How Cosworth is powering the Gordon Murray T.50 Supercar
When the all-new Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 supercar made its public debut on 4 August, car enthusiasts around the world were rapt. Every single part of the car was scrutinised, including Cosworth’s 3.9-litre V12 engine, which GMA describe as ‘the most engaging, characterful and driver-focused V12 engine ever produced.’
The 3.9-litre T.50 engine delivers maximum power (663PS) at 11,500rpm, on its way to a 12,100rpm redline. The maximum torque figure of 467Nm is produced at 9,000rpm, while the pick-up is a record-breaking 28,400 revs per second.
The T.50 has the highest power density (166PS-per-litre) of any road-going V12. It is also the lightest ever made thanks to a combination of exceptional design and lightweight materials (aluminium, steel and titanium) resulting in a total engine weight of just 178kg.
With a focus on driver engagement, the T.50’s engine will be the highest-revving and most responsive naturally-aspirated engine ever fitted to a production road car.
Fed by a roof-mounted cold-air ram induction inlet, the T.50 powerplant delivers 71% of its peak torque from 2,500rpm, with its maximum (467Nm) achieved at 9,000rpm. This usability, and the outright performance of the engine is coupled to another major achievement: the unit produces the highest power density of any naturally aspirated road car engine – 166PS-per-litre.
Packing this amount of power into the world’s lightest road car V12 (just 178kg) required yet more innovation. To achieve the weight target, the block is made from a high-strength aluminium alloy and the connecting rods, valves and clutch housing are titanium.
Focusing again on the driving experience, Murray strived for the engine to have very compact external dimensions and the lowest possible centre of gravity. Here, reducing the F1’s 125mm crank height was the goal, a feat more than achieved by the Cosworth team – the T.50’s crank sits just 85mm from the bottom of the engine.
Beneath the car’s two rear gullwing openings, Murrays motorsport heritage influences the appearance of the Cosworth GMA V12. Inspired by race car engines, it uses gear-driven ancillaries for lightness, with the added benefit of a clean and uncluttered engine bay. Murray was determined that the engine should be devoid of unsightly belts. All of the ancillaries are carefully positioned out of sight leaving the block heads, primary exhaust manifolds and inlet trumpets centre stage.
As well as effectively being an engineering work of art, T.50’s engine is semi-structural, providing much of the rigidity and weight saving found in a race car, without compromising driver comfort and cabin refinement. The semi-structural layout saves weight and increases stiffness while avoiding the noise, vibration and harshness penalties typically found with fully structural units, which increase cabin noise and hamper ride comfort.
As part of the early development process, the team surpassed efficiency and emissions requirements and completed plans for two engine maps. These driver-selectable modes ensure the T.50 is not only the ultimate driver’s car but is equally at home as a GT or a daily driver. While the engine offers usability and high-performance in either mode, ‘GT mode’ limits revs to 9,500rpm and with 600PS available, making the car even easier to drive around town.
If the driver selects ‘Power mode’, the full breadth of the car’s ability is unleashed, utilising all 663PS, and accessing the engine’s full 12,100rpm rev range. In this mode in particular, it promises to be one of the best sounding road car engines ever made – achieved partly through the extensive rev-range, but also influenced by the car’s Direct Path Induction Sound engineering, which channels the sound of the fabulous V12 into the cabin.
Gordon Murray: “To be truly remarkable, an engine needs to have the right characteristics: highly-responsive, an amazing sound, engaging torque delivery, free-revving, and it has to be naturally aspirated. For all those reasons, the engine in the T.50 was never going to be anything other than a V12.”