Gordon Murray T.50 resurrects real McLaren F1 spirit
McLaren F1 is a legendary name in the supercar world. The F1 re-wrote the supercar formula when it was launched back in the ’90s. Today’s struggling McLaren Automotive has nothing to do with the original any more, as their cars became automatic soft-sprung playthings for show-offs and instagrammers. So when the creator of the legend, Mr. Gordon Murray, decided to make a car poised to be the F1’s spiritual successor, every well-heeled car enthusiast stood up and took notice. Dubbed the Gordon Murray T.50, the spiritual successor of the McLaren F1 has now been revealed.
Take a McLaren F1 and hone its body to modernise it without losing the essence of the original car – that sums up the design of the T.50. It shares the low slung nose, narrow inlets in the corners, the split side windows and more with the F1. A large expanse of glass consisting of the rounded windshield, large side windows and the panels in the roof give the cabin an airy feel. A scoop on the roof directs air to its powerplant.
The highlight of the design and engineering must be the large fan mounted on the T.50’s back. The fan spins at 7000 rpm and is hooked up to a 48-volt electric motor. The fan helps produce 50% more downforce as it works with the active rear spoiler and diffuser. Under harsh braking, it can produce 100% more downforce. It also acts as a ram air intake for the engine to help it produce 49 hp more.
Speaking of the engine, it is a V12 powerplant built exclusively for the T.50 by Cosworth and Gordon Murray Automotive. This unit has a displacement of 3.9-litres, relatively small for a V12. But the upshot of this is the redline. With its smaller pistons, this small engine can rev up to 12,100 rpm. It is also the lightest road-going V12, weighing in at just 178 kg. It produces 654 hp and 467 Nm of torque. This engine is hooked up to a six-speed manual gearbox, which is increasingly becoming a rare sight in the supercar industry.
Inside the Gordon Murray T.50, the famed 1+2 seating of the McLaren F1 is recreated, including the central driving seat. All customers get to meet with the firm to tailor the positions of the seat, steering wheel and pedals to ensure the perfect fit.
All this firepower comes packed into a tiny package though. The Gordon Murray T.50 is very compact. At 4,352 mm long, it is shorter than a Porsche 718 Cayman. But in its defense, it is slightly longer than the original McLaren F1. There is another upside to this size – weight. The T.50 uses carbon fibre for the chassis and body to bring weight down. The monocoque and the exterior panels of the vehicle together weigh just 150 kg. The total weight of the T.50 is just 986 kg.
Gordon Murray T.50 production will be capped at just 100 units. The resurrection of the legendary McLaren F1 does come with a price though. About US$ 3.1 million before taxes in the UK, or Dhs 11.4 million at current exchange rates. The production of the T.50 will start in Jan 2022 and the cars will be delivered later that year.