• Gordon Murray Automotive showed off a racing version of the recently-unveiled T50 supercar.
• The T50s is even lighter than the road–going version, it tips the scales at just 890kg.
• SA–born Murray focuses on lightweight, high-powered cars, and the race-tuned Cosworth V12 boasts more than 514kW.
• Murray: "We've changed hundreds of parts to optimise the car for racing and track use."
After Gordon Murray unveiled his latest supercar, the T50, in July I became obsessed with listening to every podcast the South African-born designer was featured on.
The 74-year-old chatted to British car journalists about everything from the McLaren F1 to his Brabham fan car and of course, his latest creation, the T50.
It's without a doubt the spiritual successor to the Murray-designed F1. It's arguably the last analog supercar ever, and keeps the core philosophy we've come to know from Murray's cars: lightweight, normally-aspirated engine and a central seating position.
The T.50 weighs just 980kg and is powered by the world's highest-revving (12 100r/min) road car engine: a naturally-aspirated four-litre V12 powertrain which produces 484kW.
It's also the lightest road-going V12 yet courtesy of the Cosworth powertrain engineers, who have got the weight of the engine down to less than 180kg, that's more 60kg lighter than the BMW S70/2 V12 in the McLaren F1.
In the podcasts, Murray mentions a racing version of the T50. In early September, the company released details of the £3.1m (before taxes) car.
Code named T50S, the racing derivative weighs even less than the 'normal' version, has more power and half of them have already been sold.
It weighs just 890kg, and its bespoke Cosworth-sourced V12 engine develops even more power.
The new car also features a 1758mm-wide delta wing mounted to the rear of the car, which works with the rear-mounted fan, a new front splitter, underbody aerofoil and adjustable diffusers to generate more than 1500kg of downforce – 170% of the weight of the car.
Unlike the road car, the The T50s operates in high downforce mode at all times, with the underbody diffuser ducts open fully and the fan running permanently at 7000r/min.
On the engine front, power is boosted to over 515kW due to completely revised cylinder heads and camshafts, a higher compression ratio, plus an all-new free flow exhaust system.
Murray said: "With no noise or emission legislation to contend with, we could unleash the full potential of the GMA V12 engine and its 12,100r/min. More than 50 components have been changed in the engine alone and the power can top 536kW when factoring in the new ram-air induction system."
Inside it's all about performance. The cabin is stripped-back and devoid of the road-car's instrumentation, air-conditioning, infotainment, storage compartments, and carpets.
The central driving position is retained but this this time in a new carbon fibre racing seat fitted with a six-point harness. To the left of the driver, just one passenger seats remains allowing for a co-driver… or a very brave passenger! The steering wheel is a Formula 1-style rectangular carbon fibre design.
Murray and his team have been in discussion with Stéphane Ratel of SRO regarding the potential for a GT1 sports club and race series for current supercars. The company says it will offer a full range of pit, garage, and support equipment for the T50s.
As mentioned before, more than half of the T50s models are spoken for, and production of the 25 racing T50s cars will only begin in the first quarter of 2023.
Gordon Murray is a remarkable designer and for him cars are all about packaging. His focus is how can you make a car good to drive, comfortable to sit in on long journeys, and capable of carrying luggage, and that transcends to supercars too.
We won't see anything like the McLaren F1, GMA T50, and now the T50s ever again.
Compiled by Sean Parker