50th car designed by Gordon Murray
Will feature a 654-horsepower (663-PS) Cosworth V12
Only 100 will be built
The new Gordon Murray T.50 is a lightweight, very powerful, ultra-limited new supercar that is worthy of the hype leading up to its reveal.
As far as epic supercar and hypercar launches go, it doesn’t get much more epic than when Gordon Murray decides to put his heart and soul into something and actually make it road legal. Just as some would say he changed the automotive world when he created the McLaren F1 in 1996, Murray is doing it again over two decades later with the T.50, so named for being the 50th road or race car he has designed throughout his career.
What it is, indeed, is more about what it’s not: at 2,161 pounds (980 kg) thanks to carbon fibre construction and a multitude of other weight-saving measures, it’s not heavy. In fact, it’s lighter than a Mazda MX-5, but with a similar footprint—it’s 172.4 inches or 4,379 mm long—than that of a Porsche 718 Cayman or Alpine A110S.
With a naturally-aspirated 3.9-litre Cosworth V12 producing 654 hp (663 PS) and 344 pound-feet of torque, it’s not EV, hybrid, hydrogen- or grass-powered. And Murray is very proud of that fact.
“From day one,” he says, “it was going to have to be a V12 and it was going to have to be naturally aspirated.” He could have added “it was going to be light, too” because at just 392 pounds (178 kg), Murray’s company claims it’s the lightest V12 ever installed in a road car. Okay, then.
With a conventional six-speed Xtrac manual gearbox, it’s not an automatic or a CVT.
“Having a fantastic engine then having a DCT [dual-clutch automatic transmission] just doesn’t gel with me,” says Murray. To which we say: Huzzah!
With an engine that revs to a mind-bending 12,100 rpm – the highest-revving ever engine in a road car – and with said engine’s report being piped basically right to the driver’s ears through a very McLaren F1-espque roof intake, it’s definitely not quiet and with a three-person cabin and central driving position (yes, just like the F1) plus a fan-assisted aero system (yes, like his famous Brabham BT46 F1 car, but not entirely, as we’ll see in a minute), it’s most definitely not conventional, manual transmission and naturally aspirated power or not.
What the Gordon Murray T.50 is—or what it’s looking to be—is, yet again, the ultimate expression of what a road-going supercar or hypercar can be in 2020.
Being a Murray project, it’s really all about the engineering, but Murray himself insists much of it is about the styling as well. “Proportions and balance in the shape it what it’s all about,” he said. There are no ungainly wings, dive-planes or jutting front splitters; just a massive rear diffuser and that all-important fan mounted to the back.
On the BT46 fan car, the fan served a singular purpose of sucking the car to the road. A purpose, Murray says, basically turned it into a “blunt instrument.” The fan on the T.50 does a lot more than that. When it comes to the T.50, you can forget about conventional drive modes. It gets six aerodynamic modes, that all change what effect the fan has on the drive. In “Streamline” mode, for example, the fan actually reduces downforce (“dump” in racing or Murray-speak), effectively turning the Gordon Murray T.50 into a longtail sports car for better top speed. Speaking of which, the figure has not yet been announced and nor have the acceleration times, but we can expect a top speed well north of 210 mph (336 km/h) and 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) acceleration times to be well south of three seconds.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the aero spectrum, we have “Braking” mode which can double downforce to increase both braking performance and stability.
As is expected from a Murray project, the attention to detail in terms of both exterior and interior detail is astounding. While it’s hard not to see a little Porsche Taycan in the headlights and a bit of Ferrari 488 in the way the taillights jut out from the rear fascia, the rest is all original with a few cheeky nods to the McLaren F1. The dual-pane side windows and the shape of the cockpit and wraparound windshield, for example, are very reminiscent of the F1 and the fighter jets that car was modeled after. The gullwing doors, too. Although on the T.50, they’re matched by dual engine covers that also open gullwing-style, like a reverse of what you might see on a 1934 Mercedes-Benz 500K. The gullwing engine covers serve the dual purpose of showing off that great (but tiny) V12 and making it easier to service.
Inside, the three-person seating means not just perfect weight distribution, but also makes for the best view out for all occupants, as does the low cowl. Lightweight aluminum is everywhere, right down to the tachometer needle, which is styled to recall a designer timepiece. The pedals aren’t crafted from aluminum, but from titanium, because, well, aluminum just wasn’t special enough.
Speaking of special: only 100 units of the Gordon Murray T.50 will be made, each selling at a cost of about—wait for it—2.36 million British pounds ($4.1M CAD, $3.1M USD).
Those lucky enough to be getting in to one will have to wait until 2022 as that’s when the first deliveries are expected.