In-house development of the world's lightest ever supercar has been almost completely free of disruption.
In case you haven't heard, McLaren is cutting jobs by more than a quarter. McLaren, the company that built the original F1 supercar, has been hit hard by the economic downturn and is being forced to radically reduce its workforce, delaying the production of almost all cars, including McLaren's loose translation of the F1, the Speedtail. Gordon Murray Automotive, with F1-designer Gordon Murray at the helm, is even smaller than the company that first gave Murray a road car to design. Yet, thanks to virtual updates, buyers are kept in the loop. In addition, most of GMA's major components are sourced in the UK, meaning that GMA doesn't need to import much very often to continue working on the son of the F1, the T.50.
We've heard something of what its record-breaking V12 is going to sound like, and before that, we were teased with renders and sketches of the new car. Now, GMA has updated us on some new milestones and achievements.
The Cosworth three-cylinder engine - that will form the basis of the T.50's glorious naturally-aspirated, 12,100-rpm V12 - has been completed and the power plant has passed with flying colors, surpassing targets for power and torque figures as well as emission. This means that the engineers can now start building the pieces that will become the complete V12. GMA reassures us that the engine will be running by the end of next month. In addition, the first transmission units have arrived from Xtrac and are being tested, while tooling for composites have begun at Formaplex.
The exciting aero aid that is the rear fan has also been put together and is being assessed. Meanwhile, using clever computation fluid dynamics aids, GMA has been able to determine that this fan will improve aerodynamic performance far better than the company has intended. What more could you ask for amid all the chaos in the world? Maybe there is something other luxury automakers can learn from Murray's philosophies. Still, there's one more juicy bit of information.
According to GMA's latest press release, a drivable prototype will be ready before the fourth quarter of this year. Will Gordon Murray's vision continue to develop on schedule? Will we really get to hear what that V12 is like by the end of September? Only time will tell, but based on the latest progress, it's tough to bet against everything going according to plan.
After all, this man created the fastest car in the world, and it held that title longer than a car that "primitive" had any right to, because it wasn't primitive. It was ahead of its time. The man had been thinking of a three-seater supercar since his youth, and since the McLaren F1 was built, he's been thinking of ways to make it lighter, purer, better to drive. With more than 20 years to ponder this, and technology having lept ahead since then, we think the T.50 will be right on time.