Gordon Murray teases 12,000-rpm V-12 for upcoming McLaren F1 successor
Gordon Murray, the man behind the legendary McLaren F1, is working on a new V-12 supercar that harnesses naturally aspirated V-12 power and promises thrilling driver engagement. Gordon Murray Automotive (GMA) won’t premiere its T.50 supercar until August 4. In the meantime, however, GMA gave us all plenty to whet our appetite by dropping lots of specs on the Cosworth GMA V-12 engine that will power the new supercar.
GMA promises that the bespoke 3.9-liter engine will be “the highest revving, fastest responding, most power-dense, and lightest naturally aspirated V-12 road car engine ever.” Those are some serious claims, but the engine backs up the words with some impressive numbers. It produces 665 horsepower at a screaming 11,500rpm on the way to its 12,100rpm redline. That’s 166 horsepower per liter! From idle, it will hit that 12,100rpm redline in just .3 seconds.
According to the GMA press release, the engine is “characterful,” which we believe translates to, “makes fun noises.”
“To be truly remarkable, an engine needs to have the right character; highly-responsive, an amazing sound, engaging torque delivery, free-revving, and it has to be naturally aspirated. For all those reasons, the engine in the T.50 was never going to be anything other than a V12.” —Gordon Murray
One of the goals of the T.50 project was a curb weight of less than 1000 kg, or 2200 pounds. That mandated a lightweight, power-dense engine that had never been put in a road car before. Inspired by the likes of Ferrari 250 GTO’s 3.3-liter powerplant and Honda’s 3.5-liter F1 V-12 from McLaren MP4/6 Formula 1 cars, the T.50’s engine is entirely bespoke, sharing no parts with any other engine. Unlike those race-only engines, the T.50’s powerplant will feature a broader torque curve, producing 71 percent of its maximum 344 lb-ft at just 2 500 rpm. That should help drivability and enable low-rpm cruising in the highway-friendly sixth gear of the Xtrac six-speed manual. First through fifth gear are closely spaced for track enjoyment and performance, however.
While performance was paramount when engineering the V-12, the engine had to look good as well. The powerplant will be on prominent display in the car, with GMA referring to the engine bay as a “viewing gallery.” As such, the engine won’t have any coverings and won’t use any belt-driven accessories. Murray explained, “In designing the T.50 V12, I wanted it to be the antidote to the modern supercar where you can’t see the engine beneath carbon covers.”
The T.50 won’t rely on just the groundbreaking engine for propulsion, a 50-horsepower boost will come from a 48-volt integrated starter-generator system.
Until the T.50 is fully revealed we’ll have to be satisfied with the great looks we’ve got of the engine so far. To be honest, now we just want to hear it sing.