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McLaren F1 Designer Reveals Specs For New Ultra-Lightweight Sports Car

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It weighs less and is more powerful than a Miata. It also has a six-speed manual.

His name is Gordon Murray and he's an automotive industry legend thanks to his brilliant design work for the one and only McLaren F1 as well as Formula 1 cars. He moved on from McLaren years ago but remains fully dedicated to the car industry and his craft. We've known for several months that Murray and the Gordon Murray Design team have been working on a new lightweight sports car, the T.43, but now the design firm has released official details. The design chassis technology is called iStream Superlight and it reduces a vehicle's body weight by up to 50 percent.

You read that right. Fifty percent.

The T.43 (the 2011 AR.1 concept is pictured below after the text) will be the company's first platform product available for license or sale, designed as an everyday coupe. Its iStream chassis is a high-strength aluminum frame with advanced carbon fiber composite panels instead of metal or fiberglass. Furthermore, iStream was designed to accommodate a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission.

A small engine indeed with a claimed 220 hp, but remember, weight is the biggest enemy in racing and cars in general. So that output is all the more impressive considering it needs to haul around only 1,873 lbs. To compare, a 2019 Mazda Miata weighs about 2,330 lbs.

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Gordon Murray Design further says the cost-effective iStream manufacturing process can also be applied to non-sports cars, including commercial vehicles, electric city cars, and SUVs. The T.43 is only the first vehicle, rightly a sports car, to utilize this process. The firm also didn't stop with the chassis; designing a new lightweight seat for the T.43, which is claimed to be 30 percent lighter than a standard seat thanks to its use of glass or recycled carbon fiber composite and a tubular frame. Basically, the iStream process was applied to the seat, which is also four-way adjustable and folds flat. Below are the T.43's general specs for you to further drool over.

• Power to weight ratio: 259 bhp per tonne

• Power: 220 bhp

• Weight: 850 kg

• Engine: 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbo

• Transmission: Six-speed manual

• Length – Rolling chassis: 3,640 mm

• Width: 1,750 mm

• Height – Rolling chassis: 1,240 mm

• Wheelbase – Rolling chassis: 2,500 mm

Obviously, the man himself is extremely proud of what he and his team have accomplished, stating that "The new iStream Superlight approach to vehicle manufacturing is a paradigm-shifting innovation for the global automotive industry. It is a breakthrough that will deliver the lightest chassis technology for decades to come. The Gordon Murray Design team has created a unique, adaptable and cost-effective way for manufacturers around the world to dramatically improve vehicle performance and efficiency."