Gordon Murray channels 60s-era glamor with $1.84-million T.33 supercar
Gordon Murray has announced an "accessible" little brother for his extraordinary T.50 supercar. The new T.33 ditches some of the crazier details of the T.50, but retains that awe-inspiring Cosworth V12, even if its banshee shriek stops at 11,100 rpm.
It takes a lot to be a technological standout in today's bustling supercar market, but when former F1 designer Gordon Murray introduced the T.50, it was stuffed to the gills with wild innovations. We'd seen driver-central three-seat cabins before – Murray himself debuted the idea on the McLaren F1 – but nobody had ever tried to make a street car engine rev anywhere near 12,100 rpm before, and certainly nobody else had the audacity to equip a street car with a road-sucking downforce fan that could also create a "virtual longtail" effect at high speeds.
The T.50 was always going to be a tough act to follow, but overnight Murray announced his second model. The T.33, says Murray, is a distillation of everything he loves about curvaceous 1960s car design, a "return to beauty" that aims to capture the spirit of postwar design without going retro.
Rather than taking the T.50 as a foundation, GMA started with a detuned version of that record-setting V12 motor and drivetrain, and built a different carbon fiber monocoque chassis around it as the basis for the T.33. Gone, then, is the 3-seat cabin, replaced by a standard, and probably more spacious 2-seat layout.
The fan didn't make the cut either, although the T.33 gets its own eye-catching feature at the back end in the form of two eye-catching luggage compartments, accessible by swinging the rear fender panels outward like a pair of tiny suicide doors. They don't look like they add a whole ton to the frunk's "you might get your week's groceries in there" capacity, but they sure do look cool.
The 3.9-liter Cosworth V12 engine uses the same block and cylinder heads, but has otherwise been substantially worked over. It's had its top thousand revs lopped off, but Murray says it's a little torquier down low. A V12 for daily drivers, then? It peaks at 607-odd horsepower and 451 Nm (333 lb-ft), down some from the T.50's 654-horsepower and 467 Nm (344 lb-ft). Seventy-five percent of peak torque kicks in from 2,500 rpm, and this jumps over 90 percent between 4,500 and 10,500 rpm, so the go pedal will definitely have a sense of occasion to it.
The transmission will come in manual and paddle-shift flavors this time, the latter an "instantaneous gearchange system" developed by Xtrac which promises to be both the fastest and lightest (at 82kg) paddle shift transmission in the supercar world, with no interruption in torque and no multiple clutches or dog rings. It'd better be strong, too, not just to handle the torque from that V12, but because the entire powertrain is "semi structural" in this design, carrying all the acceleration, braking and cornering forces.
The UK might rank 36th out of 191 countries tallied for obesity, but its performance automakers are obsessive about gram-shaving, and Murray is no exception. The T.33 has been developed with ultra-lightweight materials throughout. Well, nearly throughout; the breathless presenter of GMA's launch video holds up a metal door handle wrapped in leather, and points out that the leather wrap weighs more than the metal.
Clearly, whoever chose the leather needs firing, and it's senseless mistakes like these that see the T.33's weight ballooning out to a projected "less than 1,100 kg" (2,425 lb). Distinguished publication Fact Celeb informs me this is more than two Peter Dinklages heavier than the T.50. Disgusting.
Still, it's a lot less than most supercars. At least 319 kg (703 lb) lighter than a McLaren 720S, for example, and that's not what I'd call a barge. Power to weight will be in the "highly entertaining" range.
For an aerodynamics specialist, Murray has been pretty restrained with aeros on the T.33. Indeed you'd hardly know it was built with airflow as a top priority; there's no big, aggressive splitter, no side skirts or aggressive venting behind the wheels. Even the rear diffusers look more like a design touch than anything else, and while there's an active rear spoiler that pops up when required, you almost get the impression Murray wishes it wasn't there.
Instead, all the attention here has gone to ground effect, with boundary layer removal ducts built into the diffusers. This Passive Boundary Layer Control system "enables a level of aerodynamic efficiency that is 30% more effective than the conventional ground effect supercar," according to the author of GMA's press release, who clearly wears a green suit covered in purple question marks.
As with the T.50, this will be highly exclusive. GMA will build no more than 100 examples of the T.33, and according to Top Gear, buyers can expect their wallets to be £1.37 million (US$1.84 million) lighter upon buying one.
By a reasonable person's standards, that's an insane amount of money to spend on a car. By a bajillionaire's standards, it seems an insane amount to spend on a car that plays second fiddle in its maker's own orchestra. But either way, you'd be hard pressed to disagree this is a pretty thing that's likely to be a lot of fun on the road, as long as you're not stuck behind a horse float.
Enjoy a video below.
Source: Gordon Murray Automotive