The 650hp T.50 supercar is Gordon Murray’s follow-up to the McLaren F1

It even has a central-seat three-person layout and active ground effect
by Paul Horrell | Jun 6, 2019
PHOTO: Gordon Murray Automotive

Please sit down, and cease operating heavy machinery. You might shortly feel sensations of giddiness. Gordon Murray has released a sketch and more details of his new supercar. He’s quite happy for it to be spoken of as the successor to the McLaren F1, three decades later.

“We’ve been quietly working on the design of the car for 18 months, and it’s now very well advanced. We’ve been speaking to potential customers and have had massive interest,” he says.

Its code name is T.50, continuing the successive type numbers of all his previous designs. It’ll be built, limited to 100 examples, by his new company Gordon Murray Automotive. The plan is deliveries start in 2022, at around £2.5 million (around P164.6 million) a pop. The factory is in Surrey, and the engine and gearbox are British, too.

So what made the F1 so great? A high-revving normally aspirated bespoke V12. The first carbon-fiber structure on a road car. Advanced fan-assisted active aerodynamics. A manual transmission. And that three-abreast, driver-forward cabin with dihedral doors.

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The T.50 has all those. Even—especially—the central-seat three-person layout. Yet it’s compact. The width of 1,850mm is less than that of most sports cars, and the car is shorter than a 911. But perhaps more than all of those, the F1 was obsessively lightened by using specially designed components throughout. Murray even had Kenwood build a featherweight hi-fi for the car.

The F1 weighed over 1,100kg...and the T.50 is a full 10% lighter, at under a ton. A weight loss you can’t account for by losing the 10-disc changer. Most supercars are half as heavy again.

Such lightness will let the T.50 pull huge performance from its 650hp 3.9-liter V12 engine specially designed and made by Cosworth. Murray says the roof-scoop ram-air effect should boost power to 700hp at speed. Remember, in contrast, electrified hypercars lose power at speed as their motors reach peak revs.

You want revs, by the way? How about a limit of a screaming 12,100rpm? There’s no flywheel, either, so it should be, shall we say, blippy. The transmission is bespoke, too—a six-speed from Xtrac.

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There’s more of Murray’s epic past in the T.50. In 1978 his Brabham BT46B won its first race, with Niki Lauda driving. Its innovation was a fan drawing air from the car’s underside, effectively sucking it to the road. It caused uproar among the other teams and didn’t race again.

The T.50 has a similar fan, as the sketch shows. It’s 400mm in diameter. It draws from a system of underbody aero features that are continually and actively varied. This means there’s no need for attention-grabbing wings on the visible body.

Even the Aston Martin Valkyrie is heavier, albeit much more powerful. All the other headline-grabbing hypercars are heavier again. Besides, the T.50 has space for three people with luggage. It’s meant to be everyday-usable, and even has a selectable soft engine map.

Cars that chase super-high speeds need vast engines and cooling, which means more weight and less nimbleness—and that’s a personal affront to all Murray has always stood for. Even if it means risking the derision of Internet commenters.

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“I have absolutely no interest in chasing records for top speed or acceleration. Just as with the F1, we have no specific targets for those. Our focus is instead on delivering the purest, most rewarding driving experience of any supercar ever built.”

NOTE: This article first appeared on Minor edits have been made.

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PHOTO: Gordon Murray Automotive
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