mph; beaten over a decade later by the heavyweight Bugatti Veyron. Launched the top speed war amongst some of the world’s exotic, lucrative and most expensive automotive manufacturers. Gordon Murray is also a legend in the racing world of Formula One, where he is the designer of the racing cars used within the race series. Quite the reputation, and a high one at that, so when we heard that he, along with a small team, had designed and developed their own car. We knew that this was going to be something extraordinary and spectacular.
How right we were, its called the T50, a successor to the McLaren F1 and it completely rewrites the rule book for what road cars should be. Gordon Murray himself said that the T50 is “the purest, lightest, most driver-focused supercar ever built”. It is comprised entirely out of carbon fibre, and follows along the bloodline of the F1 with a three-seat layout, mid-engined design and called the T50 to celebrate Gordon Murray’s 50th car design and craftsmanship in the industry.
The futuristic design and engineering used in the manufacturing of the T50 were first witnessed in the 1978 Formula One season, the Brabham BT46B was a unique racing car that incorporated a ‘fan car’ design, which the new T50 also shares, albeit, a refined version of the similar system. Primarily it works by having a massive 400mm fan stuck to the back of the car, powered by a 48-volt electrical system and its sole purpose is to develop downforce by rapidly accelerating the flow of air beneath the vehicle. The fan, working in tandem, with the diffusor and a set of dynamic aerofoils found on the T50’s upper trailing edges are combined to develop a greater increase in downforce than any other rival contender currently on the market. As such, the possibilities of producing cornering grip is greatly enhanced and possibly unlike anything ever experienced in standard supercars and hypercars. As Murray says the T50 “rewrites the rule book for road car aerodynamics”, and I can see why and how. It harnesses technology from the late 70s and modernises it by integrating into road cars, the racing world, in particular, Formula 1 gives us a tease and portal-like view of what the future of road cars will be; and 42 years later we are seeing this very thing occurring.
The heart of the beast is a Cosworth tuned 650bhp naturally aspirated V12 with a redline of 12,100rpm. They are built entirely in house at the Gordon Murray Automotive factory by a small team of engineers, with only 100 road-going T50s being constructed. Each T50 will cost £2.8 million with most already having been acquired and grasped the world’s elite and exotic collectors. The first model is set to reach its first owner around January 2022, and after all of the road going versions have been produced and sold there will be a further 25 hardcore, track-focused T50s further developed. Which I suspect will cost a fraction more than the standard road-going versions, and be armed with even more power and downforce potential.
The interior is just as exquisite, following its roots of the McLaren F1 the driver’s seat is also found slap-bang in the middle. Giving the driver that racing car feels being centrally positioned, giving a clear view of the road ahead and achieving perfect apex cornering. Other than just seating, the T50 gives obvious hints and references to its similarity with the F1; such as its compact, aerodynamic size, the arrowhead-shaped front panel, roof-mounted air scoop, the dihedral doors and the classic ‘ticket windows’ in the side glass. Although a revised, modernised and 21st Century update on the classic 90s design.
Overall, the Gordon Murray T50 is the breath of the fresh air that we needed in the automotive world, too many car manufacturers have followed in the same recipe of either hybrid, electric or downforce which is no complaint in its own. However, the T50 harnesses and utilises technology from the forgotten past and brings it into the present while reminding us of the legends that once roamed the roads and jump-started all of this.