It will be the aural signature of Prof. Gordon Murray, Formula 1 racecar and environmental-efficiency vehicle creator: the sound of a bespoke V12 hitting its high note at 12,100 rpm as it delivers 650 hp with what is claimed to be the highest-revving, highest power-density naturally-aspirated engine ever used in a road car.
That car is Murray’s 3-seat T.50, a supercar that he sees as the spiritual successor to his McLaren F1 road car that accelerated instantly to classic status. The T.50, he believes, is likely to be “the last ‘analogue’ supercar.”
Murray describes its design and engineering as rewriting the supercar rulebook: “An unflinching dedication to lightweighting, highly-advanced active aerodynamics and world-leading standards of advanced engineering.” At the T.50’s core is the all-new, designed-by Cosworth for Gordon Murray Automotive (GMA) 3.9-L V12, its cylinders set at 65-degrees. Along with delivering 650 hp (485 kW) and torque of 450 Nm (332 lb-ft), the engine is fed intake air from a rooftop ram-air induction tract and benefits from weight-saving magnesium and titanium—and the lightweighting philosophy extends to zero consideration for hybridization, electrification or turbocharging.
The T.50’s V12 drives through a 6-speed manual gearbox to give performance figures of….what?
Unlike most car makers—particularly those presuming to build supercars—Murray isn’t driven by such details. He said the car has simply been designed, engineered and built to be as light, powerful, aerodynamic and driver-focused as possible, so target performance figures are not specifically in his equation. But a weight of 980 kg (2161 lb)—described by Murray as being approximately one-third lighter than the average supercar—that provides a power-to-weight ratio of 663 hp/ton indicates the potential for which others will be guesstimating.
Certainly those numbers will be exceptionally low for acceleration, but Murray regards top-speed-chasing as just resulting in added weight. “We are taking a very different approach,” he said, stressing, “We’re not interested in simply chasing numbers—and never will be.”
But then he adds: “Rest assured it will be quick!”
The engine, which is semi-structural, has been designed, developed and manufactured by Cosworth for GMA. Cosworth managing director Bruce Wood said, “Developing an engine that delivers superlative performance while meeting stringent emissions targets is a challenge that demonstrates Cosworth’s unique capabilities. To be so intrinsically aligned with a supercar that puts engine performance, response and lightweighting at the very heart of the driving experience is the ultimate accolade and underscores Cosworth’s reputation and capabilities as a leading OEM Tier One powertrain supplier.”
Xtrac, designer and manufacturer of high-performance transmissions and driveline components, is part of the T.50’s technology supplier team. Lightweight, monobloc alloy brake calipers clamp carbon-ceramic discs.
The T.50 may be light on weight but certainly not on technology; another claim for the T.50 is that it has “the most advanced aerodynamics of any road car,” incorporating plenty of Murray F1 know-how, including use of a 400-mm (15.7-in.) ground-effects fan similar to that of the Brabham BT46B F1 car of 1978, although there is nothing yesteryear about the T.50’s aerodynamics. GMA is working with “a Formula One team” and using its rolling road wind tunnel to good aerodynamic effect.
Murray has very clear opinions on aerodynamics and says the T.50 has purity of design, unhindered by “unsightly wings, outlets, vents or bulges.”
The car’s dimensions include a length of 4380 mm (172.4 in.) and width of 1850 mm (72.8 in.); the T.50 is charcterized as having a smaller footprint than the Porsche 911.
The hand-made, sandwich-panel monocoque of the T.50 uses high-modulus adhesive; panels are carbon composite and there is a carbon-fiber tub. Suspension includes double wishbones and anti-roll bar at the front and double wishbones at the rear. A powertrain mass damper is fitted.
The T.50, like Murray’s seminal F1 road car, has a central driving position forward of two flanking passenger seats and “jet fighter-style” visibility. Analog instruments are fitted and driver-centric controls are described as being positioned to provide “an even more intuitive” driving experience than the F1. Dihedral doors are fitted a la the F1 road car.
The price of all this? “In excess” of £2 million sterling (about $2.5 million)—and only 100 examples will be built at a new facility in southern England. All major components will be bespoke and U.K-sourced, GMA said.
When can you have one? Deliveries start in 2022, so plenty of time to save up.Continue reading »