Gordon Murray reveals ‘Fan Car’-inspired T.50 road car

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In the round-up: Former Formula 1 designer Gordon Murray, who produced pioneering cars for Brabham and McLaren, has incorporated one of his most famous F1 innovations into his forthcoming T.50 road car.

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GMA T.50 revealed

The first image of the Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 has been revealed. GMA has used Racing Point’s wind tunnel to develop its aerodynamics, which it says are the most advanced and effective ever seen on a road car.

As the picture above shows, the car features a centre-mounted rear fan designed to generate downforce and increase grip in much the same way it did on Murray’s 1978 Brabham BT46B. The ‘Fan Car’ won its only race before team owner Bernie Ecclestone agreed to shelve the car to keep the peace with rival teams.

“Formula 1 remains a deep passion of mine,” said Murray, “so partnering with Racing Point to develop the T.50 is hugely exciting.

“I’ve dreamt of delivering a road car with a ground-effect fan since I designed the Brabham BT46B F1 racing car in 1978. The system on the T.50 is much more sophisticated than the Brabham’s and will benefit enormously from Racing Point’s expertise and resources.”

The T.50 will be powered by a 700bhp Cosworth V12 engine, revving to a claimed record of 12,000rpm, and the whole car is expected to weigh 980 kilograms. It will be priced at £2 million before taxes and 100 examples will be built.

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Comment of the day

Should teams have the power to veto the tyres which were designed for next:

I’m not sure this is the correct way to propose a new design for tyres. The teams had to agree with two months until the February tests if the new design was good enough based on what? a couple of days of unrepresentative testing?

I don’t know… for something which is as key to performance as tyres no less. Why would teams vote in favour of such an unknown when they have one year of experience with the current compound?

I rather have Pirelli bring a tyre and say ‘this is it, like it or not’ very early in the season, giving the teams chances to improve on it, than waste a whole year to decide against it at the very last moment.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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29 comments on “Gordon Murray reveals ‘Fan Car’-inspired T.50 road car”

  1. That T.50. Wow!!! The 21st century Murray/McLaren F1?

    Just slightly out of my price bracket. Wonder for those rich enough to purchase, will it include a HANS device and a neck training program for new flabby necked owners?

    Too bad it won’t be allowed to run in fan-car config for LeMans.

    Yet my fantasy millions might be tempted by the Merc Project One. So many tough choices. Oh wait. It’s fantasy money, I’ll have both!

    1. That’s not how you play the game, everybody knows fantasy money is only good for one car and you have to choose and then insult the people that like other options!

  2. Canr help but feel the T. 50 is missing a hybrid element to it. All the hyper cars these days seem to have 1000hp with some hybrid included. Will a plain old 700hp cut the mustard?

    1. At only 980KG the power to wait ratio is pretty good.

    2. Pretty sure the fan is electric, so semi-hybrid.

    3. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      11th December 2019, 7:18

      It’s Gordon Murray’s interpretation of the ultimate driver’s car; lightweight, manual gearbox, naturally aspirated V12, it’s all about enjoyment not performance figures. It’s not intended to take on its rivals in a game of top trumps.

      1. The performance figures should be great too but the only two numbers it doesn’t have is some massive 400kmh top speed and a big hp number. 700hp is plenty! The light weight and the fan should make it extremely quick for acceleration and cornering as it will have lots of grip from 0kmh onwards. That 700bhp and 980kg compares very well with the burst of 1100bhp and 1300kg weight of the amg-one for example. The amg will be faster in straight line and it can probably almost keep up as long as batteries have charge but the t.50 can keep going flatout as long as it has fuel left. The t.50 should also have less drag because it doesn’t have big cooling needs for the electric drivetrain.

        Also another thing not mentioned in the article is that murray claims that the t.50 engine is 132 lbs or 60kg lighter than the f1 engine. Pretty good for a road car. Or pretty bad for f1.

        1. The engine weight figure is for the McLaren F1 roadcar that Murray previously designed, rather than a Formula 1 car. He’s always been annoyed by the fact that BMW built an engine that was over the weight target that he’d originally set for a Honda V10, however the BMW unit was also 80bhp over their power target for Honda hence the ridiculous top speed of the McLaren. That’s why he’s so happy to have a lighter unit in the T.50, without sacrificing any power.

        2. @socksolid, when Murray talks about the engine being about 60kg lighter than F1, he is referring to the V12 in the McLaren F1 road car, not Formula 1 – so, if they achieve that, it would mean that he’s talking about an engine weighing in somewhere around 210kg for the T.50.

          Keith is also not quite right with the power output, as normally the car will only produce 650bhp – the figure of 700bhp is limited to a specific “V-Max” mode designed to maximise straight line performance. In that mode, the car actually operates as a hybrid drive car – the starter motor is being designed so that, in “V-Max” mode, it instead operates as an electric motor and applies an additional torque to the driveshaft.

          That does actually mean that, in that “V-Max” mode, the T.50 has the same problem you complain about for the Mercedes AMG-One – the T.50 would also be limited by the maximum storage capacity of the onboard batteries.

    4. @david-beau Murray explained his thinking in a recent motorsport magazine podcast (it’s excellent by the way, but listening to him always is).

      His aim was to build the best and most engaging drivers car in the world, with that aim in mind light weight is key. He also isn’t interested in getting involved in a game of horsepower top trumps with other supercar manufacturers.

    5. It features mild hybridisation to the tune of about 80bhp to fill out torque dips but GM didn’t want a heavy battery according to evo.

    6. Doubt if it misses the tonne in weight it would add.

  3. GMA has used Racing Point’s wind tunnel to develop its aerodynamics

    I thought RP didn’t have a wind tunnel; used Toyota’s in the past and now use Mercedes’ tunnel.

    Maybe they had an old leftover one in a storage cabinet ;)

    1. It pretty much is an old leftover one in a cabinet!

      They’ve always had it (or, had it for ages) but it’s only 50% scale, so they use Merc’s instead because it’s 60%.

  4. “motor racing is too expensive” + ” T50 road fan car” Reminder of F1 choosing the wrong way to get downforce over 40 years ago.

    1. @hohum, the thing is, there is a critical lack of redundancy in that system – if the fan fails in any way or is degraded in performance, then you have an instant and substantial loss in downforce and a very sudden change in handling behaviour that no driver can react to.

      1. Well, we’ve had front and even rear wings suddenly going kaboom before, and I’m sure fans don’t spin down instantly.

      2. How is that any different from normal downforce generating wings? A fan is not any less safe than a wing. Especially considering modern wings in supercars for the last 10 years have been electronically adjustable anyways. What is the critical redundancy for rear wing?

        1. Unenclosed fan blades probably not road legal anyway. Expect a grill :-(

  5. I still think the argument that they had to dumb the sport down with an overly restrictive set of regulations for 2021 to stop a spending war is really a valid one because of the budget cap.

    With a sensible budget cap i don’t see any reason why they couldn’t have gone the other way & opened up the regulations because with a cap nobody really has an advantage in terms of been able to throw an almost endless amount of money at something.

    As 2021 has become more clear over time I’ve actually started to get a little concerned that rather than been the thing that brings me 100% back after a decade of DRS & High-Deg tyres (which I see as artificial gimmicks) that have been slowly sapping away my love/passion for F1 that 2021 is going to end up been the thing that finally drives me away. Reason been that it feels like there stripping away or dumbing down a lot of things that i like & a lot of things that for me sets F1 above everything else. And the talk of more races, Less running & the push for more gimmicks along the lines of reverse grids, qualifying races etc… hasn’t helped calm my concerns.

    1. Your concerns are shared by many, myself for starters.

    2. Regarding the the second paragraphs @stefmeister , the reason is that budget caps are hard to control. A team can find many loopholes and exploit it.
      Tight regulations make any overspending look unfavorable/not worth it due to the restrictiveness of the rules. Might look a bit bad on paper but I really like this approach in lowering costs

  6. New road cars! Wonderful!

    Then I check content… Fan car, looks amazing, probably is. Imagine the awesome suction and 12000 RPM’s That is nearly double of what my car can do. And 700 bhp is enough for anything really, despite recent hyper cars coming in around 1000 mark.

    Speaking of hyper cars AMG-ONE, what tha hell. They bring Lewis to it and then not let him drive it? Is he not the greatest active driver right now?

    If Ferrari brought their F1 driver to a new car test, he would be driving it around Fiorano, there would be footage and happy faces. Lewis seems like a kid who was sent home without a candy. He is Vegan and not lacking in driver ability. #LetHimDrive

    I am excited about that fan car. I hope we get to drive it in next generation of sims.

  7. And it will die from UAE’s sand which will clog and damage this sucking system.

    And it looks quite meh – like all bland indistinguishable no-name super-cars of last years.

    Only for 2 million.

  8. Also, on this day in F1: Fernando Alonso’s return to Mclaren from Ferrari for 2015 got formally announced five years ago today alongside Jenson Button’s stay at the team.

    I share the same views with the COTD.

    That’s a good reflection in Sainz’s tweet, LOL.

  9. How long will be before Gordon Murray is forced to attach a bag behind the fan to collect the road debris that it’s blowing into the windscreen of following cars? Then there’s the issue of loose manhole covers, as experienced by George Russell earlier in the year.

    1. The fan wont be needed in town.

      1. @hohum: True. But could be handy for quickly removing snow from the driveway of your Alps chateau.

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