The T.50s Niki Lauda is the perfect limited edition track day car

The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda
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The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda
The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda front
The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda
The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda rear
The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda rear detail
The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda
The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda rear
The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda
The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda side
The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda side
The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda fan detail
The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda Fancar logo
The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda aero detail on the side
The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda fin
The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda interior view from the driver's seat
The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda interior looking at the passenger seat

This…is the new Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda, a track only version of Gordon Murray’s incredible T.50 which many believe to be the spiritual successor to the original McLaren F1. That original McLaren F1 spawned the F1 GTR for racing purposes, but with the T.50s Niki Lauda it was designed in parallel with the road going version.

Also like the T.50, this car, surprisingly, isn’t about lap times despite its track only credentials. This is a car that is focused for track use but not developed to be the fastest car on the planet however one imagines if Gordon had set out to do so, he would’ve succeeded. The closest conceptually would have to be the Brabham BT62, a car built in a similar vein drawing on a similar F1 heritage yet weighing slightly more towards performance than driver engagement as it started out as a track car first and road car second. That’s not to say the T.50s would be slower, in fact very much the opposite given the degree of engineering involved and well, Gordon Murray.

Murray understands that by creating a high downforce car the knock on effect this has (such as requiring huge tyres and changing the grip dynamics), it creates something that can only be driven and appreciated by fit and extremely talented race drivers. That’s why downforce is limited to 1,500kg (in development the team were reaching downforce levels of 1,900kg) and why owners will be able to turn up to a track with their car, start the engine, and just drive. Despite that Murray describes the experience similar to racing cars:

“In my view it doesn’t get better than that and is driving in its purest form. The T.50s Niki Lauda will give a visceral connection between driver, car and track, the like of which has not been experienced to date. 

I can just imagine going round your favourite circuit, sitting in the middle with that unsilenced V12 screaming just behind you – the driving experience will be something special. With a power to weight ratio better than that of a naturally aspirated LMP1 car, it is also going to be searingly quick and, with such a low weight, will change direction like an F1 car.”

The engine utilises the T.50’s Cosworth-engineered 3.9-litre V12, producing 725bhp and 485Nm of torque at 9,000rpm and revving to 12,100rpm, getting to that limit faster than in the “regular” T.50. Helping to achieve those figures is the RAM induction airbox, revised cylinder heads and camshafts, plus a higher compression ratio of 15:1. The engine even weighs 16kg less. That helps the power-to-weight ratio of 835PS/tonne which Gordon claims is better than that of a naturally aspirated LMP1 car. The bespoke straight-through exhaust system will have you kicked out of many regular track days but that’s ok, most owners will probably just book the entire track out or attend invitational events anyway.

The manual transmission has been substituted for a bespoke Xtrac IGS (Instantaneous Gearshift) six-speed paddle shift gearbox which may seem a odds with Gordon’s claims of this not focusing on lap times yet the rate at which corners will appear, you’ll want both hands on the steering wheel. Besides, if you really want a manual transmission, there’s nothing stopping you from taking your T.50 out on the track and thrashing it about, and I’d wager a large percentage of T.50 owners will also be T.50s owners. The gearing is aimed at track driving with top speeds of 200-210mph most likely but customers wanting to drive tighter circuits can spec closer ratios which sees the top speed drop to 170mph.

The brakes carry over from the T.50 with improved ducting to help with cooling. The magnesium forged 18-inch wheels (yes, 18-inch!) weigh less than 6kg each and measure 250mm wide at the front (25/64 18”) and 300mm wide at the rear (30/68 18”).

The lightweight carbon fibre monocoque has an F1- style ‘passenger safety cell’ and is extremely rigid. All exterior panels are made of carbon fibre as you’d expect. The forged aluminium front and rear double wishbone suspension system is the same as that on the T.50 but with optimised springs, dampers and anti-roll bar and a noticeable lowered ride height of 87mm at the front and 116mm at the rear.

Opening up the dihedral doors it’s all business. The seats are full racing carbon fibre jobs with fore and aft adjustment, and is secured with a six-point harness. A passenger can sit on the left but the extra space on the right is taken up by a lucky fire extinguisher. The rectangular carbon fibre steering wheel features all the buttons you’d typically need although still about 412 short of an F1 car.

The T.50s somehow looks more resolved at the rear, perhaps it’s the way the body forms around those rear lights and creates a circular visual language that makes the fan seem more integrated. There’s a larger rear diffuser and new delta wing which was inspired by the front wing on Murray’s 1983 Brabham BT52 Formula One car and adds scary amounts of purposeful drama. Sculpted barge boards, a splitter and dive planes all improve airflow with Murray keen to not disrupt the form of the T.50s shell. It’s all adjustable too. There’s plenty of other aero details throughout the car, far too many to list here!

Though not precisely the same, is it any coincidence the car is launched in orange, the corporate brand colour of McLaren? Doesn’t matter. Owners will be able to spec their own colours and liveries with the hope that no two cars will be the same.

The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda

And what an honour bestowed upon Gordon’s great friend Niki Lauda, the car bearing his name by celebrating their win together in the Brabham BT46B fan car in the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix. Given Lauda’s relentless pursuit of excellence I have no doubt he would’ve absolutely approved of this car. It’s brutally honest, innovative, cheeky, and devastatingly quick, all attributes Niki embodied. The large fin designed to enhance stability bears the Niki Lauda logo.

Gordon Murray F1 cars went on to win 25 races and each car will be named after one of Gordon Murray’s grand prix wins on different circuits. Of course the level of customer service extends beyond just buying the car and grabbing the keys as GMA will be able to set up the car to customer wishes at a dedicated track day with engineers and experts with other events planned for the future.

Limited to just 25 cars this is a very special, highly coveted car that we hope will be seen, driven, and heard.

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