Home / Social media / News / Two of Gordon Murray's awesome creation directly compared - the OG McLaren F1 and the new GMA T.50


When it comes to McLaren, especially that iconic McLaren F1 car from the 90s, South Africans have a proper soft spot for them. There’s a good enough reason for it too, that car that is regarded as one of the most amazing cars of all time was penned by a South African - Gordon Murray. It’s a fact that most motoring fanatics are aware of, but the older we get, the more people seem to forget the man’s Durban roots, instead thinking he hails from the UK. While he’s been spotted in SA plenty over the years, he is based in the UK, which is why people think he’s from there. Well, that and the accent and his link to McLaren Automotive that’s as British as it gets. Murray is actually a pretty damn cool chap, this here writer has had the pleasure of meeting him and sitting down to dinner with him some years back. Sure I was surrounded by people who get taxed more money in a month than I could make in five years, but the chap was pleasant enough to chat with and had time for my silly questions. Murray was born on June 18, 1946, in Durban, and his passion for cars progressed by studying mechanical engineering at Natal Technical College in Durban. In 1969 he joined the Brabham Racing Formula One as a designer and engineer and contributed to the development of the team’s successful racing cars. Years later in 1987, he joined McLaren Cars as the company’s Technical Director and it was during this time at that he led the design and development of the McLaren F1. The car was a technological marvel and has managed to stand the test of time, even being able to hold its own against modern supercars. In 2007, Murray founded Gordon Murray Design so that he could focus on innovations in automotive design and engineering without having to answer to anyone. It was here that he brought back the fan car design, and we’re seeing the fruit of that labour in actual cars that have been wowing motoring media for just over a year now. There’s the T.33, the T.33 Spider, the T.50 and the T.50S - all amazing cars that have amazing looks and performance to match.

The McLaren F1 changed the industry, over 30 years ago, and now thanks to the crew from Hagerty as well as well-known driver and automotive journo Henry Catchpole, someone has finally pitted two of Murray’s best creations against each other in a sort of head to head review and comparison. The timeless F1 is fitted with a massive normally aspirated 6.1 litre V12 powerplant that’s rated at a mightily impressive 461 kW of power with a powerful 650 Nm of torque. Considering there’s no boost in the setup, it’s an amazing power rating, and all that power is sent to the rear wheels which makes the car a handful to drive and isn’t for messing around, just ask Mr Bean. The 0-100 km/h run of the car can be done in 2.5 seconds, and it has a massive top speed of 391 km/h which was a world record for a normally aspirated car for many, many years. It might actually still belong to the F1. Murray’s latest creation, the T.50 also has a normally aspirated V12, but in this guise, the Cosworth-fettled engine measures in at just 3.9 litres in capacity. In the new car, the high-revving V12 makes 486 kW with 479 Nm of torque. The first one was produced in March 2023, and the rest of the 100-car production run is currently underway. One thing that makes the car a lot more special is the rear-mounted 400 mm fan that rapidly accelerates air passing under the car and forces it through active control ducts that are capable of increasing downforce by 50 %, reducing drag by 12.5 %. Besides all the technical things, Catchpole even checks out the cabin features, the interior space and the quality of the fit and finish, making this the comparison that we’ve all been waiting for - and exactly what we’d expect from the team from Hagerty. Take a look at the video, marvel at the South African roots of these cars, and be proud for a few minutes. 

Take a look at the YouTube video that sees Henry Catchpole take a closer look at two awesome Gordon Murray creations, the new GMA T.50 and the 90s classic - the McLaren F1: EXCLUSIVE: GMA T.50 finally meets McLaren F1 | Henry Catchpole - The Driver's Seat | Hagerty

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