Shalford, England - Durban born car designer Gordon Murray has released his long-awaited, ultra-exclusive T.50 supercar, and it has many claims to fame.
It’s fitting that Murray also designed the iconic McLaren F1 of the early nineties, as this is considered to be a spiritual successor in many ways - it even has a central seating position for the driver.
But Murray’s new creation is also a technological feat of note as far as 21st century speed machines are concerned. Consider that it weighs significantly less than any other current supercar, while also claiming to offer the most advanced and effective aerodynamics system in the world - the car even has a huge fan on the back to suck it to the ground.
As a side note, F1 fundis will remember the famed Brabham BT46B, designed by Murray under the watch of former F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone. The car raced just once, at Sweden's Anderstorp circuit before it was banned. It did win that edition of the race in 1978 with the late Niki Lauda behind the wheel.
Exclusivity is ensured
Gordon Murray Automotive is only planning to build 100 of these supercars, at his UK facility from January 2022 onwards, and the cars will cost £2.36 million (R53m), before taxes.
Here are some of the things we love about the T.50:
1 - Its unique V12 engine revs to 12 100
The bespoke 3.9-litre V12 Cosworth GMA engine fitted to the T.50 is the highest-revving normally aspirated engine ever to be fitted to a road car, redlining at 12 100rpm! The mid-engined motor sends its fury to the back wheels through an H-pattern six-speed manual gearbox, with five close ratios geared for acceleration and a longer sixth cog for cruising.
The engine produces 488kW at 11 500rpm and 467Nm at 9000 revs, although Murray says 71 percent of that is available from the 2500 mark. This V12 is also said to be the most responsive normally aspirated engine ever as well as the most power dense, producing 122kW per litre.
In fact, Murray is so proud of this engine, which also happens to be the lightest road-going V12 ever at 178kg, that the car’s body design puts it on show beneath a gullwing-opening ‘viewing gallery’.
No performance figures have been released as yet, but Murray readily admits he is not chasing power or top speed figures here, instead his intention was to create the most driver-centric supercar ever.
2 - It weighs less than a Ford Figo
With a total vehicle weight of just 986kg, the T.50 is almost a third lighter than the average supercar, giving it a power to weight ratio of 494kW per tonne.
The T.50’s body and chassis are constructed from high-grade carbon fibre, while the carbon tub monocoque structure is said to provide “exceptional” stiffness and torsional rigidity.
The double wishbone suspension system is made from forged aluminium and even the car’s glass areas form part of the weight saving mission, as the glazing is 28 percent thinner than usual.
3. The most advanced aerodynamics ever on a road car
The T.50 is claimed to have the most advanced aerodynamics system of any road car, and the pièce de résistance here is its unique, electric powered ground-effect fan at the rear of the car.
Together with the active rear spoilers, interactive diffusers and active underbody aerodynamic systems, the fan helps to increase downforce by up to 50 percent, while also generating 100 percent more downforce during braking. What’s more, drag is reduced by 12.5 percent, says Murray, while the system also adds around 36kW to the car’s output, in combination with ram-air induction.
Drivers can choose from six aerodynamic modes: Auto, High downforce, Streamline, Braking, Test and V-Max Boost.
4 - Individually tailored seat, where you sit in the middle like a fighter pilot
Like the McLaren F1, Gordon Murray’s F.50 has a central driving position, which creates a more immersive and balanced driving sensation on race tracks, while also optimising balance.
Murray will also tailor the seating position to each customer during a ‘fitting’ session, where they will also have the opportunity to meet Murray and discuss how to personalise their car inside and out.
“From the first touch of the titanium throttle pedal to the V12 screaming at 12 100rpm, the driver experience will surpass any supercar ever built,” Murray enthused.
“No other road car can deliver the package of power, instant responsiveness and driver feedback in such a direct and focused way while remaining comfortable, refined and usable every day.”
5. Yes, you can drive it everyday
Murray says that this car offers everyday useability, and there’s also space for two additional passengers in seats positioned on either side of the driver.
The designer describes the cabin as “well-appointed, comfortable and refined”, with easy ingress and egress, usable luggage space of up to 288 litres as well as a few creature comforts such as a 10-speaker premium audio system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
Murray also promises perfect weighting for the steering rack and gear selector, contributing to a driving experience that is proudly “analogue”.
“Just 100 customers will share my vision, a car created to improve on the F1 formula in every conceivable way,” Murray said.
“With 30 years of technological and systems advancement, now, the time is right to design the greatest analogue driver’s car. I believe no other company could deliver what we will bring to market in 2022, producing this British supercar will be my proudest moment”.
Watch the car’s global premiere video below, featuring Gordon Murray from the 8:00 mark: