Gordon Murray unveils details of "modern McLaren F1" supercar
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Legendary car and F1 designer Gordon Murray today revealed details of his new supercar which he says will be the spiritual successor to his ground-breaking McLaren F1 of the 1990s.
And it really sucks.
That’s because the 320km/h-plus machine features innovative fan technology – which he pioneered in F1 racing before it was banned amid uproar - that helps the vehicle stick to the road by managing aerodynamic air flows by using a fan to create a form of suction.
Only 100 exclusive models of Murray’s new three-seater mid-engined T.50s will be built.
They will be powered by an all-new 3.9 litre (3,980cc) Cosworth-GMA twin-cam naturally aspirated V12 engine developing 650hp (484kW) - equivalent to six Ford Fiestas – and linked to a lightweight six-speed automatic transmission. Murray says it will be ‘the highest-revving engine ever used in a production car’.
A roof-fed ram-air induction system (using the airflow to increase ambient pressure and therefore improve engine performance) can increase horsepower to around 700hp (521kW).
And it's suction that will be key to the car’s success.
It uses a 400mm fan at the rear of the vehicle which actively controls underbody airflow. This creates a ‘ground-effect’ force which helps pull the vehicle down onto the road.
Murray famously used this revolutionary technology on the Brabham BT46B Formula One Fan Car in 1978 before it was swiftly banned after just two races following outrage from rival teams.
The fan also means that the upper surfaces of the car are not blighted by exaggerated and unsightly air scoops, wings, vents, bulges and spoilers.
Professor Murray, chairman of the umbrella Gordon Murray Group said: ‘Our experienced team is applying the same uncompromising approach to design and engineering that shaped every facet of the F1, and they are able to deliver substantial improvements over that car in every meaningful way.’
Murray declined to talk statistics but stressed: "I have absolutely no interest in chasing records for top speed or acceleration. Our focus is instead on delivering the purest, most rewarding driving experience of any supercar ever built – but, rest assured, it will be quick."
It will be sold at a price "in excess of £2million before taxes" (NZ$3.8m) with first deliveries from early 2022.
Murray says the true British supercar - which he claims is designed for everyday use - ‘rewrites the supercar rulebook'.
He says the new T.50 will be ‘the purest, lightest, most driver-focused supercar ever built’ and designed to the same exacting engineering standards as his earlier McLaren F1 while improving on its predecessor ‘in every way’.
The three-seater McLaren F1 launched in 1992 was powered by a 6.1-litre V12 engine developing 467kW, with a top speed of 386km/h and acceleration from rest to 60mph (96km/h) in just 3.2 seconds. For 13 years was the world’s fastest production car.
But the firm said: "The V12 Cosworth GMA engine delivers more power from four litres than the F1 produced with 6.1 litres in 1992."
Murray says a "fanatical dedication" to cutting weight means the new T.50 supercar will also be ‘the lightest supercar ever’ weighing just 980kg – around a third lighter than the average supercar.
The new T.50 car will be manufactured by Gordon Murray Automotive at a new, purpose-built factory in Surrey, with engineering, design and styling by existing sister company Gordon Murray Design.
All major components will be bespoke and UK-sourced, including the powertrain, body and chassis, he adds. He promises it will produce unrivalled power-to-weight in the rear-wheeled drive vehicle to help create a ‘matchless experience behind the wheel’.
The new T.50 also replicates the McLaren F1’s jet-fighter-style central driving position, with two passengers behind. It is called T.50 because every race or road car penned by Murray so far has featured a T designation - and the T.50 will be the 50th in a highly illustrious line.
It has a highly compact footprint - at just 4,380mm long and 1,850mm wide - that is smaller than that of a Porsche 911. This is to optimise handling while still providing space and comfort for three occupants and their luggage.
The new car’s overall weight is kept to under a tonne thanks to a fanatical dedication to purging the vehicle of every unproductive gram and a focus on minimising the weight of every component which he dubs lightweighting.
This include sophisticated use of advanced carbon fibre engineering and a super-lightweight carbon fibre tub.
A spokesman said: "The new model will set new standards for supercar packaging, providing driver and two passengers with exceptional comfort, safety, practicality and luggage space."
It also being hailed to have the most advanced aerodynamics of any road car and promises to deliver ‘the purest, most driver-focused performance and dynamics’ of any road car since his 1992 McLaren F1.
Murray said he was focussed on "the thrill of driving" not "chasing top speeds" through bigger engines and add-ons.
"Our very different approach is to minimise weight – in every component," he explained.
"We’re not interested in simply chasing numbers, and never will be. But we expect this to be the last, and the greatest, ‘analogue’ supercar ever built."
The T.50 team rejected the use of turbos or electrified powertrain assistance to concentrate on engine response.
Explaining why he sees the new T.50 as the ‘spiritual successor’ to his McLaren F1, Murray said: "Just as with the F1, we have no specific targets for acceleration, top speed or lap times.
"The F1 was fast because it was light and relatively small. Once again, I have focused on the complete driving experience, not horsepower or top speed."
The three seater cockpit - with perfect fighter-pilot levels of visibility - also features analogue instruments and ‘driver-centric controls’ positioned to be intuitive.
The new car will boast perfect weight distribution but is far from a stripped-back racer, described instead as an ‘everyday supercar’ capable of GT-style cruising in spacious comfort with room for driver, two passengers and luggage.
Murray says: "I designed the F1 as a sort of super GT car – absolutely road-focused with no plan to go racing, which is why the car set new standards for packaging and luggage space."
Cosworth Powertrain managing director Bruce Wood, said they were "tremendously excited" to be part of the T.50 supercar project: "Developing an engine that delivers superlative performance, while meeting stringent emissions targets, is a challenge that demonstrates Cosworth’s unique capabilities."
Murray said the collaboration had created "the greatest naturally-aspirated engine ever designed for the road'.
- Daily Mail