Watch GMA Torture Test The T.50 Supercar

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This is rather painful to watch.

Of all the supercars and hypercars released recently, two stand out for an unusual reason. Both the McLaren Speedtail and the Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 channel the spirit of the McLaren F1 via their central driving position, although each differs in its approach to performance. Our preference goes to the T.50, and as we've learned more and more about the puritanical focus on excellence that the GMA team is applying to it, our respect for it is only increasing.

As a relatively small automaker, one might have expected Gordon and his engineers to find some shortcuts, but that's not the case in any aspect of the car's development, including the calibration of the airbag systems. GMA has thoroughly abused the car to make sure that it exceeds expectations, not just as a high-performance track toy, but as a usable automobile too.

Gordon Murray Automotive/YouTube
Gordon Murray Automotive/YouTube
Gordon Murray Automotive/YouTube

The above video is narrated by Indy 500 legend Dario Franchitti, who is helping to develop the car, and shows the T.50 being tortured at ATP (Automotive Testing Papenburg) in Germany. The test starts off with the supercar traveling along the infamously bumpy Belgian Pave (choppy cobblestone) test road at 60-80 kph (37-49 mph). If the airbags go off here, the sensors are too sensitively calibrated. This also allows the engineers to see how well the suspension damping systems are working. Remarkably, the car stays a lot calmer and flatter than you may expect, and even when braking hard, the nose doesn't scrape. Murray has clearly designed this car to be usable every day.

Next is the gravel heap test at 30 kph (18 mph), and the T.50 seems to handle this very well. Following that is an aggressive pothole test, performed at 25-37 mph. If an airbag goes off unexpectedly here, there is a problem. Again, nothing seems to go askew, although some rubber or plastic does appear to detach from the car.

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Gordon Murray Automotive/YouTube
Gordon Murray Automotive/YouTube
Gordon Murray Automotive/YouTube

Next is a recessed rail crossing, with more underbody plastics coming off but no other issues (besides some visible sparking beneath the car). This test was performed at 37-49 mph and again, no airbag deployment occurs.

Then comes a 250-millimeter-high ramp test, undertaken at around 43 mph, and as violent as the jump is, the airbag doesn't go off. Then comes the so-called sleeping policeman, a bump that is meant to force you to slow down. Attacked at 28-37 mph, the nose of the car easily clears and the airbag does not deploy. A truly painful test follows this, called the steel beam test. The tie-rod and tire were damaged, but that's all. Not even the wheel was hurt. Rutted roads, simulated wildlife, and even jump tests are all passed with flying colors, and the entire week-long testing program was completed in just four days.

Sure, $3.1 million is a lot for a supercar, but at least you can have confidence that it's not going to let you down.

GMA
Gordon Murray Automotive
GMA
GMA

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