Radio Controlled Fan Car Inspired By Gordon Murray's T.50

Technology / Comments

Fan cars for all ages.

It's impossible to argue that Gordon Murray hasn't changed the face of the automotive world as we know it. The man is an icon, and for good reason. His hands have built countless great cars, from the McLaren F1 to the GMA T.50. His central-seat design is still present in cars like the McLaren Speedtail, and even hypercars like the Koenigsegg Jesko simply can't approach the effect the man's cars have had on the automotive world at large.

Here then, is an example of that at a much smaller scale. Way back when Gordon Murray built the Brabham BT46B Formula 1 car. On the back of it was a fan that pulled air from under the car, helping it stick to the track by creating a vacuum under the floor of the car. Predictably, it worked incredibly well and was subsequently banned by the FIA, living on only in road cars like the T.50. Now it lives on in a radio-controlled car built by a British Youtuber.

ProjectAir/YouTube ProjectAir/YouTube ProjectAir/YouTube

James Whomsley is clearly a fan of the scientific method. He bought two identical R/C cars, modifying one with the Murray-inspired fan car setup and leaving the other untouched as a baseline. He very quickly discovered the challenges of building a T.50-based fan car like the Brabham BT46B. At first, it couldn't create enough of a vacuum against the floor. Skirts were added, which then shot anything under the car out of the fan and into the air. After adding a filter, the thing jammed with debris, causing a total loss of downforce.

However, just like the Brabham F1 car that inspired it, the R/C fan car was fast on its day. With a clean floor and proper skirts, the fan car was significantly easier to control than the unmodified car, in addition to being marginally faster on a slalom course. Marginally might sound like a failure here, but like the BT46B, marginal gains are sometimes all you need to win.

ProjectAir/YouTube ProjectAir/YouTube ProjectAir/YouTube

Some tinkering might be needed, but the gains made by the fan setup showed Whomsley, like Murray before him, that the idea will work with some tinkering. For Gordon Murray, that led to cars like the T.50. For Whomsley, it'll lead to a much-improved R/C car. And from there, well, who knows? Maybe Whomsley will be out there building iconic fan cars one day.

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