Gordon Murray’s T.50 V12 Supercar Loves Playing in the Snow
“These are strictly scientific snownuts, boss. For engineering purposes. Yes.”
Cold weather car testing might sound bitter and frigid, but the drivers working on the GMA T.50 make it look like a lot of fun. Who doesn't love snownuts in a multimillion-dollar supercar?
As reported by Motor1, the test drivers working on the GMA T.50 have no qualms about throwing their test mules deep into the snow. If anything, they seem rather to enjoy skating their supercars around up north of the Arctic circle. From what we see, testing isn't just happening behind closed doors, either, with the crew taking the supercar out on snowy public roads, too.
On the surface, snow driving might seem outside the usual design domain for a supercar. However, such testing serves an important purpose. On a basic level, it allows engineers to shakedown the vehicle to ensure all its components can handle cold and wet conditions. Given the bespoke nature of many of the parts in the T.50, from the downforce fan to the 12,100-rpm V12, you'd figure there'd be plenty of testing to be done.
Beyond that, though, we learn that the T.50's snow drive is serving a specific purpose, too. Continental is helping to develop the T.50's safety systems, including stability and traction control. To calibrate these systems, Continental's engineers need data from the car operating in both high-and low-grip conditions. Snowy, icy roads are a perfect testing ground to collect low-grip performance data for this purpose.
The T.50 didn't just get a soft run on some lightly powdered B-roads, either. According to chief test and development driver Gareth Howell, the car was sent down some gnarly unprepared roads covered with deep snow. Throughout the testing, the car didn't miss a beat according to Howell. It handled temperatures as low as -25°C (-13°F) without complaint.
From what we can see, the T.50 loves playing in the snow. It readily tackles the roads at a solid clip, and does rather artful little snownuts on the slippery surface, too. The test drivers don't hesitate to grab some opposite lock when dancing the supercar around as it pirouettes amidst snow flurries.
Howell notes that the work with Continental has produced some great flexible drive modes for the T.50. The car will include a "Full ESP" mode, along with a Sports mode, "which still gives you a safety net, but allows you to play with the car a little bit more," according to Howell. "I think you can call it a bit of a Hero mode," he joked. There are still some final calibrations before the T.50 is ready for market, but the bulk of the work is done, Howell says.
There's a buzz of anticipation for the T.50, which promises to stand apart from its fellow supercars. With a V12 that revs to the stratosphere delivering 654 horsepower, and a curb weight of just 2,174 pounds, there's a lot to love on paper. Everything we see and hear from the development process only further stokes that excitement.
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