How Gordon Murray’s GMA Venture Is Saving The Supercar

The motoring world owes a lot to Mr Gordon Murray. The South-African-born designer has worked in Formula 1 and automotive fields for decades, most notably with the Brabham F1 Team and McLaren’s fledgling road car division. Both these outfits created magnificent creations like the BT46 and McLaren F1 which totally changed their respective games thanks to their innovative and uncharted designs. Now, Gordon has set up GMA (Gordon Murray Automotive) to build, well whatever he wants. Thankfully, what Gordon wants is spectacular.

The company’s first venture is the T.50, a spiritual successor to Gordon’s beloved McLaren F1 he designed 30 years ago. However, it also features a magnificent fan out the rear, inspired by his Brabham BT46. These two inspirations perfectly sum up what Gordon aims to achieve: timeless and elegant designs with innovative design doing the heavy lifting. The T.50 is so simple but still looks very modern, almost like a concept car due to an absence of shut-lines and bolted on bits. However, don’t be fooled, this isn’t a straight-line-speed-one-trick-pony, no the T.50 uses underfloor aero in conjunction with the fan to create a balanced and grippy machine.

Gordon’s genius really highlights the problem caused by other manufacturers lack of it. With all supercar manufacturers obsessed with trendy modernity that relies on touch screens, automation throughout and designs that are labelled radical simply due to their bolt-on show bits. Gordon seeks more though, he wants to create designs that are modern but timeless, has no care of what’s trendy now, rather a focus on timeless creativity. Performance suffers the same problems, it’s all about numbers and statistics which is why whenever McLaren make a new model with 700 horsepower, Ferrari have to quickly follow and make the exact same thing to statistically compete. I always used to think “how can they compare these cars?” when Top Gear compared the Lamborghini Huracán to newer machinery that had an extra 50 horsepower and could go to 60 two tenths faster.

This car has solidified what dawned on me a few years ago. It’s not about the numbers – it’s about the ethos of the car, it’s about the cars purpose and what it aims to achieve and you group it with other cars that have a similar purpose. What matters then is out of these similarly aimed cars, which feels the best to drive. Not which is fastest around a circuit or on a runway because as you and I know cars evoke feeling to us and are not a tool.

We are an endangered species you and I, we lovers of speed we devotees of power performance and noise. “Go away we are told”, and take your carbon fibre and fire-spitting v12s with you. There’s hardly a place for us out here anymore not amongst all the commuters and congestion, not in this growing age of safety and restraint where practicality trumps adrenaline. Where the ratio of miles to
the gallon is championed over horsepower to the weight. The evidence is everywhere, you and I are being squeezed out pushed
aside and hunted down at every air pin turn
Jeremy Clarkson – Forza Motorsport 4

It feels Gordon has challenged this quote from Clarkson in his ethos and purpose for his cars except the enemy is the big brands themselves. In particular, he’s channelled it into his newest creation: the T.33.

The T.33 uses the same engine as the glories T.50. The 3.9 litre naturally aspirated V12 is described as the greatest in combustion engine history by its creator Gordon. The V12 revs to an ear-splitting 11,100 rpm on the T.33 (and to 12,100 on its big brother T.50). It produces 607bhp and 333 lb ft of torque of which 75% is available at only 2,500 rpm. And then you still have 8,600 revs to go of full beans and V12 howl. Again, this shows Gordon’s incredible ingenuity, it has the torque of a hot hatch but it delivers it in a way that it feels like a hypercar. This is what the driving experience is about: not what you have available, but how it’s presented to you.

Whilst all supercar manufacturers are in a race in everything, the fastest, the most unique to look at and the most downforce but they end up making over-designed cars that are too fast to even enjoy and lose some of their driving prowess in terms of user experience.

Gordon says “ I challenge you to find something on this car that doesn’t do anything, there’s nothing that doesn’t do anything”

This is important because so many times have we seen fake grilles, random holes and random trim pieces, the latter, particularly in face lifts. But Gordon isn’t about the now. He’s not about satisfying people of the now who want a car that is winning said races, Gordon wants a car that will be beautiful to merely the keen eye now but will stay that way forever whilst other supercars around him are left behind and forgotten, this will live on forever.

It is such stubbornness to everybody else that forges the supercar in the first place. Ferruccio Lamborghini’s feud with the stubborn and unwavering Enzo Ferrari was the dawn of his brand and ultimately genesis: the Lamborghini Miura. In the early 2000s even, we saw such determination to be unique and total ignorance to rivals with the Ferrari Enzo, Porsche Carerra GT and McLaren SLR. All these cars were made to be their own unique masterpieces not be competitor in a silly on-paper race. This is why the hypercar holy trinity was so special, because yes the three cars were made to rival each other, but the concepts they all used were totally new and different to anything we’d seen before.

Behind all of the aforementioned cars was innovation. From powertrains to styling and to ethos, all those cars were innovative and ultimately timeless. This is what Gordon speaks about in the quote above, timelessness goes hand in hand with being innovative. This is why supercars become so dated so quickly, because they all follow the same recipe.

Luca J-V