Creativity

The Gordon Murray T.50 – An ode to automotive design and engineering.

Behold: incredible successor to the McLaren F1!

I have just stumbled upon a launch of an incredible super car, the Gordon Murray T.50. It is a feat of amazing automotive design and engineering. What is fascinating about the new car is the designer and engineer is the very same innovator behind the legendary McLaren F1. This unique little racer first turned heads in the early 90’s thanks to its small form factor, its centrally located driver position and of course its hellishly fast performance.

The original T.50 concept sketch, which according to Murray generated the first 50% of sales. © Gordon Murray Automotive

What is more, Gordon Murray is an old South African lad from Durban – a city on the east coast of South Africa. Born to Scottish immigrant parents, Murray was born and grew up in the Natal region. His father was a motorcycle racer and later prepared racing cars. Murray studied mechanical engineering at Natal Technical College (now Durban University of Technology). He built and raced his own car, the IGM Ford, in the South African National Class during 1967 and 1968. His career in automotive design and engineering was poised to launch…

The McLaren F1 – Image By Craig James – Their work – With permission, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81984018

After this early innovation, Murray moved to England in 1969 where he was offered a job at Brabham. When Bernie Ecclestone took over the Brabham team, he appointed Murray Chief Designer. At Brabham he was instrumental in two world championship wins (1981 and 1983) before three consecutive championship wins with McLaren Racing (1988, 1989 and 1990). In 1990 – after 50 Grand Prix wins – Gordon moved away from Formula One to concentrate on establishing a new automotive design and engineering company for the group, McLaren Cars Limited. In total, that’s an experience of 20 years of technical savvy across two Formula One teams from 1969-1990.

The business end of the T.50 with very unique tail end fan – © Gordon Murray Automotive

His first project at McLaren, the F1 road car, is still regarded as one of the world’s best-engineered cars. A racing version won two world sports car championships and the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1995. McLaren Cars then completed several other successful projects culminating in the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.  Gordon left McLaren in 2005 to set up a Gordon Murray Design Ltd (in 2007), of which he is Chairman. The innovative British company is a world leader in automotive design and engineering, and reverses the current industry trend for sub-contracting by having a complete in-house capability for design, prototyping, and development.

The T.50 Rewriting the supercar rule book

In a 200+ mph nutshell:

  • Engineered to be the most driver-centric supercar ever built
  • Full exterior and interior revealed showing design purity and fastidious attention to detail
  • 9-litre V12 is the world’s lightest, highest-revving, most power dense naturally-aspirated road car engine
  • 986kg total vehicle weight is lighter than the typical supercar by almost a third
  • Most advanced and effective aerodynamics ever seen on a road car, enabled by Murray’s unique rear-mounted fan
  • Far from a track-focused tool, T.50 offers day-to-day usability, practicality refinement and comfort alongside its ferocious performance
  • Limited to production run of just 100
  • Estimated Price tag of around £2.36 Million per car
  • Estimated on road launch of somewhere 2022
Side view of the T.50 – the pair of dihedral doors rise up and forwards coming to rest high above the passenger cabin – © Gordon Murray Automotive

Gordon Murray Automotive has unveiled its T.50 supercar in full for the first time, showing the finished exterior and interior design and confirming its ground-breaking technical specifications. The T.50 has been engineered to be the purest, lightest, most driver-centric supercar ever. Improving on his acclaimed McLaren F1 “in every conceivable way”, Professor Gordon Murray CBE is leading the team that will begin building customer versions of the 986kg supercar in January 2022. Justifying its £2.36m (before taxes) price tag, the T.50 promises to deliver an unsurpassed driving experience. It is powered by a 100% bespoke 3.9-litre, 663PS V12 engine that revs to a record-breaking 12,100rpm, and features the most advanced and effective aerodynamics ever seen on a road car – aided by a 400mm rear-mounted fan.

Gordon Murray rocking his trademark moustache and floral print shirt – © Gordon Murray Automotive

The global premiere is the first time the clean lines of the exterior and the driver-focused interior have been seen. From his first ballpoint sketches, to every engineering and design detail, Murray has led the Gordon Murray Automotive team and briefed and overseen suppliers to drive the project forward at an unrelenting pace. Murray’s design for T.50 was the 50th in a prestigious line of race and road cars he’s penned over his illustrious 50-year career – both reasons combining to name the car T.50. The most dominant characteristics of the T.50 exterior design are its purity and balance, free from the wings, skirts and vents that adorn most modern-day supercars. The clean surfaces are enabled by the most advanced and effective aerodynamics ever seen on a road car, resulting in deliberately simple, beautiful lines and a timeless appearance.

Center console with what looks very suspiciously like a passenger ejector switch – © Gordon Murray Automotive

The purity of the silhouette is broken dramatically when the pair of dihedral doors rise up and forwards, coming to rest high above the passenger cabin. Inside, the driver-centric approach is plain to see – from the central, jet fighter-like driving position, to the aerospace-grade primary and secondary controls arranged in an ‘ergonomic bubble’ around the driver. Quality of materials, the utmost precision, and simplicity of visuals define the whole car, but nowhere is this more evident than inside the cockpit. British suppliers are responsible for every major component throughout the interior, as well as every facet of the car’s exquisitely-engineered underpinnings – an attribute insisted upon by Murray who was determined the T.50 would be a true British sports car.

No Mildred, you may certainly not take the dog for a drive – © Gordon Murray Automotive

From the record-breaking V12 engine, and best lightweight transmission, to the world-first aerodynamic package and the feather-light titanium throttle pedal, every element is 100% bespoke and crafted by a British company that leads in its field. Murray pushed each supplier to their limits to deliver ingenuity, the highest quality and of course new levels of lightness. With a vision that the car, and every element of its componentry, would be considered ‘engineering art’, Murray set out to create a vehicle that surpassed all others, fostering new levels of pride and connection among owners. Every T.50 customer has the opportunity to meet Murray to discuss their car and personalise it inside and out. Part of this process includes a seat, steering wheel and pedals ‘fitting’ session – personalised to every owner – that will ensure the T.50 is ergonomically perfect and individualised for each discerning customer.

All in all, not a bad effort from this leading South African born automotive designer and engineer.

Certain copy and specifications have been copied from the official press kit. The full story, imagery and videos can be viewed on the Gordon Murray Automotive website

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