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The GMA T.50: a McLaren F1 for 2022. Image by Gordon Murray.

The GMA T.50: a McLaren F1 for 2022
Gordon Murray is back with a 12,100rpm, V12-powered, 650hp, 980kg, three-seat supercar. We want. Badly.
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2020-05-28: Lightness of touch for GMA T.50

What is it?

Oh, nothing much. Just an all-new supercar from the man - nay, genius - who brought the world the McLaren F1. This is the Gordon Murray Automotive (GMA) T.50, it will cost more than 2 million (excluding taxes), just 100 will be built and the ever-bullish Murray says it will be the 'purest, lightest, most driver-focused supercar ever built'.

Oh my word! Can you run over the salient details?

OK, but get ready for some serious headspin as you try to take in these numbers. So far, the GMA T.50 - which was engineered, designed and styled by sister company Gordon Murray Design (GMD), although GMA will do all the building ahead of 2022 deliveries at a purpose-built new facility in Surrey - will weigh 5kg less than a Suzuki Swift Sport at 980kg all-in, thanks to extensive use of carbon fibre in the construction. It will be take up less room on the roads than a Porsche 911, at less than 4,380mm long and 1,850mm wide, and it will be powered by a bespoke-built Cosworth Powertrain 3.9-litre V12. This thing, among all the glittering details of the GMA T.50, is utterly remarkable: it delivers a peak 650hp nominally and 450Nm, that latter figure perhaps looking a touch meagre. But. . . a roof-fed ram-air induction system can raise the output to 700hp, increasing the car's quoted power-to-weight ratio of 663hp-per-tonne. And this V12, this naturally aspirated V12, which makes more power from 3.9 litres than the 6.1-litre BMW unit in the F1 could muster up, revs to 12,100rpm. That's twelve-thousand-one-hundred revs per minute, for absolute clarity.

That. Is. INSANE! I take it the T.50 will be brutally quick?

Well, yes. And yet, no. Perhaps we should expand. Murray is quite clear that he is not chasing the sort of on-paper acceleration and top speed numbers that seem to fascinate the YouTube generation so much, instead explaining: "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."

Talk to me some more of this 'rewarding driving experience', then.

It starts with the gearbox. It's a six-speed unit built by Xtrac, a UK transmissions specialist, but it's no twin-clutcher - it's a proper, open-H-pattern, manual shifter. This sends the drive to the rear wheels alone, while stopping power is handled by a set of 'new technology' carbon-ceramic discs gripped by monobloc alloy callipers. And then there are the aerodynamics.

Aerodynamics? From the outline of this technical drawing, it doesn't look like it has much aero?

Oh dear. Don't let Gordon hear you saying that. This is the man who, before the magnificent McLaren F1, designed racing cars as well. Such as 1978's infamous Brabham BT46B, or the F1 'fan car'. This machine, which only raced once in Sweden (where it won), used a mid-mounted fan to suck air out from underneath the car, improving underbody airflow and 'sucking' the machine to the track. So guess what the T.50 has?

No! It doesn't have a. . . It can't, can it?!

It can. There's a rear-mounted 400mm fan to provide active underbody aero. It is for this reason that the upper surfaces of the GMA supercar are kept 'pure and beautiful', with Murray adding that 'unsightly wings, outlets, vents and bulges' will not be a part of the T.50's physical make-up. An as-yet unnamed current Formula 1 team will make its rolling-road wind tunnel available for GMA and GMD to develop the T.50's aerodynamics further ahead of its first deliveries in 2022, and - given his past relationship with this outfit and its proximal location in the same county as GMA's new factory - we've got extremely strong money on this F1 team being none other than McLaren.

And what about the interior?

Murray, as ever, wants to make the T.50 a usable, semi-GT of a supercar, so - just like the F1 - it has a three-seat cabin in which the driver sits centrally. There are analogue instruments, a driver-centric layout of switchgear and 'ample dedicated space' for luggage. The lucky 100 to own one of these beauties will access said cabin through dihedral doors, a feature again shared with the F1 and also many a modern McLaren.

This all sounds too good to be true. Can I have some more words from those involved?

No problem. Bruce Wood, the managing director for Cosworth Powertrain, effused: "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."

And what about Professor G. Murray himself?

His words are always well worth listening to, so here are quite a few of his thoughts on his new baby: "Just as with the F1, we have no specific targets for acceleration, top speed or lap times. 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.

"An unflinching dedication to light weight, 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.

"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.

"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."

This might be the best thing I've heard today. Do you feel the same?

Oh yes. We do. If indeed this is the final hurrah for the analogue supercar, then this is a most marvellous and fitting way for it to bow out.

Matt Robinson - 5 Jun 2019

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