You've heard the legends of the McLaren F1—we all have. How Professor Gordon Murray, CBE designed it as the ultimate road car and inadvertently created a supercar so game-changing that it locked down four of the top five finishing spots at McLaren's first 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995. There was never a car like it before, and there hasn't been one since, but there's about to be, because Murray's startup Gordon Murray Automotive just confirmed that it'll launch the F1's spiritual successor, the T.50, this coming May 2020.
Like its progenitor, the T.50 will be a three-seater that positions its driver front and center. Directly to their rear will be a naturally aspirated V12, not a BMW this time around, but a 4.0-liter Cosworth GMA, which can rev to 12,100 rpm and produce as much as 700 horsepower intermittently. As the T.50 is more about driver engagement than setting records, its transmission won't be one of those instant-shifting dual-clutch automatics, but an old-school manual; an H-pattern six-speed. While the T.50's torque output falls almost 150 pound-feet short of the F1's, its rev range is much broader, and its curb weight almost 350 pounds lighter, meaning the T.50 should be able to match with its predecessor in a straight line.
In the corners, there may not be any street-legal car capable of keeping pace with the T.50, as Murray says it "will have the most advanced and most effective aerodynamics ever seen on a road car." He refers, of course, to the combination of active aerofoils and a 16-inch fan that sucks air from underneath the T.50, pulling it to the tarmac. Murray designed a similar system for the 1978 Brabham BT46B Formula 1 car, which was banned after one race, and that should tell you everything you need to know about how the T.50 will corner.
Straight-line and declarative performance get their own gains too, as the system can generate a "virtual long tail" to reduce drag or do the opposite to improve braking performance. These systems were designed with the help of Formula 1 team Racing Point, which will test a model fo the T.50 in its wind tunnel next year, and whose owner has been linked to an Aston Martin buyout in recent days.
Each T.50 will cost more than $2.6 million before taxes, and most of the 100 cars have already been reserved. Deliveries commence in January of 2022, but hopefully, we won't have to wait until then to hear its 4.0-liter V12 at 12 grand.
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