GMA T.50 – Pole Position In Petrolhead Pantheon

The single most awaited car in generations, the Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 is finally unveiled, and puts into the shade all the over-hyped hybrid hypercars, soulless EV exotics and turbo-boosted supercars around. No less technologically advanced than any of these said and often soul-less supercars, the T.50 is however an object of single-minded purity, much like its now iconic Murray-design McLaren F1 predecessor.

No less than the car that Zeus himself would drive were he an auto enthusiast (or real), it is needless to say that the GMA T.50 won’t come cheap or at an estimated price of over £2 million Sterling before taxes, and certainly won’t be common sight with only 100 examples slated for production. Well out of bound for common garden variety millionaires and something that only a very few motoring journalists will experience, the T50’s specifications and technology tell a story that most will only conjure up in over-active imaginations, fantasies and dreams.

And while surely many a GMA T.50 will immediately be spirited into hiding as a prized collectors car or financial investment by lucky owners as soon as they roll off the production line in 2022, that is however not what Gordon Murray himself has in mind. Virtually a patron saint for petrolheads, Gordon Murray designed the T.50 with the express purpose of being the finest and “greatest analogue driver’s car” in the world, with three decades of technological advancement since the F1, contributing to a meticulously engineered and minutely honed singular vision.

A true driver’s car with fastidious attention to weight reduction, the compact T.50 weighs in at just 986kg and measures only 4,352mm long and 1,850mm wide. About a third lighter than most super and hypercar competitors, the T.50’s lightweight is intended to deliver the sort of agility and responsiveness that cannot be fully replicated by heavier cars, even with the use of complicated active suspension and sophisticated electronic systems. Packing the world’s most power intensive road-going V12 in the middle of its rear-drive carbon-fibre frame, the T.50’s 3.9-litre naturally-aspirated engine constitutes a semi-structural component.

An intensely high revving engine co-developed with Cosworth, the T.50’s bespoke engine that can spin up to a scintillating maximum 12,100rpm, yet delivers 71% of its torque by just 2,500rpm for versatile and tractable low-speed daily driving. Producing a maximum 653BHP at 11,500rpm and 344lb/ft torque at 9,000rpm, the T.50’s engine however can – with ram induction – increase output to 690BHP for short bursts in V-Max Boost driving mode. Delivering superb power-to-weight figures and exceptionally sophisticated aerodynamic airflow management, the T.50’s performance figures should be quite remarkable, when released.

With its free revving V12 doing its part to contribute the 50% that Gordon Murray estimates as what an engine factors in to a driving experience and the pleasure derived from it, the GMA T.50 will undoubtedly also benefit from exceptional dynamic abilities and interactively analogue driving feel given its meticulous suspension set-up and tuning, balance and light weight. However, the GMA T.50 goes further in its immersive old school appeal to dyed-in-the-wool petrolheads, with the now rare use of a real three-pedal 6-speed (plus overdrive) manual gearbox in a modern supercar.

Though steering clear of the hybrid and electric route, the GMA T.50 does however feature a 48-volt starter-generator system that powers the car’s distinctive ground effects fan.  Perhaps the GMA T.50’s biggest trick up the sleeve, its ground effects aerodynamic fan, which harks back to Murray’s iconic 1978 Brabham BT46B Formula 1 ‘Fan Car’, and is in short a sophisticated fan system that serves to pull the car more tightly to the ground for through a system of inlets, ducts, diffuser, Venturi tunnel and the rear aerofoil.

Doubling as a cooling system, the T.50’s fan generates huge levels of grip and stability, but with several modes available, can also work to reduce drag and enhance efficiency, and is positioned centrally and behind the middle driving position, and so accentuates the GMA T.50’s symmetric sense of balance and central line emphasis. Lending the T.50 a certain Batmobile vibe despite an otherwise beautifully understated yet viscerally and timelessly elegant design. Featuring up-swinging doors for easy access, the GMA T.50 accommodates three passengers abreast, with the driver in the middle, like its F1 predecessor.

– Press Release –

T.50 – Rewriting the supercar rule book

  • Engineered to be the most driver-centric supercar ever built
  • Full exterior and interior revealed showing design purity and fastidious attention to detail
  • 3.9-litre V12 is the world’s lightest, highest-revving, most power dense naturally-aspirated road car engine
  • 986kg total vehicle weight is lighter than the typical supercar by almost a third
  • Most advanced and effective aerodynamics ever seen on a road car, enabled by Murray’s unique rear-mounted fan
  • Far from a track-focused tool, T.50 offers day-to-day usability, practicality refinement and comfort alongside its ferocious performance
  • Limited to production run of just 100

4 August 2020, UK – Gordon Murray Automotive has unveiled its T.50 supercar in full for the first time, showing the finished exterior and interior design and confirming its ground-breaking technical specifications. The T.50 has been engineered to be the purest, lightest, most driver-centric supercar ever.

Improving on his acclaimed McLaren F1 “in every conceivable way”, Professor Gordon Murray CBE is leading the team that will begin building customer versions of the 986kg supercar in January 2022. Justifying its £2.36m (before taxes) price tag, the T.50 promises to deliver an unsurpassed driving experience. It is powered by a 100% bespoke 3.9-litre, 663PS V12 engine that revs to a record-breaking 12,100rpm, and features the most advanced and effective aerodynamics ever seen on a road car – aided by a 400mm rear-mounted fan.

The global premiere is the first time the clean lines of the exterior and the driver-focused interior have been seen. From his first ballpoint sketches, to every engineering and design detail, Murray has led the Gordon Murray Automotive team and briefed and overseen suppliers to drive the project forward at an unrelenting pace. Murray’s design for T.50 was the 50th in a prestigious line of race and road cars he’s penned over his illustrious 50-year career – both reasons combining to name the car T.50.

The most dominant characteristics of the T.50 exterior design are its purity and balance, free from the wings, skirts and vents that adorn most modern-day supercars. The clean surfaces are enabled by the most advanced and effective aerodynamics ever seen on a road car, resulting in deliberately simple, beautiful lines and a timeless appearance.

The purity of the silhouette is broken dramatically when the pair of dihedral doors rise up and forwards, coming to rest high above the passenger cabin. Inside, the driver-centric approach is plain to see – from the central, jet fighter-like driving position, to the aerospace-grade primary and secondary controls arranged in an ‘ergonomic bubble’ around the driver.

Quality of materials, the utmost precision, and simplicity of visuals define the whole car, but nowhere is this more evident than inside the cockpit. British suppliers are responsible for every major component throughout the interior, as well as every facet of the car’s exquisitely-engineered underpinnings – an attribute insisted upon by Murray who was determined the T.50 would be a true British sports car.

From the record-breaking V12 engine, and best lightweight transmission, to the world-first aerodynamic package and the feather-light titanium throttle pedal, every element is 100% bespoke and crafted by a British company that leads in its field. Murray pushed each supplier to their limits to deliver ingenuity, the highest quality and of course new levels of lightness.

With a vision that the car, and every element of its componentry, would be considered ‘engineering art’, Murray set out to create a vehicle that surpassed all others, fostering new levels of pride and connection among owners. Every T.50 customer has the opportunity to meet Murray to discuss their car and personalise it inside and out. Part of this process includes a seat, steering wheel and pedals ‘fitting’ session – personalised to every owner – that will ensure the T.50 is ergonomically perfect and individualised for each discerning customer.

Murray: “Just 100 customers will share my vision, a car created to improve on the F1 formula in every conceivable way. With 30 years of technological and systems advancement, now, the time is right to design the greatest analogue driver’s car. I believe no other company could deliver what we will bring to market in 2022, producing this British supercar will be my proudest moment.”

The T.50 mission – Driving perfection

Murray: “From the first touch of the titanium throttle pedal to the V12 screaming at 12,100rpm, the driver experience will surpass any supercar ever built. No other road car can deliver the package of power, instant responsiveness and driver feedback in such a direct and focused way while remaining comfortable, refined and usable every day.”

At the heart of T.50 ethos is the ultimate, sensory-rich driving experience, which all starts with the central driving position. The ‘jet-fighter’ style seating position affords an unhindered view out of the cabin, offering the type of pure driving experience usually associated with a single-seater race car layout.

Murray insists that the engine contributes to at least 50% of a great driving experience. With this in mind, Murray set out to create the greatest ever V12. The bespoke Cosworth GMA unit hits the mark as the world’s highest revving, fastest responding, most power dense, and lightest road-going V12. In terms of aural enjoyment, the T.50 raucous 12,100rpm redline will certainly deliver on wow-factor. The car also features Direct Path Induction Sound – a system pioneered on the McLaren F1 and refined on the T.50 to channel the sound of the throttle-induced induction growl into the cabin.

A cold-air ram induction intake sits immediately above the driver’s head, and carefully crafted carbon fibre panels in the roof act as a loudspeaker, amplifying engine sound within the cabin. The system is actuated by throttle angle and not revs, meaning the T.50 is quiet and refined on part throttle, growing louder as the throttle opens.

Inside the cabin, all of the T.50’s ergonomically-placed analogue controls are beautifully weighted. From communicative steering, which delivers pinpoint accuracy, to the weighting of the six-speed manual transmission and titanium throttle pedal, the engineering focus has always been on driving perfection.

During testing, the manual H-pattern gearchange motion and weighting was honed meticulously. Signed-off personally by Murray, the T.50 provides ‘the ultimate gearchange’ – a tactile short throw with a narrow cross gate for smooth, crisp, satisfying gearchanges.

The T.50’s kerb weight of 986kg makes it the lightest supercar of the modern era, lower than the average supercar weight by almost a third. Thanks to the focus on lightweighting, the car offers unparalleled levels of agility, responsiveness and driver focus. The T.50 is a car that is created to be ‘alive’ at normal road speeds, not only when the revs climb past 10,000rpm. It will entertain and engage on low-speed daily trips, as well as when driving on the open road just for the thrill of it.

With minimal interference from driver aids the driving experience is left to shine – importantly, ESP and traction control, can be disabled entirely. The technologies that do influence performance – for example, the six aero modes enabled through active and interactive fan-assisted aerodynamics – enhance rather than numb the drive experience. The 400mm rear-mounted fan expands the car’s performance capabilities significantly versus an ordinary ground-effect supercar. In partnership with the active rear spoilers and interactive diffusers, the fan helps to increase downforce by 50% (in Braking Mode 100% more downforce is generated); reduce drag by 12.5%; add around 50PS to the car’s output, in combination with ram-air induction; and cut braking distance by 10m from 150mph.

Sitting prominently at the rear of the car, the fan is just one example of ‘engineering art’ on the T.50. Another, about which Murray feels passionately, is the engine. Murray detests carbon or plastic engine covers so, upon raising the twin gullwing openings that span the rear half of the car, the Cosworth GMA V12 engine sits proudly on display with its cam covers, primary exhaust manifolds and inlet trumpets all taking centre stage.

It is Murray’s pride in perfection that has shaped every facet of the T.50. Calling the exterior styling “a return to beauty” the clean lines and visual balance seek to deliver a timeless design that will help the T.50 age gracefully, a fresh and lasting celebration of motoring engineering – the ultimate analogue supercar.

Commenting on the journey so far, Murray said: “For the past 18 months, the T.50 team has lived and breathed the ethos of the car, accomplishing everything we set out to achieve and more. I couldn’t be happier with the car and the team – they’re by far the best I’ve ever worked with.”

T.50 supercar – key details

Focal point for every T.50 decision: The driver

T.50 is the most driver-centric supercar ever made. From the driver’s position right in the middle of the car, to the placement of controls, the sound of the engine, and the responsiveness of the throttle.

Overview

  • 50 breaks from performance-car convention, weighing significantly less than any other current supercar and delivering an unrivalled driving experience
  • Gordon Murray Automotive is not chasing power or top speed figures
  • Its engine is designed to deliver optimum performance, not to hit prescribed power, speed or acceleration target
  • It has the most advanced and effective aerodynamics of any road car
  • Non-committee-based vision and control enables purity of decision making
  • Purity of design – no unsightly flaps / vents / wings
  • Daily usability – comfort for three passengers with good luggage space, day-to-day refinement and practicality

Key points – Detail

  • From January 2022, 100 exclusive customer cars will be built at Gordon Murray Automotive’s production site in the UK
  • Price: £2.36m (before taxes)
  • As the 50th distinct design by Professor Gordon Murray, CBE, the T.50 also celebrates Murray’s 50-year long career
  • A true British supercar
    • All engineering, design and styling is by Gordon Murray Design
    • Powertrain, body, and chassis will all be made in the UK
    • All major components are UK-sourced

Chassis and body

  • Chassis and body constructed from high-grade carbon fibre
  • Carbon tub monocoque provides exceptional stiffness and torsional rigidity
  • Carbon fibre body panels ensure lightness – total body including monocoque weighs less than 150kg
  • Monocoque construction and F1-style ‘passenger safety cell’ provides exceptional occupant safety protection
  • Glazing is 28% thinner than typical glass delivering valuable weight saving

Aerodynamics

  • The most advanced aerodynamics of any road car
  • Unique 400mm ground-effect fan combines with active underbody aerodynamics and two dynamic rear spoilers to aid performance and help deliver an unrivalled driving experience
  • Six aero modes enable driver to optimise dynamic and outright performance
    • Auto / High downforce / Streamline / Braking / Test / V-Max Boost
      • Streamline Mode – creates a ‘virtual longtail’
      • V-Max Boost Mode and ram induction raise T.50 output to 700PS

Design

  • Design combines purity and drama
  • No unsightly vents, ducts, or flaps due to intelligent aerodynamic design
  • Striking dihedral doors deliver drama alongside practicality for easy access
  • Engineering art features throughout the car

Engine

  • 100% bespoke 3.9-litre V12 Cosworth GMA engine
    • Power: 663PS @ 11,500rpm
    • Torque: 467Nm @ 9,000rpm (71% of max torque available from 2,500rpm)
  • The highest-revving naturally-aspirated road car engine ever (12,100rpm)
  • Most-responsive naturally-aspirated engine ever (28,400 revs per second pick-up)
  • The most power-dense naturally-aspirated engine ever (166PS-per-litre)
  • The lightest road-going V12 ever = 178kg
  • The best V12 sound ever
  • Engine fully on show beneath gullwing-opening ‘viewing gallery’

Transmission

  • Xtrac manual H-pattern six-speed transmission
  • Five close ratios, geared for acceleration, with a longer sixth ratio for cruising
  • Casing engineered from aluminium, cast at just 2.4mm thickness
  • Lightweight gearbox weighs just 80.5kg

Vehicle dynamics and lightweighting

  • Total vehicle weight just 986kg – Almost a third lighter than a typical supercar (approx. 1,436kg). Dry weight 957kg
  • Weight-to-power = 150.77kg per 100PS (typical supercar = 210kg per 100PS)
  • Power-to-weight = 672PS/tonne (or >700PS/tonne with V-Max Boost Mode and ram induction)
  • Forged aluminium double wishbone suspension, with forged aluminium uprights
  • Simple rack and pinion steering setup engineered for driving purity with low-speed power assistance (LSPA)
  • Semi-structural engine and transmission saves weight while retaining refinement
  • Lightweight bearing carriers and hubs with one locking nut reduce un-sprung mass
  • Brembo calipers and carbon ceramic discs for ultimate stopping power and braking feel

Interior

  • Jet fighter-style central driving position ensures optimal visibility, balance and a totally-immersive driving experience
  • Driver-centric controls
  • Well-appointed, comfortable, refined
  • Premium audio sound system – 10 speakers, 700W (nominal)
  • Android Auto / Apple CarPlay with Bluetooth phone connectivity

Everyday usability and analogue features

  • Comfortable seating for three adults
  • Easy ingress and egress
  • Class-leading, usable luggage space – up to 288 litres
  • Refined cabin environment
  • 120mm front and 140mm rear ride heights for practical everyday use
  • Incredibly compact footprint – comparable to a Porsche Boxster
  • Analogue rev counter and minimal controls / no column stalks or touchscreens
  • No turbos, no hybrid – just an exquisitely engineered V12 engine
  • ‘GT mode’ engine map for improved day to day drivability