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Gordon Murray Automotive lands astounding T.50s. Image by GMA.

Gordon Murray Automotive lands astounding T.50s
The 25-off GMA T.50s Niki Lauda weighs 852kg, has 711hp mid-mounted V12 and costs 3.1m. Want.
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What's all this about?

So, if you think the Gordon Murray Automotive (GMA) T.50 isn't quite special enough, focused enough or fast enough for your needs, how about a model with more power, less weight and a significant track bias? Yep, here it is: the GMA T.50s Niki Lauda. It is named after the late Austrian race ace because Lauda and Murray were good friends, and also because Lauda drove the Brabham BT46B fan car to victory at the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix; the BT46B being, of course, one of Murray's F1 creations and, furthermore, the inspiration for the downforce-producing 400mm fan on the T.50 and T.50s cars. Anyway, only 25 T.50s Niki Laudas will be built from 2023 onwards, when all 100 T.50 models have already been produced by GMA, and each one of the Lauda cars will cost 3.1 million before taxes.

Good lord above! So, not a cheap track-day toy, then?

Hardly. Given it is made almost entirely of carbon-fibre, has a 711hp mid-mounted V12 that revs to 12,100rpm, weighs only 852kg (astonishingly, that's 134kg less than the already-featherweight T.50 road model) and can generate 1,500kg of downforce.

One-point-five tonnes of downforce?

Yep. Such a colossal reckoning is thanks to that fan, the massive delta-wing rear spoiler and various splitters, dive planes and other aero features fitted to bodywork that is entirely unique to the T.50s - the Niki Lauda shares precisely zero exterior panels with the T.50. Anyway, GMA actually had the T.50s Niki Lauda up to a brain-frazzling 1,900kg of downforce, but realised that this would make it tricky to master on a track. So a 'mere' 1,500 kilos of negative lift it is.

Allow us to move on to some of the other key aspects of the T.50s Niki Lauda. It has the same 3.9-litre, Cosworth-developed, naturally aspirated V12 as the T.50, but power and torque are up to 711hp and 485Nm, compared to 663hp and 467Nm for the road-going model. In fact, a freshly designed, roof-mounted RAM intake can lift the peak power to 735hp for a brief period of time. Because 711hp just ain't enough, obviously. Anyway, the V12 still delivers maximum torque at a giddy 9,000rpm and its full output at 11,500rpm, on the way to a galactic 12,100rpm rev limiter, and it breathes through an Inconel exhaust system that's shorn of catalytic converters and which only features small silencers. The noise is said to be on 'another level' to that of the T.50, while top speeds are in the region of 200-210mph or, if you pick the shorter gear-set for technical circuits, 170mph.

On the outside is the large, stabilising fin that runs from the roof to the delta wing, which bears the 'Niki Lauda' script, while at the back are badges that read 'T.50s' (cool) and 'Fan Car' (very cool). A variety of colours and liveries should ensure that no two T.50s Niki Laudas look the same (there are only 25 cars, after all), while the interior is a stripped-out delight. Accessed through dihedral doors, inside the right-hand passenger seat has been junked for a fire extinguisher system and a vertical switchgear panel like the one found in the McLaren F1 GTR, while the left-hand passenger seat is retained (fixed and fitted with a four-point harness) but can be optionally deleted if the owner so wishes. The driver sits front and central in a motorsport-spec carbon-fibre seat with a six-point harness, gripping onto a, well... rectangular steering 'wheel' that features nothing but the vital switchgear, and behind which there's a single digital screen with all the essential information on it.

This is truly astonishing...

Isn't it just? So allow us to blow your tiny minds by telling you that the T.50s Niki Lauda's V12 has a greater specific output (178hp-per-litre) than the Cosworth DFV Formula 1 engine which powered vehicles to 12 Drivers' Titles and 10 Constructors' Championships in the motorsport world's pinnacle race series between 1968 and 1982, while the car has a better power-to-weight ratio (835hp-per-tonne) than the normally aspirated LMP1 machines that compete at Le Mans and other endurance events. Bonkers.

The increased power and reduced weight of this V12 (at 162kg, it's 16 kilos lighter than the T.50's version of the same engine) have been achieved through revised cylinder heads and camshafts, titanium valves, the deletion of the variable valve timing system and an increased compression ratio to 15:1. Induction is handled by 12 throttle bodies atop the 3.9-litre powerplant, while the six-speed Xtrac transmission has lighter cogs plus an electronically actuated clutch and gearset. Elsewhere, a carbon-fibre monocoque around an aluminium-honeycomb core provides strength to the frame of the T.50s, while the car rides a scarcely believable 87mm lower at the front and 116mm at the rear compared to the T.50. All of its springs, dampers and its anti-roll bar have been optimised for track work, it uses the same six-piston front, four-pot rear Brembo carbon-ceramic braking system as the T.50 but with increased ducting to cool the massive 370x34mm/340x34mm front and rear discs, and it has a revised steering ratio for the rack-and-pinion set-up. The centre-lock 18-inch wheels are made of forged magnesium, meaning they weigh less than 6kg each, and they're mounted on lightweight hubs and then wrapped in Michelin slick tyres.

And finally, some of the mechanics of the build run of 25 cars. Each unit of the T.50s Niki Lauda will be named after one of the F1 victories Prof Murray's assorted machines secured. So the first car in the T.50s run will be designated 'Kyalami 1974', with the following 24 vehicles each taking their name from the resulting Prof Murray-designed wins (22 in total at Brabham, three at McLaren) in chronological order. Not only that, but the buyer of each will come with a specially commissioned book relating to the exact race the T.50s in question is named after, with Prof Murray's thoughts on the race and his memories of the win.

Actually, finally finally, let's have some words from the great man himself, who said: "The T.50 is the ultimate road-going supercar, but I always dreamed of taking it one step further... to 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.

"I laid out some parameters to create the ultimate driver's car and experience on track: a central driving position, a V12 just behind your ear revving to over 12,000rpm, producing over 700 horsepower and with an even faster response time than the T.50, downforce limited to 1,500kg and a weight of under 900kg. Plus the ability to turn up at any track, make a few basic checks and have fun, without the need for an entire support crew.

"In my view, it doesn't get better than that and is driving in its purest form. The T.50s Niki Lauda will give a visceral connection between driver, car and track, the like of which has not been experienced to date. With the direction of travel of the automotive industry, it's hard to imagine that there will ever be another car quite like this. I believe it will go on to define its era."

Matt Robinson - 23 Feb 2021

2021 Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s Niki Lauda revealed. Image by GMA.2021 Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s Niki Lauda revealed. Image by GMA.2021 Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s Niki Lauda revealed. Image by GMA.2021 Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s Niki Lauda revealed. Image by GMA.2021 Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s Niki Lauda revealed. Image by GMA.

2021 Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s Niki Lauda revealed. Image by GMA.2021 Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s Niki Lauda revealed. Image by GMA.2021 Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s Niki Lauda revealed. Image by GMA.2021 Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s Niki Lauda revealed. Image by GMA.2021 Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s Niki Lauda revealed. Image by GMA.

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