Tag: Gordon Murray

The beauty of a legacy: The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda

On the 22nd of February 2021, the former legendary Formula 1 driver of yesteryear, Niki Lauda would have turned 72. The late three time World Champion and personality for the historically based movie Rush, has a legacy that lives on in the automotive world as Gordon Murray Automotive’s latest creation commemorates the decorated driver’s career.  

The Durban-born Gordon Murray has easily cemented himself as one of the modern all time greats in automotive design – which should instill a sense of pride for us South Africans. With extensive experience in Formula 1 and an impressive CV working on some truly incredible machines (yeah, the Mclaren F1 is one of them), he decided to channel his talents into a creation that bears his own name. If you were under a rock during August of last year, you would be none the wiser that the Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 was released. In summary, the T.50 is a lightweight, 488kW V-12 powered, manual transmission supercars with a price tag north of £2.4m (before tax – not that it really matters if you can afford it). If you’re able to snag of the 100 built. 

On Niki Lauda’s birth date, Gordon Murray tributed the next iteration of his personal masterpiece after him by giving it the name: the T.50s Niki Lauda. To add context into the naming convention, Lauda raced the Murray-designed Formula 1 challengers in the late 1970’s, including the iconic Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT46B (appropriately named the fan car because of the massive fan mounted to its rear cowling). 

“The T.50s is named in honour of Niki to commemorate his famous win with the Brabham BT46B fan car in the 1978 Swedish GP,” said Murray. If you play spot-the-difference between the rear of the BT46B and the T.50, you will be hard pressed to find many – both iconically wearing Murray’s fan to aid ground effect. 

With only 25 of these to be created, they will have a chassis plate with a story equally as romantic as their name. Each car produced will be designated after one of the Murray-designed F1 Brabham or Mclaren winning challengers. In other words, the first car to be completed: Chassis 1, will bear a chassis plate with the engravings of Kyalami 1974, crediting Murray’s first victory in Formula 1 when F1 driver Carlos Reutemann emerged victorious behind the wheel of the BT44. 

If history isn’t what you came for then the numbers might be. To carry the weight of the Austrian born Ferrari and Mclaren-TAG champion requires a substantial justification, which the Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s Niki Lauda on paper should live up to. The power in the 3.9-litre, naturally-aspirated Cosworth V12 has been uprated to 540kW. Which is a lot – especially in a car that only weighs a measly 852kg. Power upgrades are thanks to higher compression ratio (15:1), new camshafts and revised cylinder heads with air being fed through a roof-mounted RAM induction box. This all helps the lightweight V12 reach a glorious 12 100rpm (just imagine the deafening sound with the factory straight piped exhaust). While the T.50 is manual, gearing in the Lauda is offered in a six-speed sequential paddle-shift with a choice in ratios getting the vehicle to approximately 330km/h or 275km/h with the short-ratio cogs.

If you thought the stock-standard T.50 came with a hefty price, take a seat because the T.50s Niki Lauda comes in with a whopping price of £3.1m. While both variants of the T.50 have been developed in tandem, the 25 Lauda’s won’t begin production until the last of the 100 road-going T.50’s roll off the production line in early 2023. There is hope that the Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s will compete in the World Endurance Series and not exclusively be reserved for opulent-climate controlled garages after Murray expressed interest in 2019.

The rebirth of TVR.

Utter the words Griffith, Cerbera, Tuscan, Tamora, Typhon and Sagaris to any common or garden human and they’ll ask why you’re listing the ingredients of a McDonalds burger patty, but say even one of those within earshot of a petrolhead and they’ll pucker up like a nipple in Nepal.

Founded in 1947 by a fellow by the name of Trevor, TVR quickly became renowned for their bespoke and typically British sports cars, and by typically, we mean unreliable. So much so that the company closed down in 1965. And then reopened in that same year under new ownership. And then changed ownership in 1981, and again in 2004. Despite all the chopping and changing, though, TVR still managed to be the third-largest specialised sports car manufacturer in the world at one point or another.

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Long story short – owner number 4, a fellow by the name of Nikolay, half-heartedly left the brand chugging along until he sold it in 2013 to a little syndicate, led by a TVR owner and, most importantly, an outright petrolhead, Les.

So now that we’ve all been schooled in the history of Trevor (see, I put the vowels back) what you need to do is sit up and take notice. TVR is back and set for a 2017 unveiling and Les says the new TVR will bring back everything that we loved about their cars of yore – outrageous styling and brown pants performance. The key to this, however, isn’t big Les himself (he made his money in gaming) but rather the team he’s put together…Cosworth and Gordon Murray are to the automotive world what the

Cosworth and Gordon Murray are to the automotive world what the Zimmer frames and grasshoppers are to the Toyota Camry. Making use of Gordon Murray’s carbon fibre chassis and clever aero, the reborn TVR will be both strong, light and efficient. Once production gets up to pace, the carbon chassis will become an option with the standard models making use of an aluminium tub and fibreglass panels.

Cosworth are the crafty wizards in charge of the powerplant and word is that they’ll be using Ford’s tried and tested Coyote V8, with a bit of a fettling of course. A good old manual gearbox is the order if the day and buyers can expect this midway point between Lotus and Aston Martin to be a well thought out blend of luxury, technology and simplicity so as to guarantee reliability. But don’t be fooled, this is going to be one seriously lairy rebirth.  Are you excited because boy oh boy are we! Trevor, we’re ready for you.

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