A new limited-edition British-made supercar has been unveiled this week and is a feat of automotive engineering.
The flame-orange masterpiece is the work of legendary car designer Gordon Murray and is based on his forthcoming T.50 model. But this V12-engine stunner is a more hardened track-only version that takes the driving performance to the extreme.
Just 25 will be produced, each with a price of £3.1million, and caries the name of one of Formula One’s most talented and courageous drivers, the late Niki Lauda.
Fan-tasy supercar: This is the Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s Niki Lauda – a limited run of 25 track-only machines that shares a name with the three-time F1 champion
‘With the direction of travel of the automotive industry, it’s hard to imagine that there will ever be another car quite like this. Especially not one with a central driving position, a high-revving naturally aspirated V12 engine and that is so lightweight. I believe it will go on to define its era,’ said Murray as he unveiled the car to the public on Monday, which would have been the three-time F1 champion’s 72nd birthday.
This circuit weapon is lighter, sharper and more potent than the standard Gordon Murray Automotive T.50, which was revealed in August last year, will also be produced in a limited number (100 in total) and is due to go on sale in 2021 with a bulging £3million price tag.
It has been designed by Murray, who famously penned the iconic McLaren F1 supercar of the 1990s as well as F1 machines throughout the 1970s and ’80s.
His most notable design was the short-lived Brabham BT46B ‘fan car’ launched in the 1978 season, which was pulled from competition after winning its debut race at the Swedish Grand Prix at Anderstorp with none other than Niki Lauda at the wheel.
Like the designer and driver, the BT46B became a legend of the sport. Murray’s ingenious F1 machine included the addition of a large rear-mounted fan that extracted air from beneath the car to suck it into the tarmac to significantly boost downforce and cornering grip.
Legendary car designer, Gordon Murray unveiled the new track car to the public on Monday, which would have been three-time F1 champion Niki Lauda’s 72nd birthday
Lauda (left) is considered a legend in the F1 world. Not only because of his incredible tally of wins and titles but his return to racing following life-threatening injuries sustained in a racing crash at the Nürburgring in 1976 – the subject of 2013 film Rush, covering his rivalry with Briton James Hunt (right)
Niki Lauda was the driver who took Gordon Murray’s Brabham F1 ‘fan car’ to victory in 1978 – its only race before it was removed from competition
That same concept has been put to use in Murray’s new T.50 supercar and the T.50s track version – a vehicle that duly shares its name with the pilot who took the Formula One fan car to victory in 1978, who sadly passed away in May 2019.
Lighter, sharper and even more powerful than the regular T.50, the T.50s Niki Lauda is aimed at well-heeled customers who want a track car as well as the stunning road car – and also those who want to race a supercar with a traditionally naturally-aspirated V12 powerplant.
Like the road car, the 25 special editions will be produced at Murray’s state-of-the-art £50million headquarters in Surrey.
Murray says it is ‘hard to imagine that there will ever be another car quite like this’ in the future
The combination of a central driving position, high-revving naturally aspirated V12 engine and super lightweight construction will ‘define its era,’ said Murray
The Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s Niki Lauda has been unveiled with a huge fan on the back that’s designed to control the air flow and pull the car into the tarmac at speed to increase downforce
Compared to the ‘standard’ T.50 it features aerodynamic tweaks and even more extreme materials, as the car no longer needs to conform to rules for road use and more conventional maintenance schedules.
The difference means weight has been shaved down from 957kg to just 852kg – around the same as the original 1959 Mini – and power has been upped 75bhp higher than the road car.
The bespoke Cosworth V12 engine has been retuned with revised cylinder heads and camshafts, and a new 15:1 compression ratio.
The 3.9-litre unit pumps out 701bhp alone, while a gaping roof-mounted RAM induction airbox increases maximum power to a brain-rattling 725bhp.
With a power-to-weight ratio of 824bhp per tonne, there’s nothing else like it on the road. Only a Le Mans endurance racer shares such eye-watering performance.
Will it fit in my garage? Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s Niki Lauda
Built: Surrey, England, Price: £3.1million
Limited run: 25
Length: 4,416 mm
Dry weight: 852kg
Engine weight; 162kg
Ride height: 87mm front, 1116mm rear
Style: rear mid-engine track-only supercar
Drive style: rear wheel drive
Engine: Petrol Cosworth-GMA 3.9-litre V12 naturally-aspirated twin-cam aluminium alloy
Power: 725 horsepower
Fuel tank capacity: 50 litres
Gears: Six-speed IGS paddle-shift gearbox
Chassis: Single-cell or ‘monocoque’ made from handmade sandwich-panel carbon fibre
Body: Carbon composite panels
Aerodynamics: Innovative ‘fan’ technology uses ‘ground effect’ to suck the car to the road.
Wheels: Forged light alloy
Brakes: Powerful carbon-ceramic discs
Turning circle: 10.9m
Maximum rpm: 12,100rpm
To ensure it can withstand the boost in performance, and speed-up gear changes, the regular T.50’s manual gearbox has been subbed for a six-speed paddle-shift version.
Like the road-going version it’s based on, the car retains a central driving position (mimicking that of Murray’s McLaren F1 design). However, while the street-legal T.50 is flanked by two passenger seats, the T.50s Nike Lauda strips both away to shave bulk and to provide space for a fire extinguisher.
Despite the Lauda track model looking similar to the road T.50, Gordon Murray says that not a single piece of the bodywork is shared.
New additions include the dramatic fin running down the spine of the car and an enormous fixed rear wing, forming a shadow over that massive fan. There’s a substantial rear diffuser, too.
New for the track-focused car is the introduction of a static rear wing, massive diffuser and an aerodynamic fin running down the spine of the vehicle
The T.50s is lighter, sharper and more potent than the standard Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 (pictured), which was revealed in August last year, will also be produced in a limited number (100 in total) and is due to go on sale in 2021 with a bulging £3m price tag
The T.50 is the successor to the McLaren F1 supercar of the 1990s, which Murray also designed. With a top speed of 240mph and acceleration from rest to 60mph in just 3.2 seconds, it was the world’s fastest production car for 13 years
Up front, there’s a huge splitter and winglets on the bumper, designed to boost the car’s cornering capability.
The combined impact is a maximum downforce of 1,500kg. Is that a lot? As a comparison, a £250,000 Ferrari 488 Pista track-focussed supercar generates around 240kg of downforce at 124mph.
Murray claims the T.50s Niki Lauda can generate even more than that – up to 1,900kg – but it would have made the car almost undriveable for an amateur racer, of which it is primarily aimed.
The 25 lucky customers will be able to personalise their cars with individual colour choices and part of the purchase package will include tuition by a race professional to help them get the maximum experience out of their pricey machines.
Lighter, sharper and even more powerful than the regular T.50, Murray says the T.50s Niki Lauda is aimed at well-heeled customers who want a track car as well as the stunning road car – and also those who want to race a supercar with a traditionally naturally-aspirated V12 powerplant
The maximum downforce produced by the Niki Lauda edition car is 1,500kg. Is that a lot? As a comparison, a £250,000 Ferrari 488 Pista track-focussed supercar generates around 240kg of downforce at 124mph
While the T.50 road car has a central driving seat flanked by two passenger seats, the T.50s Niki Lauda loses the additional chairs to shave weight
The stripped-out interior is a clear sign of the circuit-only use of the car. A trimmed-down wheel replicates that of a current F1 car
Commenting on the car, professor Gordon Murray CBE said: ‘The T.50 is the ultimate road-going supercar, but I always dreamed of taking it one step further… to build a version that will deliver an on-track driving experience like no other car in history.’
He added: ‘We had no interest in achieving the ultimate lap time or creating an over-tyred and over-downforced spaceship at the expense of driver involvement, because ultimately you have to possess an F1 driver level of skill and fitness to get the best out of them.
‘Instead, I laid out some parameters to create the ultimate driver’s car and experience on track: a central driving position, a V12 just behind your ear revving to over 12,000rpm, producing over 700 horsepower and with an even faster response time than the T.50, downforce limited to 1500kg and a weight of under 900kg. Plus the ability to turn up at any track, make a few basic checks and have fun, without the need for an entire support crew.
‘In my view, it doesn’t get better than that and is driving in its purest form.
‘The T.50s Niki Lauda will give a visceral connection between driver, car and track, the like of which has not been experienced to date.’
The difference means weight has been shaved down from 957kg to just 852kg – around the same as the original 1959 Mini – and power has been upped 75bhp higher than the road car
The bespoke Cosworth V12 engine powering the T.50s Niki Lauda has been retuned with revised cylinder heads and camshafts, and a new 15:1 compression ratio. The 3.9-litre unit pumps out 701bhp alone, while a the gaping roof-mounted RAM induction airbox increases maximum power to an brain-rattling 725bhp
Professor Gordon Murray (right) pictured alongside racer Dario Franchitti, who is the test driver tasked with developing the car’s circuit credentials
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