Gordon Murray is one of the great names in automotive history. He worked with Brabham and McLaren in Formula 1, including the Ayrton Senna days. He was responsible for the McLaren F1 supercar, and he continues to develop unique concept cars. His latest machine, the Gordon Murray Automotive T.50, has already been announced, but now we’re getting our first good look at it, along with details on the aerodynamics that are being developed in collaboration with the Racing Point Formula One team.
Murray’s company only released one photo and an aerodynamic diagram of the car, with the full reveal coming in May, but it reveals the most interesting aspect of the car’s design: its 15.75-inch fan on the back. The T.50 will take after the 1970 Chaparral 2J Can-Am race car and Murray’s own 1978 Brabham BT46B Formula One race car that used a combination of a fan and side skirts to pull air from under the car to create a vacuum underneath to suck it down onto the pavement. It can potentially provide massive downforce at speeds that won’t allow traditional aero devices like wings and spoilers to operate. The fan technology was a dead end in motorsports, banned in some series and never fully overcoming issues with debris being pulled into the system. And in the event that something went wrong, say the fan shut off or the skirts broke, there could be a sudden and dangerous loss of downforce.
But the T.50 won’t have to meet motorsport regulations, so that’s one issue addressed. And the company also notes that this system works without needing skirts around the car to produce a seal. Murray Automotive says the fan won’t just be for downforce, but also for reducing drag and improving cooling in some situations.
The aerodynamics are customizable, too, with six different settings. There’s an Auto Mode that simply adjusts based on how the car is being driven. The Braking Mode sets the spoilers and fan to produce maximum downforce for stability and grip. The company claims this reduces stopping distances from 150 mph by nearly 33 feet. The High Downforce Mode increases downforce by 30%. The Streamline Mode reduces drag by 10% for higher top speed and better efficiency. Test Mode is used when the car is stationary to demonstrate and check that everything is functioning. Then there’s the Vmax Mode that uses the Streamline Mode settings, but also kicks on the electric starter-generator motor to provide around 30 horsepower for up to 3 minutes.
Of course the looks and aerodynamics are only one part of an amazing package. As previously announced, the T.50 will use a Cosworth 4.0-liter V12 that redlines at 12,100 rpm. That’s about 1,000 rpm higher than the Mercedes-AMG Project One, which uses an engine directly derived from its Formula One race car. It will make 650 horsepower, and it will be coupled to the aforementioned starter-generator motor. All power goes to the rear wheels by a traditional 6-speed manual transmission. Everything is wrapped in a carbon fiber body and chassis that help the car to tip the scales at just 2,161 pounds. Suspension is a tried-and-true double-wishbone design for all four corners. The driver will take command of the car from a center-mounted seat just like the McLaren F1 supercar, and two passenger seats will be set back on either side.
Only 100 Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s will be built, and each one will cost over £2 million, or about $2.6 million. Many have already been claimed, but the company says there are still some build slots open. Deliveries of the finished cars will begin in January 2022, with all deliveries to be completed by the end of that year.