autoevolution

2023 Gordon Murray T.50 Review

BODY TYPE: Exotic
Back in 1992, the greatest supercar that ever was came to be. It was called McLaren F1, and it was the brainchild of a South African designer by the name of Gordon Murray.
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Since then, other cars penned by Murray came to be, from the T.25 city car prototype to the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. But none were as spectacular as the F1.

That changed in 2019 when Murray announced an F1 successor is in the works, but not as part of McLaren, but rather of his own project, Gordon Murray Automotive (GMA).

To be called T.50, the supercar is hailed as one that will rewrite the “rulebook for road-car aerodynamics,” featuring the “most advanced and most effective aerodynamics ever seen on a road car.”

1Exterior design & features

At the time of this posting, only one clear image of the T.50 has been released, so there’s not much to go on visually when describing the car. Yet, the rear end presented to us, the wealth of details made public, and our imagination combine to create a pretty close picture of what’s to come. 

The car is built with a full carbon fiber monocoque and carbon fiber body mounted on a 2,700 mm wheelbase. It stands 4,349 mm long, 1,850 mm wide, and just 1,152 mm tall. These dimensions amount to a total weight of 980 kg.

When looking at the car, the thing that strikes the most is the lack of any vents, ducts, or flaps. That’s because the T.50 generates its downforce not on top of the car, but from beneath it. And the best proof for that is the huge, 400 mm fan fitted at the rear.

The fan, which makes the car look as if it is straight out of a superhero movie, thanks in part to the engine ram induction duct in the roof, is part of the ground-effect system that runs beneath. This system is used to accelerate air passing under the car and force it out the rear, through active boundary-layer control ducts included in the rear diffuser.

In doing so, and with the help of rear aerofoils, the car is literally sucked to the ground and remains on all fours at high speeds. 

From the side, the T.50 shows a radiator exit duct outlet right behind the front wheel and what appears to be a dihedral door.

2Interior design, features
and passenger space

As far as the interior goes, there are no images, and the details released so far by Murray do not paint a very clear picture.

What we do know is that the T.50 will be a three-seater, with the driver located up front and in a central position, and the two passengers offset to the left and right behind him.

3Gadgets

There is no indication yet as to what Murray will use for the user interface. We do not know the size of the screen, how many will there be, and so on.

Given that this is a performance car, and given Murray’s past at McLaren, don’t expect the T.50 to be ultra-high-tech as far as gadgets are concerned. After all, weight is of the essence in such a car, and any extra hardware fitted affects that.

4Performance

Engine-wise, the rear-wheel-drive T.50 is part of a dying breed. Under its hood, Murray will hide a naturally aspirated Cosworth 3.9-liter engine in V12 configuration. And not just any Cosworth, but the highest-revving road car engine ever made. Capable of developing 650 hp and 450 Nm of torque, the engine can rev without issues at a maximum of 12,100 rpm. 

The standard 650 hp troop can be increased for short periods with the help of a 48-volt integrated starter-generator and changes made to the car’s fan functions to a total of 700 hp.

This output is only possible in one of the six modes available for the car, the one called Vmax. When engaged, it gives the car extra punch for up to three minutes by adding power to the crankshaft.

Of the six modes, two are engaged without driver input. The first is Auto, the default setting of the car. The second is called Braking Mode, and it is the one that helps the rear aerofoils and fan automatically engage while traveling at high speeds. 

Streamline Mode is used to reduce drag by ten percent and boost straight-line speed, High Downforce Mode does just what its name says and provides better traction, and Test Mode is used when the car is at standstill – it should have been called Show-Off mode, because when engaged it puts the aero system through its paces in front of a crowd.

5Safety

There aren't many details about the safety features that will go into the car either, apart from one little fact that is somewhat related to the aerodynamics.

The performance figures have not been revealed, but the car is expected to be ultra-fast, so keeping it on track and stopping it in time is crucial. To help with that, Murray created the Braking mode, a system that automatically deploys the rear aerofoils and fans to enhance stability and grip. 

In this mode, the T.50 stops 10 meters shorter from 150 mph than with the system off.

6Conclusion

The official and full unveiling of the T.50 is scheduled to take place in May 2020, but that hasn’t stopped potential buyers from expressing interest in the car.

Only 100 units of it will be made, each priced at £2 million before taxes. Most of them have already been spoken for, says Murray, especially by customers from the U.S. and Japan. The first customer delivery will not take place before January 2022.