725-HP, 1878-LB Gordon Murray T.50S Niki Lauda Is Named to Honor a Legend

Photo credit: Gordon Murray Automotive
From the car and driver
The pure track version of Gordon Murray's T.50 hypercar is here and is named after the three-time Formula 1 champion Niki Lauda.
The 725-horsepower 3.9-liter naturally aspirated V-12 revs to 12,100 rpm in a car that is said to weigh just 1,878 pounds.
Only 25 will be built, priced over $ 3 million, and 15 have already been spoken for.
When Gordon Murray only shared early details about his hypercar on the racetrack last year, Gordon Murray promised that the finished version would have a "historically significant" name in addition to the T.50S model code. He absolutely delivered on it: The car should now be known as Niki Lauda, ​​a tribute to the three-time Formula 1 champion, who died in 2019 and would have turned 72 today.
Photo credit: Gordon Murray Automotive
The final technical specifications of the Niki Lauda have changed slightly since we first told you about the car. They are supposed to make it one of the most extreme vehicles in the world. Weighing in at just 1,878 pounds, it's on the right track, according to GMA - more than 200 pounds lighter than its street sibling, the T.50, unveiled last summer. The performance will come from an even better tuned version of the T.50's 3.9-liter V-12 with a naturally aspirated engine that develops 725 hp and reaches a dizzying 12,100 rpm. Those numbers mean that, as Murray puts it, "has the same power-to-weight ratio as the car that finished second at Le Mans last year".
"T.50S was always a working title. We needed something to apply the drawings to just about anything else," Murray told us during a virtual tour of the new car. "But after Niki was over, I suddenly realized it was a perfect homage: a racing car with a fan on its back. Niki was a great friend, not just someone who drove for me - and his family agreed on that it was a fantastic idea to commemorate the win in Sweden. "
Lauda's victory at Anderstorp in 1978 was the only win for the Murray-designed Brabham BT46B "Fan Car", which inspired the development of the T.50's much more advanced active fan system. Each of the series of just 25 Niki Laudas will also have a plaque commemorating a race won by one of Murray's Formula 1 cars on a different course. The first was named Kyalami in 1974.
Photo credit: Gordon Murray Automotive
The noise level is à la carte
Without catalytic converters and much smaller exhaust silencers, the Niki Lauda is also significantly louder than the regular T.50. "I know from Formula 1 in the seventies that you mix the impulses when you put the pipes close together, and it sounds like double the speed," explains Murray. "We have the pipes right next to each other on the back of the car. So when it comes to full speed for the first time, it sounds like 24,000 rpm." Owners are offered a choice of different amounts of exhaust attenuation to accommodate different track restrictions.
Like the roadworthy T.50, the Niki Lauda also has fan-assisted aerodynamics in which a 48-volt fan is used to increase the effectiveness of its underfloor diffuser. The normal car varies the speed of its fan to provide different levels of aerodynamic support. However, support for the rail vehicle is always in full swing. Maximum downforce is 3,300 pounds, with GMA assuming the car will generate more than its own weight at 175 mph, and therefore theoretically it can stand on its head. "In a corner at 150 mph, the T.50S will pull about 2.5 g of lateral acceleration and 3.5 g when braking," promises Murray.
While the Niki Lauda has an obvious design relationship to the regular T.50S, it also exhibits significant differences. The most obvious is a sizeable rear wing and an LMP1-style fore-and-aft fin that connects these to the canopy. There is also an inlet "periscope" to direct air into the engine. The front end of the rail vehicle has received a much larger splinter and air canalizing submersible planes. There are three NACA ducts on the panel, of which the two outboards direct air to the brakes and the middle one ensures ventilation of the cabin.
Photo credit: Gordon Murray Automotive
The interior is as minimalistic as the rest of the car. The Niki Lauda retains the central driving position of the regular T.50, but has only a single passenger seat. A yoke style steering wheel contains basic controls and faces a single digital screen. Other functions are controlled by a series of toggle switches on the right. The Niki Lauda's carbon structure is proudly displayed throughout, and both the side windows and windshield use thinner glass than the T.50.
No manual transmission
A slight disappointment is the lack of the manual gearbox, which Murray insisted on as standard on the standard T.50. A six-speed paddle transmission developed by X-Trac is standard. Murray says a manual transmission would have distracted rather than added to the experience. "The engine picks up speed even faster than the road car, has less inertia and the gear ratios are closer because the top speed is lower. So the gear changes are going to come so quickly that honestly I don't think you're 'I want the wheel release to find an H pattern gear slot as many times as necessary. "
Photo credit: Gordon Murray Automotive
Early hopes that the Niki Lauda would compete in the FIA-proposed hypercar class have not been fulfilled. "In the end, they suggested some sort of silhouette formula with a simple LMP2 chassis underneath, which wasn't for us," says Murray. However, there is hope that Niki Lauda's buyers will ultimately be able to drive their cars through what is known as the GT1 Sports Club. "First you would be invited to some of the GT championships, with the option to watch the race, but then stay for a few days and drive it," says Murray. "If that's successful, [Founder Stéphane Ratal] will talk about creating a Pro-Am series that would be a backup for the GT Championship."
Murray says around 15 Niki Laudas have already been sold and expects the remainder of the 25 run to be quickly awarded after the car starts. The price is equivalent to $ 3 to $ 4.4 million at current exchange rates. Production is scheduled to begin in January next year.
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