SA design hero to build ultimate driver’s car

South Africa’s multiple F1 world champion designer and the man who conceived the legendary McLaren F1, Gordon Murray, is at it again. The genial Durban-born engineer will develop an all-new R65-million three-seat ultra-lightweight machine that he promises to be the purest ultracar ever.

The T.50 will celebrate 50 years of Murray design in a revolutionary 475kW 980kg all-carbonfibre machine powered by a compact, lightweight 3.9-litre normally aspirated V12. T.50 will use Chaparral-inspired ‘fan car’ technology to literally suck it onto the road similar to devices that once did the same in those unique Can Am sports racers and as engineered by Murray himself on the controversial 1978 Brabham BT46B F1 ‘fan car’, which was banned immediately after winning on debut!

120kg lighter than the BMW V12-powered F1 and between 400 and 600kg lighter than most modern supercars, T.50 delivers a power-to-weight ratio to match the 1995 lightweight Le Mans 24 Hour winning F1 GTR and the hybrid McLaren P1 and LaFerrari. While it will use a 48V electrical system to power its 400mm downforce fan, T.50 will however not be a 'heavy and complex’ hybrid. 

The T.50 V12 will be created by Gordon Murray Automotive in co-operation with Cosworth with a 12 100rpm red-line thanks to all-titanium innards. It will drive a classic stick-shift six-speed Xtrac manual gearbox and gets ABS and traction control, but no stability control. 

The V12 will mount directly to the all-carbonfibre tub, to which the aluminium and steel front suspension is to be bonded, while rear suspension will mount directly to the aluminium gearbox without the need for a subframe. T.50’s carbon panels are designed to meet current crash legislation

T.50 also shares the F1’s radical cab-forward three-seat configuration with a central driver’s seat and a passenger each side and gets traditional analogue instruments dominated by a large central tachometer and toggle switches, with a single airbag for the driver.

“Back in the 1990s, I designed the F1 as a sort of super-GT car,” Murray explained. “It was absolutely road-focused and we had no plan to go racing, which is why it set new standards for packaging and road space. “The T.50 has exactly the same focus and betters the F1 in every area. “It’s hard to imagine anyone doing a car like this again — I certainly won’t.” 

Murray would not be drawn on performance numbers: “The F1 turned out to be quick,” he said. “T.50 will be quicker.” 

Main Render: Michele Lupini - copyright.