Airbag calibration is an integral part of developing a new car, and it’s second only to crash-testing in terms of brutality. The folks over at Gordon Murray Automotive thought it would be a great idea to film their upcoming $3 million (£2.36 million) V12 T.50 hypercar undertaking the tests and leave us covering our eyes in horror.
The airbag calibration took place at Automotive Testing Papenburg, Germany, the purpose of which is to ensure the vehicle’s airbags don’t deploy unnecessarily. The T.50 was put through its paces in several tests, including driving across a cobbled road, hitting a gravel heap head-on, ploughing through a deep pothole at high speed, zooming across a rail crossing and even launching the British hypercar off its four wheels using a ramp that looks better suited to BMX riders.
The car sustained the most damage during the steel beam test, which simulates a moderate-speed indiscretion into a raised kerb, in which the only damage was a bent tie rod. Not bad for a lightweight hypercar. And then on to our favourite - the “wild boar” test, in which the T.50 drives directly into an 80kg sack at 70kph (43.3mph), sustaining amazingly little damage in the process. Oh to be a test driver.
The T.50 was designed by celebrated car designer Gordon Murray, with inspiration taken from the iconic McLaren F1 he famously created. The three-seater machine is powered by a bespoke Cosworth-built 4.0-litre naturally aspirated V12, which produces 654bhp and sends its power to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox. Importantly, the car weighs in at just 986kg, as Gordon Murray believes light weight is a crucial factor in developing the ultimate driving machine.
Regardless of how painful it was to watch the airbag calibration test, the GMA T.50 promises to be one of the greatest analogue driving machines ever created. So, if these tests mean we get to see the T.50 out on the roads sooner rather than later, we are all for it. Bring on the crash test!