The genetic make-up of Gordon Murray Automotive’s T.50 reads like a petrolhead’s ultimate wish-list. An ultra-high-revving N/A V12, a manual gearbox, a sub-1000kg weight figure - it’s all there.
But for anyone wanting to take things further, the legendary Formula 1 designer has an answer. His new supercar - billed as a successor for the F1 - will be available in a track-only specification.
A run of 25 track specials will be built in addition to the 100 road cars, he confirmed while speaking to Car Throttle. The 3.9-litre Cosworth V12 will have the wick turned up, yielding a power output around 700bhp on its own. It’ll be even lighter than the road car too, tipping the scales at just 890kg.
The wild, Brabham BT46B-like fan will be retained, but it won’t have the road car’s plethora of settings (we’ll get to that later). “It’s just one function - downforce,” Murray said. The T.50 track car be designed for the stresses associated with running slick tyres, but it’ll be able to run track-focused road rubber such as Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s or Pirelli Trofeo Rs also.
What’s more, Murray is also contemplating taking the car racing. “I’ve been chatting to the ACO and also the FIA about where the regulations are going in this new supercar formula,” he said. The problem, Murray explains, is the T.50 is too light.
With the track car being as lithe as it is and the new Le Mans Hypercar class (LMH) having a minimum weight figure of 1100kg, the T.50 would need to take on a large amount of ballast. “If anybody wants us in a formula badly enough I’m sure we can come to a deal because it’s all balance of performance these days, so maybe we could run lighter with a bit less horsepower,” he concluded.
Even if the car doesn’t go racing, it’ll have plenty of motorsport influence, and not just because a considerable number of Gordon Murray Automotive employees come from that background. The company announced today that it will partner with the Racing Point F1 team (formerly known as Force India) to use its wind tunnel facility in Silverstone from early next year using a 40 per cent scale model of the T.50.
On the subject of aero, Murray’s firm also gave further details on the radical fan concept. Measuring 400mm in diameter, the device will be fed by special ducting to avoid it spitting out debris from the road at whoever’s following. Handy.
The design of the underbody, meanwhile, ensures the T.50 won’t need low side skirts to achieve ground effect like its Brabham ancestor. Plus, it’ll be much more sophisticated than the BT46B’s fan, which Murray describes as “a hoover, basically”.
The T.50 fan will be set to ‘Auto Mode’ by default, changing its attitude in response to how you’re driving. In Braking Mode the rear aerofoils deploy and the fan speeds up, doubling downforce and allowing the hypercar to come to a stop 10 metres sooner when being braked from 100mph.
High Downforce Mode decreases lift by 30 per cent, or if preferred, drivers can opt for ‘Streamline Mode’. This reduces drag by 10 per cent while also allowing the T.50 to go faster by shutting the underbody ducts and increasing the fan speed. This exaggerates “the trailing wake of the car, creating a ‘virtual longtail’.” Clever.
The final piece of aero trickery we’d like to draw your attention to is the ‘ram air’ function. This, when factoring in the extra power brought by the 48-volt starter motor-generator, brings total power to 700bhp.
As a reminder, the main piece of the powertrain puzzle will be a sensational 3.9-litre, naturally-aspirated V12 built by Cosworth. One of the key requests from Murray was a ridiculously high red line. “The highest revving car in history is my Light Car Rocket, which revs to 11,500rpm,” he told us, adding, “I really wanted to beat that. Initially, when I said more than 12,000, they [Cosworth] said, ‘with conventional valve gear, probably not.’”
It’s been achieved, however, with the engine topping out an astonishing 12,100rpm. Once you reach that figure, the gear change will be done via a six-speed manual.
Before you reach for your debit card, however, we should probably point out that the T.50 costs £2 million before taxes. It’ll be revealed May next year, with the first cars being delivered to customers in 2022. It isn’t just a one-off, either, as Murray explains:
“We just want a business that makes a few no more than a hundred cars a year, and cars that are at the top of the game. If it has to be lightly hybridised next time, that’s what it’ll have to be. And if eventually if it has to be electric, that’s what it’ll be. But they’ll always be at the top of their game and leading the pack. But this will be the one and only hypercar.”
Stay tuned for our full interview with Murray.