• Gordon Murray has created a special supercar to celebrate F1 legend, Niki Lauda.
• Only 25 T50s Niki Laudas will be built, with production starting in January 2023.
• The T50s Niki Lauda's 3.9-litre V12 engine offers 540kW.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
Gordon Murray Automotive has unveiled its T.50s Niki Lauda track-focused supercar for the first time. Developed in parallel with the T.50, the most driver-centric supercar ever built, the T.50s Niki Lauda has been conceived, designed, and engineered to offer the ultimate on-track driving experience.
Like the T.50, the T.50s Niki Lauda has been designed and engineered without compromise, but with an even more extreme specification. It weighs just 852kg and will be powered by a substantially redesigned version of the T. 50's Cosworth-engineered 3.9-litre V12, producing 540kW, revving to 12 100rpm and going through a newly-designed Xtrac six-speed paddle-shift gearbox. Advanced aerodynamics, aided by a 400mm rear-mounted fan, will produce up to 1500kg of downforce for optimum track performance.
Just 25 T.50s Niki Laudas will be made, costing £3.1m (before taxes). Production will start in January 2023 at Gordon Murray Automotive's manufacturing centre in Dunsfold, Surrey, UK, after the run of 100 T.50 supercars is completed.
The man himself speaks
Gordon Murray, the man behind the T.50 and T.50s Niki Lauda, says: "The T.50 is the ultimate road-going supercar. But I always dreamt of taking it one step further and build a version that will deliver an on-track driving experience like no other car in history.
"When we created the McLaren F1 GTR, it was developed from the F1 road car. From its inception, the T.50s Niki Lauda, though, was designed in parallel with the T.50. For the T.50 our target was clear, to make the best driver's car for the road. With the T.50s Niki Lauda it was equally clear, to make it the best driver's car for the track. Putting it another way, we asked ourselves what would be the coolest thing to drive on track and create a track driving experience like no other car in history?
"We had no interest in achieving the ultimate lap time or creating an over-tyred and over-downforced spaceship at the expense of driver involvement, because ultimately you have to possess an F1 driver level of skill and fitness to get the best out of them."
Engine and transmission
The Cosworth-designed 3.9-litre V12 engine is a dramatically different version of the engine that powers the T.50. It is even more powerful and faster-revving, too, delivering 530kW at 11 500rpm, on its way to a 12 100rpm rev-limit. At 133kW/litre, the specific power output of the T.50s Niki Lauda's V12 exceeds that of the all-conquering Cosworth DFV Formula 1 engine. The power-to-weight ratio of 614kW/tonne betters that of a naturally aspirated LMP1 car.
The T.50s Niki Lauda's engine is fed by a newly-designed, roof-mounted, high-performance RAM induction airbox (which can increase maximum power to 540kW). The maximum torque figure is 485Nm, produced at 9000rpm. A newly-developed, bespoke, straight-through exhaust system also takes the engine sound to a new level. Right through the rev-range it promises to be one of the greatest and most characterful sounding cars ever made.
A bespoke Xtrac IGS (Instantaneous Gearshift) six-speed paddle shift gearbox is fitted, designed to fit the exacting packaging and weight demands of the T.50s Niki Lauda. As part of Xtrac's efforts to minimise weight wherever possible, even the gears are lighter, contributing to a 5kg total weight reduction. Both the gearbox and the clutch are electronically actuated.
Ratios have been chosen to optimise on-track performance and driver enjoyment and engagement, delivering a top speed of approximately 322 - 338km/h. A set of closer ratios optimised for shorter circuits will also be offered, allowing owners to make the most of all six gears via the steering column-mounted paddles. In this configuration, the T.50s Niki Lauda will reach around 274km/h flat-out.
Murray said: "The T.50s is named in honour of Niki to commemorate his famous win with the Brabham BT46B fan car in the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix. Niki was a great racing driver, and he was also a good friend, and it is absolutely fitting that we are launching the T.50s Niki Lauda on his birthday (22 February). Niki would have appreciated the innovation and engineering detail in our car."
Each of the 25 cars' chassis will be individually named after one of Gordon Murray's Grand Prix wins on different circuits. The first car will be designated Kyalami 1974, and further cars will be named after the 24 subsequent wins in chronological order. Each car will also come with a specially commissioned book about the race that it is named after, with Murray's view and memories of the victory.
The Lauda family said: "We are proud that Gordon Murray Automotive has named its new car after Niki. He would have been extremely honoured to have been associated with a car designed and engineered by Gordon, with whom he had such a long association and friendship."