Gordon Murray’s T.50 supercar rewrites the rule book
The new T.50 is a nod to the past and future of Gordon Murray’s storied design processes
One of the upsides of the car industry’s increasingly polarised split between everyday mobility and hyper-luxury is the unfettered freedom that money offered to designers and engineers. Although making mass produced cars is proving harder than ever before, at the upper end of the market there are sufficient resources to push the envelope of design and performance into new, ever more challenging areas.
Designer Gordon Murray has divided his career between these two extremes, working on ways to streamline mass production at one end, and devoting his considerable aerodynamic skills to supercar design at the other. This is the new T.50, the first car to be built by newly founded Gordon Murray Automotive and the 50th car created by the engineer over the course of a long career. Built around a bespoke 3.9-litre V12 engine – the ‘lightest, highest-revving and most power dense road car engine ever made.’
The three-seater is pure, minimal and ultra-light, is described as suitable for everyday use, although certain components are definitely exotic – like the rear-mounted fan that generates downforce to glue the car to the road. It’s a development of the Brabham BT46 F1 car that Murray created in 1978 and which was almost immediately banned by F1 rules.
No such legislation precludes its inclusion in a road car, and when paired with active aerodynamics, colossal power to weight ratio and the central race car inspired driving position, the T.50 promises to be an instant legend. Another antecedent is of course the McLaren F1, the legendary 90s-era Murray-designed sports car that set new benchmarks for speed and engineering accomplishment.
Will the T.50 ascend to the same mythical levels? Murray’s hand is evident in every aspect of this new machine, from the smooth, clean surfaces to the pared down switchgear and unfussy detailing. As for performance, no figures have yet been released, indicating that Murray and his team are quietly confident they’ll be setting benchmarks all over again. §