Gordon Murray, the legendary F1 car designer and the man who penned the McLaren F1, is working on an all-new lightweight sports car.
After years in the relative wilderness in the eyes of petrolheads, working on ultra-efficient (and often ultra-dreary) city cars that could help reduce inner city congestion and parking issues, Murray is back to the sharp end of the performance spectrum.
In an interview with evo magazine the 71-year-old dropped the first hints about how the ‘driver-focused’ car, the first of his planned range of IGM (Ian Gordon Murray) vehicles, will shape up. As you’d expect, light weight and aerodynamics will be key. He told the British magazine:
“Sports cars, supercars, hypercars – whatever you want to call them – are becoming more difficult for the driver to enjoy and exploit. I want to design and build a sports car that’s useable and 100 per cent driver-focused.
“The F1 was all about the driver and them being able to use its performance. Nothing has changed in 25 years to say a sports car today can’t follow that same philosophy.”
As far as weight goes, he uses the Mazda MX-5 as an example of a modern, but still very lightweight car that can succeed commercially. Speaking about the as-yet unnamed IGM sports car he explained:
“It has to be under a ton. Once governments have finished with emissions legislation they will move on to a car’s footprint and regulate this, too. We’re running out of space and big cars make no sense.”
So it’ll be small and below a tonne, then, in line with Murray’s love for the first-generation Lotus Elan. As for what will power it, he is more cryptic. It will be a ‘surprising’ engine bought in from an outside supplier in a deal that’s close to being signed. He said:
“What can I tell you now? It will be exciting, I can guarantee that. It will surprise a few people too, but importantly, and this is key to the whole car, it will be very pure, very driver-orientated in terms of how it delivers its power and torque.”
Dare we hope that he might mean it will rev higher than most cars these days? Only time and a press release will tell. As for the gearbox, Murray describes torque converters and twin-clutch options as “a non-event for the driver.” A manual looks to be on the cards.
The car will use a development of Murray’s ultra-lightweight iStream chassis construction, called iStream Superlight, using an extruded aluminium frame strengthened and stiffened by sandwiched carbonfibre panels.
It will also house “the most advanced [aerodynamics] ever seen on a road car” that focus on delivering more benefits to the driver at lower speeds. Statements like that also make us think that it’ll be a striking thing when it’s ready. We’ll keep an eye on this one.