'It will have the best gear change of any supercar' - Gordon Murray on the T50

Gordon Murray. Image: Gord Murray Design
Gordon Murray. Image: Gord Murray Design

• South African born car designer Gordon Murray unveiled a new supercar, the T50.

• The T50 is powered by a bespoke naturally-aspirated V12 engine, the lightest for a road car. 

• The Cosworth-sourced engine produces 487kW and 467Nm and red lines at a dizzying 12 100r/min.

Synonymous with the McLaren F1, Gordon Murray is once again rewriting the supercar rule book. It's called the T50. And like the F1 built in 1992, it has three seats, a central driving position, and a normally-aspirated V12 engine. 

With the T50, the South African born designer and his team at Gordon Murray Automotive (GMA) have built the antidote to the modern hypercar. 

Murray says now is the right time to build a car like the F1. He questioned why no one had attempted it to build an F1, driver-focused supercar. 

The state of modern supercars is that they are bigger, heavier and more complicated and more distant from offering a pure driving experience. That's where the motivation came for building the T50. 

The T50 is no bigger than a Porsche Boxster, it has 228 litres of luggage capacity even when traveling with three people and you don't have to worry about damaging the lip when driving over a speed bump. It sits 120mm off the ground in front and 140mm at the rear. 

Murrays says he was under pressure to build more than 100 cars in order to lower the price. 

"I want people to use these (T50) like they used the F1 before they got unusable due to the price," he told Chris Harris on a podcast. 

Most of the people who have expressed interest in the T50 are under 45 years old but missed out on experiencing the F1 because of how ridiculously expensive it is. 

The 487kW and 467Nm are channeled via a bespoke Xtrac H-pattern manual transmission that Murray says will have the best gear change of any supercar. The gearbox is designed to offer driver enjoyment. 

"The gearchange motion and weighting was honed meticulously until we achieved the perfect end result. The outcome is a narrow cross gate and a short throw. It delivers slick, crisp gear changes – truly a joy for the driving enthusiast," says Murray. 

It's that type of attention to detail that is evident in every detail of the car. The five close ratios are geared for acceleration with the sixth gear for cruising. There's a GT mode that reduces power to 'only' 441kW and limits the revs to 9500r/min.

At the heart of the T50 is the world's lightest naturally aspirated V12 engine ever. It red lines at 12 100r/min and thankfully that noise is filtered into the cabin to bring music to the occupants ears. It weighs just 178kg.

The T50's base is a carbon fibre monocoque shell. The emphasis is on low weight, as seen by the engine and gearbox but also a lightweight body. The carbon fibre body panels ensure lightness and the total body including monocoque weighs less than 150kg. 

Less weight means going faster. And going fast in a car that feels fun to drive is what people want. You don't want to feel like a passenger while in the driver's seat. You want to feel in control, and that's what the T50 is designed to do. 

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