I talk to famed car designer, Professor Gordon Murray about his all-new and true successor to the iconic McLaren F1
See my exclusive interview with Murray by clicking on the video above, in which he reveals all the details and thinking behind the extraordinary new T.50 supercar.
Legendary road and racing car designer, Gordon Murray, has revealed what he openly admits to being a direct successor to his own creation from the 1990s, the McLaren F1 – an absolute icon of the supercar realm and these days a rare and highly valued collectible. Lamenting that no one had appeared to create a true follow-up to the F1, and to mark his own 50th year in the business, Murray set out to create not only modern-day F1, but what he claims will be the definitive and last great ‘analogue’ supercar.
“There’s only been… I mean if you want to summarise it, there’s only really been one car before with this absolute focus on driving, forget 0-60, driver enjoyment and driver feedback. And this is the next one, and it’ll probably be the last one,” he claimed.
The T.50, created under his own brand unlike the McLaren F1 – and hence giving him full creative control – is as extraordinary as its illustrious forebear with three abreast seating in a car that’s smaller than a Porsche 911. It will have a totally unique and bespoke 3.9-litre V12 engine that revs to a record-breaking 12,100rpm and produces 660bhp. All this in a car weighing less than a ton at 986kg.
“You get a V12, you get 220 litres of luggage space, you get 30 litres of cabin space, which is more than some SUVs have stowage space in the cabin, three people, in a Porsche Boxster [size] basically, and that’s the bit I’m really proud of, and of course all at 980 kilos!” he boasted.
Refusing to reveal any projected performance figures, ‘I just don’t care’, he explained: “It’s like the F1, I never mentioned performance, I said we’re going to try and make the best driver’s car, in my heart I knew the thing was going to be blindingly quick with that weight and that power, and this is the same.
” I mean if you look at the raw facts and figures, we’ve got a better power-to-weight ratio than a LaFerrari, a P1 McLaren, a P1 McLaren GTR, a 918 Porsche, virtually everything else out there, so this thing is going to be SO fast.”
The T.50 will have the most advanced and effective aerodynamics ever seen on a road car thanks to a unique show-stopping huge 400mm rear-mounted fan which will feature a number of modes to create the most efficient air flow whether you on the Autobahn or attacking b-roads.
Whilst rear images and some technical information have previously been revealed, these are the first pictures (see gallery below) to be revealed of the all-new British designed and built supercar of which only 100 will ever be made with a pre-tax price tag of £2.3 million each.
With perfect proportions belying its diminutive size, it has an instantly recognisable shape that both harks back to the original McLaren F1, realises the look of a race car for the road, but is subtle and restrained enough in its simplicity to be timeless in design and utterly elegant. Essentially it’s a confident design that admits it doesn’t need to try too hard because it’s the world’s craziest engine and a big fan in the back. A surreal mix of serene and spectacular!
The car features sensational scissor (or dihedral as described by Murray) doors, and gullwing rear compartment lids to show off the incredible Cosworth developed power unit and luggage space. Like the F1, it has a central, very driver-focussed driver position, with passenger seats flanked on each side.
“Every single thing on this car is a piece of engineering art, and I mean everything, down to the titanium bolts and nuts and things and, you know, if you own one of these things you want to show your mates don’t you?” he elaborated.
Most astonishingly of all, the T.50 comes not with an automatic or flappy paddle gearbox but an actual H-pattern 6-speed manual transmission nestled in a narrow floor-mounted console. The steering too is only assisted at parking speeds and on the move reverts back to being purely mechanical.
” These people that lobbied me said, they found themselves, more and more (some of them in America as well) turning to their 911 classic for a weekend jaunt, rather than jumping into something that was two metres wide, and they couldn’t see out of it. It’s not just the gearbox, modern supercars, certainly on European roads are becoming more and more unusable.”
And Murray fully expects this one to used, not disappear into collections or be tucked away as an investment: “I think once people drop into that central driving position and have that engine behind them they’ll find it very difficult to drive anything else after that. I think… you know it sounds a bit silly, but it’s probably the one supercar… I know people have great collections – I have a little collection myself – but if you only had to have one supercar, this would be it.”
Production of will begin at Gordon Murray Automotive’s UK production facility in January 2022 – with a year of testing and development to take place between now and then. All the major components, including the high grade carbon fibre chassis and monocoque body are UK-sourced. For Middle East customers a service centre will be established in Abu Dhabi, and there will be a ‘flying doctor’ service for any owners that encounter issues with the T.50.
Referring to the customers that have already put deposits on two-thirds of the production run (he likes to talk to each buyer personally) Murray said: “They all say the same thing, they all say when they were teenagers, the F1 was a poster on the wall, they had a successful business built up over ten years or so, and then the F1s were unaffordable, or you couldn’t find one, and this is their F1. And my answer to them is, no it’s not actually, this is a better car than the F1, at an 85% discount!”
Well you can’t argue with the Professor on that.