Automotive

Gordon Murray finally launches his wildly innovative T.50 masterpiece

Gordon Murray finally launches...
Gordon Murray's extraordinary T.50 supercar has finally launched
Gordon Murray's extraordinary T.50 supercar has finally launched
View 18 Images
Gordon Murray's extraordinary T.50 supercar has finally launched
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Gordon Murray's extraordinary T.50 supercar has finally launched
This is a totally unique and incredible machine in many, many ways
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This is a totally unique and incredible machine in many, many ways
The back end is dominated by the huge fan that drives many of the T.50's unique aerodynamic features
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The back end is dominated by the huge fan that drives many of the T.50's unique aerodynamic features
The interior, with its 3-seat jet pilot outlay, is highly analog
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The interior, with its 3-seat jet pilot outlay, is highly analog
The 400mm fan system, in conjunction with active spoilers and diffusers, assists with cooling, drag reduction and downforce
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The 400mm fan system, in conjunction with active spoilers and diffusers, assists with cooling, drag reduction and downforce
Dihedral doors always look cool
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Dihedral doors always look cool
The street T.50's ultra-lightweight carbon fiber chassis and bodywork total just 150 kg
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The street T.50's ultra-lightweight carbon fiber chassis and bodywork total just 150 kg
Purity of design was a key focus for Murray
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Purity of design was a key focus for Murray
That's a Batmobile back end if I ever saw one
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That's a Batmobile back end if I ever saw one
One of the most unique and single-minded designs in automotive history
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One of the most unique and single-minded designs in automotive history
Jet fighter three-seat layout gives everyone in the car an incredible view
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Jet fighter three-seat layout gives everyone in the car an incredible view
A sparse interior that shows off quality components
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A sparse interior that shows off quality components
6-speed manual shift gearbox
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6-speed manual shift gearbox
The packaging of those visible shocks give me a little shudder of joy
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The packaging of those visible shocks give me a little shudder of joy
Headlight assembly
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Headlight assembly
The extraordinary 3.9-liter V12 engine has been one of Cosworth's greatest challenges
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The extraordinary 3.9-liter V12 engine has been one of Cosworth's greatest challenges
The V12 engine is a record-breaker in many categories
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The V12 engine is a record-breaker in many categories
The highest-revving production car engine in history - by a long way
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The highest-revving production car engine in history - by a long way
View gallery - 18 images

The supercar of the year – perhaps indeed the decade, early though it is – has finally fully launched, and we've now got a trove of images of the first car that Formula One/McLaren F1 design genius Gordon Murray says he's truly 100 percent happy with.

Only 100 T.50 supercars will be made, at a price of US$3.1 million before taxes. If that sounds like a lot of money, you're missing the point; the halo around this machine and the man that created it make it a virtually certain bet that anyone lucky enough to get on the list will see their investment absolutely skyrocket over time. The last supercar Murray designed, the McLaren F1, originally sold for around US$800 grand, and some are now selling for close to US$20 million.

So the T.50 is just about guaranteed to be a money-printing machine for its owners provided they keep the mileage low. And that's very sad, in a way, because nearly every fiber of Murray's being has gone into making this thing the most exciting, precise, involving and exhilarating driver's car a man with his imagination and resources could dream into existence.

His remaining being fibers have been put to work ensuring that every component in the car, seen or unseen, are engineering art as well as incredibly lightweight and high performance. After 20 years in Formula One and more in automotive design, this is his magnum opus.

The back end is dominated by the huge fan that drives many of the T.50's unique aerodynamic features
The back end is dominated by the huge fan that drives many of the T.50's unique aerodynamic features

The average supercar, by Murray's estimates, weighs around 1,400 kg (~3,100 lb), and for a man who's spent so much time in racing, that sort of thing will simply not do. The T.50 weighs 980 kg (2,160 lb), making it lighter than a Mazda MX5 despite the fact that it rocks a monster mid-mounted V12 Cosworth engine and has three seats instead of two and more luggage space than you'd expect.

Those three seats are configured jet-fighter style with the driver front and center, offering total unimpeded visibility as you sling the car through corners. Even the passengers get an excellent view, with each able to see right across to the opposite A-pillar and enjoy a full view of the road ahead.

We've already written about the naturally aspirated engine at length, but to briefly recap it's a 3.9-liter, 654-horsepower, 467 Nm (344 lb-ft) V12 and an absolute marvel in its own right. It's the highest revving production car engine in history by a large margin, revving to 12,100 rpm. It's the lightest road car V12 ever at 178 kg (392 lb). It's the most power-dense naturally aspirated production car engine ever, at 164 horsepower per liter.

Folks who can't grapple with the mysteries of the highly endangered third pedal need not apply

Murray says it'll be the most responsive production engine ever built, as well, revving from idle to its sky-high redline in three tenths of a second in neutral. It's hard to quantify how good something sounds, but we believe Murray when he says it's the greatest sounding V12 street car of all time. Its crazed howling sets my arm hairs on end, and the cabin has been designed to use the roof of the car as a resonant soundboard to amplify the experience as the revs come up, through the roof-mounted air intake.

The highest-revving production car engine in history - by a long way
The highest-revving production car engine in history - by a long way

Combined with a handy 50-odd horsepower electric boost from the fan motor under certain circumstances, you're looking at a car that makes in excess of 700 horsepower. It's not hypercar territory, but that hardly matters. This will be more usable and involving than any of the world's most powerful cars.

The gearbox is its own wonder, a bespoke Xtrac creation that Murray says is the lightest supercar gearbox ever built, at 80.5 kg (177.5 lb). No paddle-shift hand holding here, it's a six-speed H-pattern manual with the first five gears bunched tightly together for serious fun and the sixth added as a highway cruising consideration. Folks who can't grapple with the mysteries of the highly endangered third pedal need not apply.

The chassis is a carbon fiber monocoque tuned for extreme stiffness and torsional rigidity, including an F1-style passenger safety cell. The bodywork, likewise, is carbon all over, and the chassis and body together weigh just 150 kg (331 lb). The doors are a dihedral event to open, and indeed the engine bay and luggage areas can also be accessed through their own set of extravagant gull wings. Here they are opening and closing in party mode:

Gordon Murray T.50 doors and engine cover opening

The T.50's aerodynamics are as outrageous as the rest of it, and again we've covered them before in full detail. But to recap, this machine reprises Murray's greatest hit in Formula One. But the 1976 Brabham Fan Car, according to Murray, was a "blunt instrument" – a big ol' vacuum, no more, no less, designed purely to suck the BT46 down onto the road. It may have blitzed the F1 field in its only race, but it had little of the versatility and genius Murray has applied to the fan system on the T.50.

This one operates in no fewer than six different modes, combined with the T.50's active underbody aeros and a pair of dynamic rear spoilers. Under hard braking, the fan spins up, the rear spoilers pop all the way up to 45 degrees, the diffuser valves open, and the downforce on the car is instantly doubled to pull you up some 10 meters (33 ft) shorter from 150 mph.

In High Downforce mode, the spoilers sit at 10 degrees and the fan runs at an optimal speed to give you 50 percent more downforce in the corners without compromising too much on drag. In Streamline mode, the spoilers drop to -10 degrees and the diffuser valves close, but the fan runs fast to push air out the back, creating a "virtual longtail" that reduces the car's drag by 12.5 percent while adding 15 kg (33 lb) of air thrust.

That's a Batmobile back end if I ever saw one
That's a Batmobile back end if I ever saw one

V-Max Boost mode does the same as Streamline mode, but uses the car's 48V starter/generator to drive the fan so the fan motor can send its power to the wheels instead. The whole shebang can be set to make its own decisions automatically, or to show off its chops at a standstill. There's a gauge on the dash that shows the level of downforce the fans and diffusers are adding at any given moment.

In terms of looks, the final photos of the car don't disappoint. This is a unique machine with none of the flicks, scoops, big air tunnels and wings that you'd expect form a car so obsessed with downforce and grip. Murray calls it a visually "pure" design, although anyone driving behind you will think they're following the batmobile with that big fan dominating the rear end.

The interior achieves a McLaren-esque sparsity and focus, with sporty seats and plenty of leg room all round. Every control from the gearshift to the tasteful pedals, knobs and dials has been the focus of intense Murray scrutiny, he assures us, and nearly every component is hewn from a solid block of aluminum, including the needle in the analog tacho.

A sparse interior that shows off quality components
A sparse interior that shows off quality components

There are screens, but no touch screens; Murray is from the old school of tactile controls and we think we might be, too. Still, the mirrors are digital, and there's Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to handle navigation and control the 10-speaker, 700-Watt Arcam stereo if the sound of a shrieking V12 isn't enough aural stimulation for you.

Supercars are supposed to be all about excess, presence, ludicrous performance and the elusive "special" factor, and the T.50 delivers all of those in spades. But this car adds something else that no other machine can really claim; it's the unfiltered, untarnished vision of a single man who's spent 20 years designing Formula One cars, and who designed the McLaren F1, still many people's pick as the greatest car of all time, as a practice run. Gordon Murray got to start this project with a blank sheet, final say on everything, and very few constraints thanks to the knowledge that whatever he built would sell at any price.

As a result, he's built his own dream car here in the same way that Christian Von Koenigsegg, Horacio Pagani and Mate Rimac have – but with entirely different priorities to any of these luminaries. His insistence on a naturally aspirated V12 in the face of an industry shifting towards electrification will provide the closest thing on the road to the experience of driving the screaming F1 cars he loves, and the T.50's direct, hand-made, analog approach will surely make it an unforgettable drive even before that crazy fan system kicks in.

We truly hope it makes its way to at least a few buyers that are prepared to thrash the thing instead of treating it as garage jewelry and a money making scheme.

Enjoy a short video below.

T.50 Supercar overview by Gordon Murray

Source: Gordon Murray Automotive

View gallery - 18 images
15 comments
usugo
just 10-20 years too late
WONKY CLERKY
Further to my humble last on this motor carriage:

1: Draft 2 to main point noted:
I now note from close view of video above that the fan outlet has a fairly close grill behind external spoked grill piece.
The inner and finer of the two will most prob' stop most emissions of stones etc picked up and ejected through fan.
+
2: Addendum - Omission:
Forgot to make note of thought another, thought obvious, point, viz:
What will be the effect of road debris sheet plastic (bags etc) / similar being sucked to fan inlets?
Of full point of consequence - Will adhesion be lost (suddenly?) at high speeds?
NB.
The Law of Sod states that such will always happen when all 'on the edge'
ie. In worst possible situation.
+ + +
Conclusion to Date:
From views and info' available (ie. at this point), me humble opinion is that the vehicle is suitable at full use to/near its limits only on closed tracks and is not suitable for use such on public roads where speed limits allow.
ie. Thought suitable for track speed record attempts where no other cars are in proximity.
eg. Speed trials a la Nuremberg Ring + Pikes Peak + Hill climbs similar.

Do hope I'm wrong.

Best Regards + Good Luck
guzmanchinky
Very interesting engineering, confused as to why a car that tries to shave every pound would have so many speakers? That said, this will simply be another plaything for the wealthy folks in Dubai to race each other down the main street, and the new Tesla Roadster (and any other hyper exotic that embraces electric motors) will eat it for lunch.
JD
It is a really well-written article, and a fine car to be certain! Truly state-of-the-art. But the fact that there are people in this world who will drop 20 million dollars on a car while they drive past people who live in their cars without a backward glance is the reason this system needs an overhaul. Also, this vehicle is already an atavism when considered against the fact that virtually every spec will be dwarfed by the next electric supercar.
Ray6969
Nice for sure and I'm sure they will all be sold pretty fast! To bad those same buyers don't show that much consideration for children around the world that go hungry while they buzz around in their 4 million dollar car! Pretty pathetic really!
BlueOak
“design genius Gordon Murray says he's truly 100 percent happy with”.

Except it is ugly and the tail looks like a caricature of a cartoon car.
Bruce H. Anderson
I love it. It has soul. And class. Yeah I know, electric blah-de-blah, digital is better than analog, and microfiber is better than fine wool. That misses the point. It is a different target market and I wish I had the wherewithal to be in it.
Signguy
Only on earth; won't be required in Heaven, 'cause we can travel faster than thought....
paul314
It's priced too low, if the main reason to buy it is to show that you're richer than the other rich enthusiasts. I hope at least one crazy-rich person actually drives it, maybe even gets some scratches on the paint. (If you're a billionaire, that price is like an ordinary person spending maybe a grand on a beater.)
Nelson Hyde Chick
Another toy for the wealthy as the rest of humanity is left to rot.