Gordon Murray’s dream has finally realised after four decades years. Ever since he introduced the world to the first ground effects car 41 years ago in the form of the Brabham BT46B F1 car in 1978, it’s been his dream to develop something similar for the road. The first renders of the T.50 ground effects car finally bring his vision to reality, ready to be unleased to the world in May 2020. This is the first time someone has thought of shaking up the decades old formula for road-going hypercars, it’s bold, innovative and era-changing in the way we conceive road-car aerodynamics.
The T.50 builds on the principle of ground effects where the car’s underbody acts as ducts to channel air towards the back of the car, where the fan channels air out creating accelerated active downforce. The 400mm fan on the T.50 itself has six different aero modes; “Auto Mode” optimises use of the rear aerofoil, fan and underbody diffusers according to the speed and driver input. “Braking Mode” is activated automatically when the driver applies brakes to provide double the downforce, meaning that the T.50 can stop a full 10 meters shorter when braking from 150mph.
Apart from the two automatic modes, rest of the four modes are driver-selectable. “High Downforce” mode increases downforce by 30% aiding in better traction. “Streamline Mode” reduces drag by 10% helping in achieve better straightline performance. Then there is “Vmax Mode” which switches the aerodynamics to Streamline Mode, but adds in a boost of 30bhp by adding power from the 48-volt starter generator. “Test Mode” is the final mode which can be used to demonstrate the car’s aero-capabilities while at standstill.
While Gordon Murray is taking an advance approach to aerodynamics for the T.50, he thankfully prefers to keep the internals traditional. There’s no hybrid malarky here. The powertrain is a Cosworth co-developed 4.0-litre V12 unit that will be capable of developing 650hp, but more importantly, would be able to rev up to 12,000rpm! Not just that, but Murray has decided to go proper analog by including the T.50 fan car with a 6-speed manual gearbox. This all sounds like a recipe for an incredible experience, perhaps one of the last few truly visceral ones from the internal combustion era that is doomed to obsoletion over the next decade or so.