In the mid-2010s, gearheads were salivating over the McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari, and Porsche 918. Meanwhile, Gordon Murray was shaking his head. Murray knows a thing or two about speed. The legendary Formula One designer built championship winning cars for Brabham and McLaren over a period of almost two decades. After leaving racing, he helped design one of the most iconic supercars of all-time — the McLaren F1.
A lot of time has passed since the McLaren F1 debuted. While Murray never really left the automotive world, he hasn’t exactly grabbed headlines often. Not like he is now, at least. That’s because the designer’s company, Gordon Murray Automotive (GMA), has just announced the their first supercar, the T.50.
On the surface, the T.50 is like a lot of other supercars. It’s lightweight, packs a V12 engine, and has a sleek and sexy design. However, while the T.50 looks modern, it’s actually a throwback of sorts. It’s a machine that will appeal to gearheads who long for the days of big engines and manual transmissions. The T.50 reportedly won’t hit the road until 2022, but it’s already making waves in the automotive world. Here’s why.
It Packs a Naturally Aspirated V12 and a Manual Gearbox
The GMA T.50 is powered by a mid-mounted Cosworth-built 4.0-liter V12 engine. It was designed to be as light as possible. It sounds like the designers succeeded. Despite producing 654 horsepower and 344 lb-ft of torque, the T.50’s power plant weighs just 392 pounds. Unlike many modern supercars, power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission with an H-pattern gearbox. GMA hasn’t released performance figures yet. However, they did promise that the engine will go from zero to its redline of 12,000 rpm in just three-tenths of a second.
It’s Seriously Light
Did we mention this thing is light? Lotus founder Colin Chapman had a simple philosophy when it came to designing performance cars: “Simplify, then add lightness.” GMA has taken Chapman’s philosophy to the extreme with the T.50. It weighs just 2,173 pounds, or just about 200 pounds less than a Fiat 500. The T.50 was specifically designed to be as light as possible, from its carbon-fiber monocoque chassis to the pedals, which were intentionally designed with holes to help cut weight.
It’s the Only Supercar With a Fan
The Brabham BT46 is one of Murray’s most famous F1 cars because of its rear-mounted fan. Rather than providing cooling, the BT46’s fan was primarily designed to increase downforce by extracting air from under the car. The T.50’s rear-mounted fan is powered by a 48-volt electric motor that can temporarily boost the supercar’s max power to 690 ponies and generate 33 extra pounds of thrust. In addition to helping the T.50 stick to the road and upping its power, the fan serves another purpose. It kept GMA from compromising the T.50’s design.
The T.50 doesn’t pack a massive front splitter, enlarged side skirts, or a beefy rear wing. The T.50 doesn’t actually look like it’s designed for the track. However, it should be able to hang with other track-only supercars like the Aston Martin Valkyrie, McLaren F1 GTR, and Mercedes-AMG One. At least through the bends.
It’s the F1’s Spiritual Successor
GMA’s new supercar has a cabin that can best be described as the spiritual successor to the McLaren F1. The driver sits front and center. The two passengers sit just over the shoulder, on either side. Passengers who don’t like going fast will have a hard time enjoying the T.50’s cabin though. It doesn’t feature a touchscreen or any other modern technology, aside from a 10-speaker 700-watt sound system. Yes, all of the gauges and controls are completely analog, which lends an old-school feel to the T.50.
The nods to the F1 are also apparent on the exterior, which features a roof scoop and dihedral doors. Those front air vents are also reminiscent of the iconic ‘90s supercar, too. The McLaren Speedtail is technically the spiritual successor to the F1, but the T.50 looks to be more deserving of that title.
It’ll Be Hard to Find on the Road
GMA is essentially the auto industry’s version of a startup. As such, it doesn’t plan to mass produce the T.50. Only 100 models will reportedly be made, and each one is said to cost a cool $2.6 million. Murray told Jalopnik that a further 25 track-only T.50 models will be made, but that those cars aren’t for sale. Here are some more pictures of this amazing vehicle, courtesy GordonMurrayAutomotive.com.