"If you had to have only one supercar, the T.33 is it."
In an era of vaporware EV designs and bold claims of 5,000-horsepower hypercars from companies you've never heard of, gearheads can universally agree that anything Gordon Murray promises is going to be the real deal. The successor to the mighty McLaren F1 - the T.50 - hasn't even finished full development, but already, Gordon Murray Automotive is ready to announce the follow-up to it.
Meet the GMA T.33 - a new super-GT from the mind of one of the world's most famous car designers built to celebrate the combustion engine while it's still legally allowed to be produced. Unlike the three-seater T.50 supercar, the T.33 takes the form of a two-seat grand tourer. But while the GT term generally infers added weight and softness, the T.33 is the furthest thing from what anyone would describe as heavy, tipping the scales at just 2,403 lbs.
Built around a carbon fiber monocoque utilizing the iStream carbon technology from Gordon Murray Design, the T.33 is a true featherweight, while the carbon monocoque borrows a Formula 1-inspired safety cell to protect occupants. Behind the two-seat cockpit lies a now semi-familiar engine in a Cosworth-developed 3.9-liter V12 devoid of any forced induction.
This is the same unit used in the T.50, but a new car needed a new personality, which is why the GMA.2 engine has been reconfigured for use here. It revs out to 11,100 rpm - 1,000 less than the T.50 - but produces 607 hp at 10,500 rpm and 333 lb-ft of torque at 9,000 rpm with better power-to-weight than the McLaren F1.
Power is sent to the rear axle through an Xtrac six-speed manual transmission with a Salisbury limited-slip differential, but a lightning-fast six-speed Instantaneous Gearchange System (IGS) automatic will be available as an option, capable of shifting gears with no torque interruption in what GMA touts as "the world's fastest supercar gearchange."
Cosworth modified the cylinder heads, equipped new camshafts, variable valve timing, and engine mapping to enhance low-down torque, with 75% of the peak figure available from 2,500 rpm and 90% of it available from 4,500 rpm. No performance claims have been made, but given the light weight and the high revving nature, not to mention the available automatic, we'd imagine 60 mph comes up in under three seconds. The engine and transmission are more than just a powertrain, however, as they form a structural component of the GMA T.33, carrying all traction, braking, and cornering forces.
"The engine is the heart and soul of any supercar. And to ensure driving perfection, it must be bespoke, and it must be normally aspirated," says Gordon Murray. "We were fortunate that we had the world's greatest V12 from the T.50 as a starting point. Yet, nothing was taken for granted, and no part was automatically carried over without due diligence and consideration… Numerous systems and components were re-engineered and re-designed to pursue excellence, and we are 100 per cent confident that the GMA.2 V12 provides the perfect match for the T.33's driving characteristics."
In addition to the carbon fiber monocoque and structural powertrain integration, an entirely new suspension package has been implemented on the T.33 utilizing lightweight double wishbones front and rear with coil springs over alloy dampers, supported by aluminum alloy uprights and anti-roll bars. The rear is further enhanced with an Inclined Axis Shear Mounting (IASM) system, which sees the rear suspension mounted directly to the transmission casing. Preventing excess NVH as a result of this, the entire powertrain is mounted on anti-vibration bushes.
Built as a GT and not an all-out supercar, the T.33 sports a bespoke rack and pinion steering system - utilizing hydraulic assistance instead of electronic for the sake of enhanced feel and feedback. Low-profile tires help this, with the T.33 sporting staggered 19- and 20-inch forged aluminum-alloy wheels weighing less than 15.5 lbs each. Each wheel is shod in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S rubber measuring 235/35 up front and 295/30 at the rear. Housed within the wheels are Brembo Carbon Ceramic Material (CCM) brakes. Six-piston Monobloc alloy front calipers clamp down on 14.5-inch discs in front while four-piston Monobloc calipers at the rear act on 13.4-inch rotors.
Visually, the T.33 will divide opinion purely in its simplicity. There are no excessively wrought surfaces here, only clean lines and smooth, flowing aerodynamics. Murray claims that the T.33 was inspired by racers of the 1960s, which is noticeable in the prominent front fenders which protrude above the low hood. The overhangs are short and the shapes clean, with a central design line running from midway up the hood into the windshield by means of a central wiper blade.
Organically shaped LED headlights are simple in typical Gordon Murray fashion. The most complex design element is a blacked-out glasshouse with a silver hoop over the top - reminiscent of classic 911 Targas - above which sits the roof-mounted RAM intake scoop. The airbox is completely separate from the chassis, attached only to the engine itself. The rear features two round LED taillights, a clean Kammtail cut-off, and two centrally-mounted exhaust outlets.
There is no rear fan here as in the T.50's case, but many of the aerodynamic lessons learned there have been implemented. This is clearly visible in the large venturi tunnels on either side of the exhaust outlets. These are mere visual cues to the insane technicality going on underneath the car, with a new Passive Boundary Layer Control system that adjusts airflow based on the suction levels at the rear of the car. The only active aerodynamic element is a rear spoiler, which can automatically deploy at speed or be manually deployed by the driver. It also boasts a high-downforce mode and can act as an airbrake as seen on the likes of the McLaren GT.
"The beauty of simplicity is the key to the design of every GMA model, and the new T.33 is no exception," says Murray. "Every part, no matter how small and no matter that the owner may never see it, is designed to the same exacting standards as the body."
The interior seats only two, but will be available in both left- and right-hand drive to cater to a global audience. The T.33 has no touchscreens and no excess distraction. Everything has a purpose and nothing detracts from the driving experience. Even traditional turn signal stalks have been eschewed for buttons on the carbon fiber steering wheel. Behind this, a massive 4.7-inch analog tachometer dominates proceedings, flanked on either side by two smaller screens showcasing speed and other readouts and a trio of controls for lighting and climate control.
All primary and secondary controls, including the instruments and the pedals, are made from aluminum alloy, while the twin bucket seats themselves are fashioned from carbon fiber like the steering wheel. The T.33 may be classically styled, but it still features mod-cons like climate control, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.
As a GT, certain things are musts, including a particular level of practicality. The GMA T.33 has both a frunk and twin side luggage lockers inspired by the McLaren F1 and T.50, with a combined 9.9 cubic feet of storage, enough for six small suitcases.
The GMA T.33 will be built for a global audience, fully homologated worldwide. Just 100 examples will be built, each completely bespoke in its final specification. According to GMA, "If you had to have only one supercar, the T.33 is it," and each car will be built around seven core pillars: driving perfection, exclusivity, lightweight, premium, engineering art, a return to beauty, and a personalized customer journey.
"We are already developing a global reputation that we are unlike every other car manufacturer. We are not chasing trends. We are not chasing headline performance figures. We are not chasing sales. Nor will we ever be," says Murray. "Which is why now, and in the future, GMA vehicles will always abide by our seven core principles. Principles that represent the cornerstone of our brand, our world-leading vehicles and the legacy that we are creating."
Production will be handled at GMA's new Windlesham, Surrey headquarters and will be maintained through a global network of approved service centers and workshops. The first deliveries will begin in early 2024, with an eye-watering price tag of £1.37m (approx. $1.8 million).