Gordon Murray has revealed the first rendering of his forthcoming T.50 supercar, which will feature a special 400 mm ground-effect ‘fan’ innovation that the famous British car designer claims will rewrite “the rulebook for road-car aerodynamics”.
The rear-wheel drive T.50, which features Murray’s favoured three-seat layout, with the driver sitting in a central ‘jet-fighter-style’ driving position, weighs just 980 kg, and is powered by a bespoke Cosworth V12 that will be the highest-revving road car engine ever made, capable of 12,100 rpm.
The ground-effect fan, meanwhile, forms part of a complex airflow management system at the car’s rear that not only boosts downforce but also helps with engine cooling.
The various fan functions, combined with the underbody ducting and activation of the rear aerofoils, are controlled seamlessly as part of the car’s six distinct aero modes; two of which operate without any driver input, while the remaining four are driver-selectable.
‘High Downforce Mode’ delivers enhanced traction – where the fan and the aerofoils work together to increase downforce by 30%. At the flick of a switch, the driver can shift to ‘Streamline Mode’, to reduce drag by 10% and boost straight-line speed, while also reducing fuel consumption and downforce. This mode closes the underbody ducts and sets the fan to operate at high speed to extend the trailing wake of the car, creating a ‘virtual longtail’.
When maximum velocity is required, the ‘Vmax Mode’ can be deployed by the driver at the push of a button. This utilises the same aerodynamic configuration as ‘Streamline Mode’, but adds an extra boost of around 30 bhp for up to three minutes by adding power to the crankshaft from the car’s 48-volt integrated starter-generator.
Finally, ‘Test Mode’ operates when the car is at standstill to demonstrate the capability of the aero system.
Murray and his Surrey-based design team will also be benefiting from a partnership with the Racing Point Formula 1 team, as a 40% scale model of the T.50 is scheduled to undergo aerodynamic testing at the F1 team’s rolling-road wind tunnel at Silverstone.
“Formula One remains a deep passion of mine, 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,” says Murray.
“Our aerodynamicists will utilise our wind tunnel to harness the very latest Formula One expertise and experience for the T.50 project, ensuring Gordon’s revolutionary fan concept delivers its full potential,” adds Racing Point owner, Lawrence Stroll.
Limited to just 100 units – priced at over £2 million each – the T.50 is set to make its official global debut in May 2020.