Gordon Murray Claims Lightest V12 Hypercar

Race car designer, Gordon Murray, claims to have developed the world’s lightest road-legal hypercar tipping the scales at under one metric ton.

Last year, the automaker Gordon Murray Automotive (GMA) announced its plan to shift away from the current supercar trend of ever-greater power, speed and, inevitably, weight. It now claims to have achieved an on-the-road total vehicle weight of just 980kg (2,156lbs) effectively slicing a third of the average existing supercar’s weight.

Yet, despite the radical lightweighting, the design team claims it can still deliver owners a car that is comfortable, practical and drivable in every day environments. Key to the plan was the development of the T.50 is its naturally-aspirated V12 powerplant which claims to be the world’s highest revving road car engine with a redline set at a motorcycle grade 12,100rpm. The 4.0-liter unit produces 650bhp and yet, thanks to the engineering and the expertise of Cosworth Powertrain engineers, it weighs less than 180kg (396lbs). This makes it more than 60kg lighter than the BMW S70/2 V12 in the McLaren F1, while generating more power.

The automaker’s philosophy behind the protect revolves around weight-to-power rather than power-to-weight. In the T.50, every 100hp only has to propel 150kg (330lbs) of car, whereas for the typical supercar, at 1,436kg (3,159lbs) with 684hp, the weight it has to propel is 40% higher, at 210kg (462lbs).

Thus, to match the T.50’s 663hp/ton, the typical supercar would need an additional 300hp. Of course, the 950hp required to match the T.50 on paper would add cost, complexity, and require larger, heavier components (tires, drivelines, transmission, brakes, etc.) to handle the extra power.

Commenting on his ‘every component counts’ approach to lightweighting, Professor Murray said: “Designing a lightweight sports car does not come from specifying exotic materials alone, it comes from a state of mind, from absolute focus and control, and from a deep understanding of lightweight, optimized design.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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