Gordon Murray, the father of the McLaren F1 supercar of the 1990s, is in talks to race at Le Mans with his company's new T50 supercar, he confirmed this week. If approved, it will set up a return to the venue conquered by the McLaren F1 more than two decades ago.
Motor Sport Magazine broke the news that Murray is in talks with the FIA to enter the Gordan Murray Automotive T50 in the World Endurance Championship's forthcoming hypercar class, which will likely be populated by various high-tech showcase cars from both bespoke manufacturers and mainstream brands such as Toyota. Even Lamborghini recently expressed interest in the class, despite not having committed any resources to a car designed specifically to contest it.
Gordon Murray Automotive is working on a supercar that has been described as the spiritual successor to the McLaren F1. Powered by a V-12 and featuring technology borrowed from Murray's experience designing cars for Formula One—including the active downforce utilized in the famous Brabham BTG46B "fan car"—only 100 examples of the T50 will be sold for $2.5 million a pop.
Murray has stated his goal is to build the purest, most driver-focused car possible. Features that made the McLaren F1 so iconic, like it's central driving position and outboard passenger seats, will be incorporated. Unfortunately, this seating configuration makes it impossible to properly implement side air bags as required for road use. That means that while Canepa can sell you a T50 (and service it, too), you'll have to trailer it between racetracks.
The 3.9-liter V-12 will be supplied by engine-builder Cosworth, and it's expected to rev to 12,100 rpm. It will be mated to a 6-speed manual transmission rather than a dual-clutch unit like those used in the current crop of hypercars. The active aero will suck the air from beneath the T50's carbon-fiber tub, precluding the need for the excessive wings and other wild exterior features that pepper most dedicated performance machines.
Should it be approved, the T50 will compete with entries from Aston Martin, Glickenhaus, and Toyota in the new hypercar class at the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans. Other automakers may get on board as well.