Does the Unique GMA T.50 Live Up to Expectations?

The Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 is a hypercar that has been designed to be driven. It’s not just a hypercar, it’s a driver’s hypercar. Ollie Marriage, Top Gear Magazine’s Head of Car Testing, recently had the opportunity to take the T.50 on a four-day, 900-mile road trip through the Pyrenees, from Barcelona to Bilbao, and what a road trip it was. The T.50 was designed for this kind of driving, taking in about 25 cols and passes, ricocheting between Spain, France and Andorra. This car is a breath of fresh air in a world of supercars that have become rolling artworks, more focused on showing off than driving. The T.50 is different. It’s a car that has been designed to be driven, not just admired. This objective was paramount for the car’s creator, Gordon Murray. The T.50 is his homage to the iconic McLaren F1, discarding the excesses of modern supercars for a raw, unfiltered driving experience.

Ever since the ignition of his passion for driving, Ollie had been searching for something elusive, a quest that found its answer in the form of the NA-137. The GMA T.50. The road and the car, a seamless fusion of man and machine that ignited a desire, if he ever had the choice, to spend his final tank of fuel in this automotive marvel. Ollie’s wish extended beyond the confines of the T.50. He yearned for the same weather and traffic conditions as that magical morning in early October. A week later, still lost in dreams of the T.50’s performance on those roads, Ollie found himself at a crossroads of relief and excitement.

The T.50 is not your common or garden hypercar. In fact, it’s not even clear if it’s a hypercar at all, given that it has less power than an entry-level McLaren Artura. However, that’s not the point. The T.50 is all about honouring and improving the F1, and it does so in spades. It’s a driver’s car, pure and simple. No power steering, no twin-clutch gearbox, no touchscreens, no adaptive dampers. Just a three-seat cockpit in a rear-drive carbon tub, powered by a naturally aspirated V12 engine, weighing less than a tonne. What makes the T.50 so special isn’t  what’s included, it what’s been left out, focusing solely on the essence of driving.

Encountering the T.50 at GMA’s service centre in Barcelona, Ollie was struck by its compact elegance. The initial disarmament gave way to a choreographed revelation as all doors and engine covers rose simultaneously with a press and hold of the chunky key’s unlock button. A mechanical ballet played out in front of his eyes. Inside, the cockpit was a harmonious space of simplicity and functionality. Everything was within reach, designed for the driver’s ease.

GMA T.50 Left Side

As Ollie set out on his journey through the Pyrenees, the T.50 unfolded its magic. The Cosworth V12 engine, a masterpiece in its own right, unleashed more than just high revs; it delivered the entire spectrum of driving. From gentle burbles through villages to the explosive roar beyond 6,000 rpm, the engine brought exceptional power and precision. Navigating the winding roads, Ollie discovered the T.50’s sweet spots in third and fourth gear corners. The physicality of the steering, the precise gear changes, and the responsive pedals demanded skill and finesse. The T.50 was a teacher, demanding accuracy and offering immense satisfaction in return.

GMA T.50 Front Left

Night fell as Ollie approached Pamplona, yet the T.50’s headlights cut through the darkness with precision. Navigating through width restrictors and speed bumps, the T.50 showcased its urban prowess without compromising its elegant design. The doors flared open, revealing its mystery, captivating onlookers in the midnight streets. Ascending to the highest pass in the Pyrenees, the T.50 shed its weight at altitude, becoming a feather-light 996.966kg. The engine, a relentless wonder, showcased its versatility, from gentle village strolls to the pure scream of a Nineties F1 machine beyond 10,000 rpm.

The T.50, contrary to expectations, delivered an ease of use in every driving aspect. It was demanding, raw, and unfiltered, standing apart from other hypercars that filtered the driving experience through electronic processes. This wasn’t merely due to the weight loss; it was a reductionist engineering masterpiece. Stripping away everything that interfered with driving, the T.50 provided an immersive, human-like driving experience. 

Marriage was blown away by the T.50. He had expected it to be good, but it exceeded his expectations. It wasn’t better or worse than he had anticipated, it was just different. The T.50 was his for four whole days, and he drove it close to 900 miles. He took it through the secluded mountain range of the Pyrenees, investigating the length and breadth of the area. The T.50 was designed for this kind of driving, and it showed.

GMA T.50 Birds Eye View Open Doors

As Ollie concluded his sojourn, an unforgettable experience that was an ode to driving, a celebration of every facet of the road, and a reminder that sometimes, less is indeed more. The T.50 is a car that has been designed to be experienced, not just seen, and that’s what makes it so special.

Quick glace stats

Price: £2.8m (sold out)

Engine: 3994cc naturally aspirated Cosworth V12

Power: 664bhp @ 11,000rpm

Torque: 353lb ft @ 8,000rpm

Gearbox: 6spd Xtrac manual, RWD 0-62mph: n/a

Top speed: 226mph (with shorter 6th gear)

Economy: 20.2mpg (Ollie’s figure).

More T.50 Stats

  1. Top Speed
    The top speed of the GMA T.50 is 226 mph, as determined by the ESP calibration process. The car Ollie drove had a longer sixth gear, which influenced the top speed. However, GMA is still unsure if the car would be faster or slower with this gearing.
  2. Rev Gain/Loss
    Contrary to Cosworth’s initial claim, the flywheel-less V12 can gain 52,000 rpm per second. The engine also produces a flame when it gets hot.
  3. Economy
    The GMA T.50 achieved a best fuel economy of 25 mpg on a cruise from Barcelona to the French coast. After that, the car covered 600 miles without touching a motorway, resulting in an overall economy of 20.2 mpg. This is a significant improvement compared to other supercars on the same journey, showcasing the benefits of the car’s lightweight design.
  4. Torque
    The 3994cc naturally aspirated V12 engine in the GMA T.50 is highly flexible and torquey. At just 2,500 rpm, 71% of the maximum torque (353 lb ft at 8,000 rpm) is already available.
  5. Fan
    The fan in the GMA T.50 serves primarily for stability, not downforce. It spins at up to 7,000 rpm, contributing to 200 kg of downforce at 150 mph and 460 kg at the vehicle’s top speed. The fan modes include Streamline, which closes the floor vents, lowers the flaps by 10°, and pulls air from the engine bay, creating virtual long tail aerodynamics.
  6. Acceleration
    GMA has not yet determined the 0-60 mph time for the T.50. The company advises keeping this information a mystery, focusing on the driving experience rather than just the numbers.
  7. Load Bays
    The GMA T.50 offers 228 litres of storage space, with an additional 30 litres available around the cabin. While the spaces may not seem large, they are well designed and functional. Cooler air is found lower down, as the exhaust system exits towards the top.
  8. Gear lever
    The gearlever in the GMA T.50 is the only area where weight could be reduced. GMA experimented with three different gearlever weights to achieve the desired action. The final choice was not the lightest option.
  9. Wheels & Tyres
    The GMA T.50 features 19-inch front wheels with 235/35 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires and 20-inch rear wheels with 295/30 tires. The brake system uses Brembo’s CCM-R callipers, with 370 mm front rotors and 340 mm rear rotors. Initially, the engineers considered integrating the fly-off handbrake calliper into the main calliper but found that it added weight.
  10. Gearbox
    The gearbox in the GMA T.50 is developed by Xtrac and weighs just 80.5 kg. It features a 184 mm trip plate made of carbon silicon and titanium, as well as a clutch with a carbon fibre friction plate.

Ollie Marriage’s favourite things on the T.50

  1. Gear Shifter
    The tactile and precise action of the gear shifter is a testament to the satisfaction derived from operating the T.50. The gear shifter’s design and functionality exemplify the car’s commitment to an engaging driving experience.
  2. Keyless Entry
    The keyless entry system, while somewhat large for a car of this stature, offers a unique and captivating experience. With a simple press of a button, the doors elegantly rise on hydraulic rams, adding a touch of drama to the car’s entrance. However, closing the doors requires a bit more effort.
  3. Interior Plaque
    Among the various remarkable features within the T.50, a simple yet elegant plaque stands out, symbolising the car’s commitment to simplicity and functionality. Additionally, the lever above serves as the release for the side locker, adding to the car’s practicality.
  4. Illuminated Rev Counter
    Unlike conventional backlit dials, the T.50’s rev counter is illuminated from the sides, creating a visually stunning effect, especially in low-light conditions. The unique lighting accentuates the instrument panel, adding to the overall allure of the car’s interior.


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