The Gordon Murray T.50's V12 Engine Bay Is Layered With Gold, Just Like the McLaren F1's
What else would you expect?
Gordon Murray's initial T.50 experimental prototype—dubbed XP1—follows the hypercar's Ultima-based powertrain mule in the line of testers slated to end with XP11. As its name suggests, XP1 is the first to be built around the production-spec carbon fiber monocoque of the T.50, designed with exceptional torsional rigidity and safety in mind, yet weighing just 220 pounds. Gordon Murray Automotive's first running T.50 should be assembled by Christmas time.
Murray's current team includes plenty of colleagues from his years at both McLaren and in Formula 1, like technical director Frank Coppuck, who started out in the aerospace industry only to land in F1, working for Team Lotus, Benetton and others before joining McLaren's GT program. As a motorsports engineer, Coppuck is certainly not new to composites, gold foil heat shields or custom parts made using five-axis CNC machines. Part of what makes these early prototypes so costly is that while production metal parts of the T.50 will be mostly forged, the XP1's suspension bits are still machined from billet.
Now, the gold foil used in the T.50's engine bay is far from common, but it isn't revolutionary, either. The iconic McLaren F1 famously used the material for heat reflection purposes, and it's also prevalent in Formula 1 and IndyCar, among other series. Still, as far as road cars go, few manufacturers go through the trouble of layering each engine bay with gold foil. When you're building just 125 of them like GMA, though, it tends to be worth the investment.
According to the plan, once assembled by mid-December, T.50 XP1 will be used for basic chassis tuning and engine calibration before getting sent up north to Sweden for winter testing and ESP programming. After all that and more, if it doesn't end up being a designated crash car as well, we might just end up looking at GMA's most desired collector's item.
In its most powerful track-only T.50s form, the car's Cosworth-GMA V12 will produce up to 720 horsepower, all while revving to 12,100 rpm in just .3 seconds and using a giant rear fan to suck itself to the tarmac. As for that gold foil in the engine bay, since the fuel cell is right behind the bulkhead and carbon fiber doesn't like excessive heat anyway, it's the least Gordon Murray Automotive could do.
Now, just join Dario Franchitti and Frank Coppuck, and pick your favorite detail of the all-naked T.50 XP1, a car that will lead to 125 production units in two tunes.
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