Living History: Gordon Murray T.50s

It is simply impossible to forget Niki Lauda. Still, designer Gordon Murray played it safe and memorialized his longtime friend in the new »T.50s Niki Lauda.« The sports car boasts a high-revving V12 engine, sophisticated aerodynamics and a few historical touches for an unforgettable driving experience.
Text Marko Knab
Photo Gordon Murray Automotive

Sometimes you just dedicate a car to a good friend. Like Gordon Murray did. To mark Niki Lauda's 72nd birthday, the South African presents a rally-prepped version of his current T.50 super sports car. Like the road-going version, the »T.50s Niki Lauda« uses a naturally aspirated Cosworth V12 engine with a rev limit of more than 12,000 rpm and with as much as 725 hp output. A blower at the rear, a mighty rear wing and further flaps for racetrack use conjure up a total of 1,500 kilograms of downforce - at a vehicle weight of 852 kilograms. This means: The vehicle basically adheres to the road. Niki Lauda would probably have been delighted.

That was also Gordon Murray's concern: »Niki was a great racing driver and also a good friend,« recalls the South African, whose designs in the 1970s and 1980s first helped Brabham and later McLaren win Formula 1 titles. In the process, he also got to know - and appreciate - Niki Lauda. »The T.50s is named in honor of Niki to commemorate his famous victory with the Brabham BT46B, the 'vacuum cleaner car,' at the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix.« In this car, a fan created a vacuum that virtually pressed the race car onto the road. It was a short-lived pleasure, however. The FIA later banned the design.

But fortunately, the FIA has no say in the T50s. So Murray set to work on the Niki Lauda edition, for which he transferred his principle of the »fan car« into the 21st century and tailored the T50 road sports car into a driving machine for the race track. The T50s Niki Lauda came onto the market on the Austrian's birthday. »He would certainly have appreciated the innovation and technical details inside the car we built,« the current head of Gordon Murray Automotive is certain.

»The T.50s is named in honor of Niki to commemorate his famous victory with the Brabham BT46B, the 'vacuum cleaner car,' at the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix.«

The T50s Niki Lauda is limited to 25 examples. Each vehicle is named in chronological order after a Murray Grand Prix victory. This is accompanied by a specially produced book containing Murray's memories of that exact race. Incidentally, the first copy bears the name »Kyalami 1974«. At that time, Carlos Reutemann won in the Murray-designed Brabham BT44. But someone else was on pole position: a guy named Niki Lauda.

Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s Niki Lauda
Engine: V12-Saugmotor
Displacement: 3.900 ccm
Power: 735PS (540kW)
Torque: 485Nm bei 9,000 U/min
0–100 km/h: k.a.
Vmax: ca. 330 km/h
Price: ca. 3,5 Mio. Euro

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