Gordon Murray´s T.50 – Truly in a class of its own
The McLaren F1. The name has etched itself in history, and the car has become a true legend. However, even something legendary can lose its edge with the years. It is therefore amazing to see Gordon Murray, which once was a true force to be reckoned with in F1, once again rewrite the rule book for what a true driver oriented car should be. It’s called the T.50, which while the name has logic and reason behind it, could sound a bit more imaginative. But that’s what happens when an engineer starts naming cars.
986 kg and 663 hp. These numbers are utterly bonkers. As light as an Alpine A110, but with over twice the horsepower, the T.50 has a power to weight ratio close to purpose built single seater race cars. What is even more amazing is the fact that power comes from a naturally aspirated V12. Nothing amazing here, but redline is reached at 12,100 rpm. Apart from the Aston Martin Valkyrie, nothing on the road comes close. Built by Cosworth, the car not only revs to the moon, the speed of which it revs, 28400 rpm/s to be exact, gives a throttle response that is impressive even for a naturally aspirated engine. There is so much to write about the engine alone that it could fill an entire page, but from what has already been written, I think you are getting the point.
Built around the driver, the driver’s seat is in the middle, which will also be individually fitted to each buyer. The result is a three seater which you will hit the apex with at every corner. The interior has been removed of any unnecessary weight, resulting in an almost retro-modern look. The dials of the F1 was as ugly and mismatched as my 3rd degree Christmas sweater, and if you take a close look at the warning button in the T.50, the logo is actually not centered. I have to admit that the raw finish of the armrest, which is actually not an armrest because you have nowhere to place your arm, in conjunction with the skeletal structure of the gearbox gives me goosebumps. The length of Gordon´s team has gone in the act of reducing weight is astonishing. By optimizing the shape of the pedals, 600 grams has been removed.
What has made people really talking is something that has been famous for centuries. The so called fan car. The car that raced and destroyed its competition and eventually being lobbied to become illegal by bitter rivals. A simple fan mounted at the back proved so effective, it literally sucked the car to the ground, even at slower speeds. Since the T.50 is a road car, and only needs to obey safety laws, it has a fan too. But this is not some simple afterthought. This might get technical, but hear me out. With aerodynamics, it is all about controlling the air that is going above, underneath and behind the car. As a rule of thumb, with increased downforce, you add drag, unless you in some way can control the air that leaves the rear of the car. Here’s where the splitter and the fan comes in. The fan comes on and works together with the splitter and under tray, magic happens and woops, you have both increased downforce and reduced drag. Different modes are available to choose the level of downforce. With modes such as V-max boost and braking mode, it seems that if you are at a race track, you will have to work as a race car driver and twist knobs on the steering wheel to have the optimum setting at each corner. However, there are no goals of highest top speed, fastest acceleration, etc. These only come as a byproduct of the car itself. The same as the F1 became the fastest car in the world without being designed to be just that.
Here´s the deal. It looks tame. With cars such as the new Mercedes GT Black Series, Aston Martin Valkyrie and Koenigseggs, the flowing lines and simplicity of the T.50 goes against the current super and hyper car trends and standards. But since it is so simple, it also looks timeless, and will surely become a future classic, such as the F1 was. Put the two cars next to each other and the similarities are undeniable. And with a current price of 2 million euros, you better act quickly.