Listen to Gordon Murray’s Cosworth V12 T.50 Test Mule Fire Up for the First Time
Meet the Ultima-based T.50 drivetrain prototype, George.
While Marino Franchitti works with Singer to perfect Rob Dickinson's Dynamic Lightweight Study 911, his triple Indy 500 winner brother Dario Franchitti has joined Gordon Murray Automotive as a development driver for the T.50 project, as well as a vlogger for their social channels. Back in August, Gordon Murray said the first T.50 mule should be driveable by the end of the summer, with a pair of proper T.50 carbon chassis XP cars following in October. Perhaps the program got slightly delayed since, because for now, all GMA is showing us is the first startup of the T.50 powertrain mule, built from an Ultima.
The modified Ultima chassis packing the 690-horsepower, 4.0-liter Cosworth V12 and X-trac's six-speed manual is called George as a nod to the McLaren F1's pair of MK3 Ultima-based powertrain mules christened Albert and Edward. Back in 1992, McLaren's first Ultima was used to test the new gearbox with a Chevrolet V8 engine, while chassis no. 13 used the BMW V12 along with all its ancillaries such as the exhaust and cooling system. Funny enough, when McLaren Automotive decided to get into the road car business again with the MP4-12C, Woking used Ferrari 360s and Ultimas once again for its early testing.
As Kevin Doyle, head of vehicle development at Gordon Murray Automotive, detailed to Franchitti, George features all the main T.50 components including the pedal box, headers and 12,100-rpm engine, which has been restricted to 4,000 rpm for its first startup. Earlier at Cosworth, the V12 got up to 8,000 rpm on the dyno.
After F1 XP1 was destroyed in Namibia while testing BMW's V12, Gordon Murray had just four prototypes to use for the McLaren F1's development. Three decades on, the T.50 project will require 13 XP cars before the validation process is over. T.50 prototypes first hit Millbrook's emissions labs and test circuits, only to continue at Nardo in Italy and Idiada in Spain.
Limited to 100 units, the GMA T.50 will come with the highest revving and lightest V12 road car engine ever made, as well as a fan-based active aero system taking ground effects to another level. GMA is also preparing a run of 25 track-only T.50s cars, which will combine 720 horsepower with a weight figure of just 1,962 pounds.
In the meantime, we wouldn't mind driving George, the Ultima tweaked by Gordon Murray Automotive. Here's its first startup:
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