It’ll be ultra-light, on top of being usable everyday and in between those three seats there will be the stick for a manual box

Ever since McLaren unveiled the F1, people have been waiting, eyebrows up, for whatever else Gordon Murray might be cooking. The genius designer who made his name in the world of Formula 1 and designed such groundbreaking cars like the Brabham BT46B and the Brabham BT55 is finally ready to talk about his next creation. Named the T.50, it’s a car tailored after the F1 with a Cosworth-developed 3.9-liter, naturally aspirated V-12 developing 650 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of twist. The cabin will take three and, as is the case with the F1, Murray won’t make judgments on the top speed.

If last time around Murray was contracted by McLaren to create a road car that would incorporate the F1 know-how of Ron Dennis’ squad, now, it’s all done on Murray’s terms. That’s because the T.50 will be built by Gordon Murray Automotive and it will be designed top to bottom in-house by Gordon Murray Design. A carbon fiber monocoque will hide underneath the sleek body of the T.50, and this will ensure Murray-approved levels of lightness. Remember, the 72-year-old designer has never been a fan of the modern supercars and hypercars that put out buckets of horsepower only to be pegged back by a generous heft - like the 4,400 pounds of a standard Bugatti Chiron. As such, the T.50 will only weigh 2,160 pounds (under a tonne), and you can be sure you won’t miss one on the road since that V-12 will be able to rev all the way up to 12,1000 rpm! Yes, the T.50 will have four wheels, not two.

The Gordon Murray T.50 will not be the fastest car ever but it won’t matter

Gordon Murray is working on a spiritual McLaren F1 successor
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Many of you probably expect the Gordon Murray T.50 to shatter speed records much like the F1 did.

After all, the BMW-engined McLaren was clocked (on a two-way average) at 240 mph in 1998, making it 40 mph quicker than the Ferrari F40 and almost 30 mph quicker than the RUF CTR and the Porsche 959 S.

The F1 only had 618 horsepower to work with from the 6.1-liter S70/2 naturally aspirated unit so the T.50 with 650 ponies on tap should be quicker, right?

Well, this may not be the case. Let’s not forget that, since the McLaren F1 came and went, the speed record for production cars went up quite a bit, and the current fastest production car is Koenigsegg’s Agera RS that achieved a two-way average of 277.9 mph, its top speed in one of the runs being 284 mph. That was back in 2017 and, since then, nobody has even tried to challenge Koenigsegg. Bugatti said it’s not interested to test the top speed of the Chiron while other companies, such as Hennessey with its Venom F5, have yet to produce valid evidence that they had something that went faster.

Gordon Murray is working on a spiritual McLaren F1 successor
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As such, you can understand why Murray said that "I have absolutely no interest in chasing records for top speed or acceleration. Our focus is instead on delivering the purest, most rewarding driving experience of any supercar ever built – but, rest assured, it will be quick," when asked about the T.50’s projected top speed. Koenigsegg seems to be the only hypercar maker interested in getting more bragging rights by going faster anyway since the Swedes suggest the Jesko is tipped to reach 300 mph in its most bonkers specification. So Murray & Co. are focusing on making the T.50 incredibly good in other areas such as user-friendliness, day-to-day usability, and, last but not least, handling.

Day-to-day usability will be ensured thanks to a spacious cabin that will fit three seats (and "ample amounts of luggage"), the driver obviously seated in the middle.

This is quite a feat considering the T.50 will measure just 172.4 inches in length, and it will be just 72.8 inches wide.

To put it into perspective, the Ferrari LaFerrari is 13 inches longer and almost six inches wider while a 992-generation 911 is over five inches longer and about as wide. Oh, and the driver will have near his wrist the shifter for an H-pattern, manual, six-speed transmission by XTrac that will drive the rear wheels. Suspension will be by double wishbones all around.

1993 McLaren F1 High Resolution Exterior
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Murray’s desire is to rewrite the rules of the supercar game once more with the T.50. "Automotive enthusiasts and road-test editors have discussed the concept of ‘peak supercar’ for some time, Murray said in a press release. "The reality of chasing top speeds only adds weight, notably through ever-more powerful engines, which increase the requirement for larger, heavier ancillaries. We are taking a very different approach." Indeed, even the F1 will seem overweight in comparison to the T.50 since its 6.1-liter V-12 made it weigh 2,508 pounds in standard specification, almost 350 pounds more than the T.50.

But a low curb weight isn’t the car’s only attribute. Its main party piece is aerodynamics. The car will feature a 15.7-inch fan in the back that will suck air from underneath the car to make it stick to the road better, basically the same design premise behind Murray’s BT46B from 1978.

The company says that the T.50 will feature " the most advanced aerodynamics of any road car" without sporting wings and vents and snorkels on top of the bodywork that would ruin the car's clean line.

While the fact that the T.50 will bring into production the idea behind the Brabham ’Fan Car’ is cool, it’s hard to call it revolutionary unless the underbody of the T.50 hides many other secrets. I mean, the BT46B raced its one and only race in 1978 and, anyway, it wasn’t a new concept in and of itself since Chaparral raced the 2J Can-Am Group 7 sports car in 1970 and that machine featured a similar concept with a giant fan powered by two boat engines which sucked all the air trapped between the Lexan skirts that sealed the underside of the car.

1993 McLaren F1 High Resolution Exterior
- image 674557

Murray says the car "will deliver performance and dynamic characteristics simply out of reach for other supercars not least because of its low weight," while emphasizing that "I have focused on the complete driving experience, not horsepower or top speed." Still, the Briton reckons that his latest creation will go in history as "the last, and the greatest, ‘analog’ supercar ever built," one that will "better the F1 in every area – ingress and egress; luggage capacity; serviceability; maintenance and suspension set-up. Also, driver-selectable engine maps ensure a driving mode to suit every situation."

Sure, you can argue already that a Ferrari F8 Tributo puts out more power (710 horsepower, as much as a McLaren 720S), but the Ferrari doesn’t achieve a power-to-weight of 663hp/ton. In fact, you’ll have to look at cars such as the Chiron to find better power-to-weight ratios. The Bugatti boasts a ratio of 687 hp/ton, but it’s way heavier and, as such, will never outrun a T.50 on track, for instance.

Gordon Murray is working on a spiritual McLaren F1 successor
- image 843353

What’s clear is that the T.50 is a car we can’t wait to see pitted against some of its peers and, why not, some cars that may seem out of its immediate reach like the Aston Martin Valkyrie, the other road car to be powered by a bespoke Cosworth V-12 with no turbos but one that develops 1,160 horsepower with help from a 160 horsepower electric motor. Such comparisons have already popped up because the Valkyrie is the work of the Red Bull group and Adrian Newey, the designer of all of the championship-winning F1 Red Bull single-seaters, had an active role in the project. While I can’t tell which will be faster, I am already sure there are more than enough people out there willing to pay in excess of $2.54 million for a T.50 which is a bargain since F1s traded hands for about as much 11 years ago and, now, you may have to pay as much as five times more for a standard one, let alone a GTR or LM-spec version. Also, a Valkyrie would set you back $3.25 million, so there’s that...

McLaren F1 drivetrain specifications
Cylinders V 12 in 60° vee
Capacity 6.1 litre
Bore × Stroke 86 × 87 mm
Bore/stroke ratio 0.99
Horsepower 618 HP @ 7,500 RPM
Specific output 101.9 bhp/litre
Torque 455 LB-FT @ 4,000 RPM
Acceleration 0-60mph 3.2 s
Acceleration 0-100km/h 3.6 s
Acceleration 0-160km/h (100mph) 6.4 s
Standing quarter-mile 11.1 s
Standing kilometre
Maximum speed 387 km/h (240 mph)

Further reading

1995 - 1997 McLaren F1 GTR High Resolution Exterior
- image 631241

Read our full review on the 1995-1997 McLaren F1 GTR.

McLaren F1 GTR Long Tail for sale
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Read our full review on the 1997 Gulf McLaren F1 GTR Longtail.

2018 McLaren F1 GTR ‘25R' Restoration Exterior
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Check out more details on the McLaren F1 GTR ‘25R’ Restoration.

1993 McLaren F1 High Resolution Exterior
- image 674549

Read our full review on the 1993 McLaren F1.

1995 McLaren F1 LM Exterior
- image 240519

Read our full review on the 1995 McLaren F1 LM

Michael Fira
Michael Fira
Associate Editor and Motorsport Expert -
Mihai Fira started out writing about long-distance racing like the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. As the years went by, his area of interest grew wider and wider and he ever branched beyond the usual confines of an automotive writer. However, his heart is still close to anything car-related and he's most at home retelling the story of some long-since-forgotten moment from the history of auto racing. He'll also take time to explain why the cars of the '60s and '70s are more fascinating than anything on the road today.  Read full bio
About the author

Gordon Murray Automotive, sister-business of visionary vehicle design and engineering company Gordon Murray Design, has announced details of its first vehicle – the T.50 supercar. Conceived as the spiritual successor to the Murray-devised McLaren F1, the T.50 will be the purest, lightest, most driver-focused supercar ever built.

The development of T.50 is at an advanced stage, with full production and customer deliveries set to commence in early 2022. Just 100 owners of the T.50 will experience Murray’s vision – a supercar inspired by his 50 years at the pinnacle of Formula One and automotive industry engineering and design.

Professor Gordon Murray CBE, Chairman of Gordon Murray Group, said: “An unflinching dedication to lightweighting, highly-advanced active aerodynamics and world-leading standards of advanced engineering will ensure the T.50 rewrites the supercar rulebook. Our experienced team is applying the same uncompromising approach to design and engineering that shaped every facet of the F1, and they are able to deliver substantial improvements over that car in every meaningful way.”

The engineering planning, plus all interior and exterior styling of the new vehicle has been carried out by Gordon Murray Design. It will be manufactured in the UK by Gordon Murray Automotive – a new company first announced in late 2017 at the One Formula exhibition. The event celebrated 50 years of Murray’s career in motorsport and automotive design and engineering, plus it previewed plans to build a limited-run supercar – the T.50. Every race or road car penned by Murray so far has featured a ‘T’ designation; and the T.50 will be the 50th in a highly illustrious line.

The T.50 breaks from performance-car convention, just as the F1 did in 1992. It weighs significantly less than any other current supercar. It has the most advanced aerodynamics of any road car, and it relies on design and engineering excellence to deliver the purest, most driver-focused performance and dynamics of any road car since the F1.

It will be powered by a compact and light, naturally-aspirated, all-new V12 engine. The unit will be capable of an extraordinary 12,100rpm – unparalleled in a V12 road car – and 650hp to deliver unmatched power-to-weight. However, Murray says: “I have absolutely no interest in chasing records for top speed or acceleration. Our focus is instead on delivering the purest, most rewarding driving experience of any supercar ever built – but, rest assured, it will be quick.”

The T.50 adopts the same, iconic three-seat format that Murray pioneered for the F1, with the driver benefitting from a central ‘jet-fighter-style’ driving position. The new car builds on the F1’s highly-advanced aerodynamics, taking Murray’s ground-effect innovations to an all-new level with intelligent management of underbody airflow coupled with a 400mm fan at the rear. The fan actively controls underbody airflow – a feature Murray famously premiered on the Brabham BT46B Formula One ‘Fan Car’. This approach allows the upper surfaces of the car to retain purity and beauty, eschewing the exaggerated scoops and spoilers familiar in the segment and equipping the T.50 with the most advanced aerodynamics of any road car.

All engineering, design and styling of the T.50 is by Gordon Murray Design and the car will be manufactured by Gordon Murray Automotive at a new, purpose-built facility in Surrey, UK. Furthermore, all major components will be bespoke and UK-sourced, including the powertrain, body and chassis. This will be a true British supercar.

The T.50, by Gordon Murray Automotive will be priced in excess of £2 million before taxes.

Setting new standards in lightweighting, the T.50 supercar weighs significantly less than any existing supercar

“Automotive enthusiasts and road-test editors have discussed the concept of ‘peak supercar’ for some time,” says Murray. “The reality of chasing top speeds only adds weight, notably through ever-more powerful engines, which increase the requirement for larger, heavier ancillaries. We are taking a very different approach.”

Ingrained in the approach of the Gordon Murray Automotive product development strategy is a fastidious commitment to minimise weight – in every component. “This is the key to achieving enhanced performance and dynamics, and refocusing the supercar on the driver and the thrill of driving. We’re not interested in simply chasing numbers, and never will be,” asserts Murray.

Gordon Murray Automotive will produce the world’s lightest, most driver-focused supercar through sophisticated use of advanced carbon fibre engineering and this fanatical dedication to purging the vehicle of every unproductive gram.

The T.50 supercar will weigh just 980kg – around a third lighter than the average supercar – making it, by far, the lightest supercar ever.

With a clear driver-focus, the external proportions are highly compact (smaller than the footprint of a Porsche 911 at just 4,380mm long and 1,850mm wide) to optimise handling, while the interior is nonetheless spacious and comfortable for three, with ample dedicated space for luggage.

The most advanced aerodynamics of any road car
In rewriting the supercar rulebook, Gordon Murray Automotive set out to equip the T.50 supercar with the most advanced aerodynamics of any road car. The new model will feature intelligent under-body active aerodynamics, which employs continuous, dynamic and interactive underbody ground-effect systems to optimise the driving experience.

Uniquely, the supercar will feature a 400mm ground-effect fan, similar to that on Murray’s famous Brabham BT46B Formula One ‘Fan Car’. The Gordon Murray Automotive team has established a new technical partnership with a Formula One team, which will make its rolling-road wind tunnel available to develop the aerodynamics of the T.50.

With all of the car’s intelligent aerodynamic sophistication housed beneath the car, the upper surfaces are free from unsightly wings, outlets, vents and bulges, safeguarding the purity and beauty of the exterior design. The sense of drama, even when stationary, is amplified by the striking dihedral doors that hark back to the F1 – where they first appeared on a supercar.

An engineering work of art with bespoke powertrain and running gear
Through exquisite engineering, every part of the T.50 is refined to create the purest, most focused supercar ever made – “We expect this to be the last, and the greatest, ‘analogue’ supercar ever built,” says Murray.

The T.50 features a bespoke, mid-mounted, all-new V12 engine that has been designed, developed and built exclusively for Gordon Murray Automotive by Cosworth Powertrain.

The V12 3.9-litre ‘Cosworth Gordon Murray Automotive’ engine will rev to an unparalleled 12,100rpm and develops 650hp and 450Nm torque. Paired with the car’s extraordinary lightness (980kg), it achieves a power-to-weight of 663hp/ton exceeding that of any other naturally-aspirated sports car designed for the road.

The V12 Cosworth GMA engine delivers more power from four litres than the F1 produced with 6.1 litres in 1992, an achievement aided by the inclusion of roof-fed ram-air induction, which increases horsepower to around 700hp.

Cosworth Managing Director, Powertrain, Bruce Wood, said: “We are tremendously excited to be part of the T.50 supercar project, and to have the opportunity to work alongside Gordon Murray Automotive. It is a real privilege to play such a key role in the T.50 with an all-new V12 3.9-litre engine, designed, developed, manufactured and assembled by Cosworth’s industry-leading powertrain division.

“Developing an engine that delivers superlative performance, while meeting stringent emissions targets, is a challenge that demonstrates Cosworth’s unique capabilities. To be so intrinsically aligned with a supercar that puts engine performance, response and light weighting at the very heart of the driving experience is the ultimate accolade and underscores Cosworth’s reputation and capabilities as a leading OEM tier one powertrain partner.”

The Gordon Murray Automotive team was focused on producing the purest driving experience so rejected the use of turbos or electrified powertrain assistance, instead applying attention to engine response.

Murray adds: “By working with the team at Cosworth Powertrain we have created the greatest naturally-aspirated engine ever designed for the road. It is the highest revving, highest power density, lightest and fastest-responding naturally-aspirated V12 ever made for a road car.”

Power is transferred to the rear wheels via a bespoke, lightweight six-speed transmission designed in conjunction with British transmission technology specialists Xtrac. In the furtherance of maximum driver reward and low weight, Murray has specified the T.50 with a newly-designed and developed ‘H-pattern’ six-speed gearbox – deliberately eschewing the twin-clutch solution favoured by many supercar makers. The brakes, also developed specially for the T.50, shed speed through a combination of lightweight monobloc alloy calipers and new technology carbon-ceramic discs.

Applying the same driver-focused engineering principles that shaped the F1
The T.50 supercar is the spiritual successor to the ground-breaking F1, and is being developed with the same unwavering focus on engineering purity and quality.

“Just as with the F1, we have no specific targets for acceleration, top speed or lap times,” explains Murray. “The F1 was fast because it was light and relatively small. The T.50 will deliver performance and dynamic characteristics simply out of reach for other supercars not least because of its low weight. Once again, I have focused on the complete driving experience, not horsepower or top speed.”

The central driving position provides a perfect ‘jet-fighter-style’ visibility, while analogue instruments and driver-centric controls are positioned to provide an even more intuitive and immersive driving experience than the acclaimed F1.

Armed with the same mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive set-up, the new T.50 supercar has perfect weight distribution and will boast incomparable vehicle dynamics and driver feel. Despite the car’s performance capabilities, it is far from a stripped-back racer. The T.50 is an ‘everyday supercar’ capable of GT-style cruising in spacious comfort with room for driver, two passengers and luggage.

“I designed the F1 as a sort of super GT car – absolutely road-focused with no plan to go racing, which is why the car set new standards for packaging and luggage space. The T.50 design has the same focus and betters the F1 in every area – ingress and egress; luggage capacity; serviceability; maintenance and suspension set-up. Also, driver-selectable engine maps ensure a driving mode to suit every situation,” concludes Murray.

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Press release

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