Gordon Murray has unveiled his jaw-dropping T.50s Niki Lauda in conjunction with the Austrian Formula One driver’s 72 birthday who sadly is no longer with us…
The supercar has been developed in parallel with the T.50, the most driver-centric supercar ever built and is described as being ‘designed and engineered to offer the ultimate on-track driving experience’.
Limited to a build of 25, the T.50s Niki Lauda will be available in track version only and tips the scales at just 852kg accompanied by a substantially redesigned version of the T.50’s Cosworth-engineered 3.9-litre V12, producing 725bhp, revving to 12,100rpm and going through a newly-designed Xtrac six-speed paddle-shift gearbox.
Anything that wears the iconic name of Niki Lauda and costs £3.1m (before taxes) needs to push the boundaries as far as humanly possible and this incredible machine achieves that and some. The drastically rejigged V12 engine delivers 711PS at 11,500rpm, on its way to a 12,100rpm rev-limit. At 178hp/litre, the specific power output of the T.50s Niki Lauda’s V12 exceeds that of the all-conquering Cosworth DFV Formula One engine. The power-to-weight ratio of 835PS/tonne betters that of a naturally aspirated LMP1 car.
In his quest for speed, Brabham teammate Gordon Murray has made sure the version of the Cosworth GMA V12 weighs in at only 162kg… a whopping 16kg less than what was already the lightest road-going V12 engine ever. The weight-saving measures extend to the intake, exhaust and control systems, as well as the engine itself. All the valves are made from titanium, while there is no variable valve timing due to the additional weight of the geartrain and electronic control system.
A simpler induction system features 12 throttle bodies on top of the engine, fed directly by the racing-style air box. The exhaust system does without catalytic converters, has thinner Inconel walls and, with only track noise limits to meet, benefits from smaller silencers.
T.50s Niki Lauda – Gallery
Professor Gordon Murray CBE:
“The T.50 is the ultimate road-going supercar, but I always dreamed of taking it one step further… to build a version that will deliver an on-track driving experience like no other car in history.
“When we created the McLaren F1 GTR it was developed from the F1 road car. From its inception, the T.50s Niki Lauda, though, was designed in parallel with the T.50. For the T.50 our target was clear, to make the best driver’s car for the road. With the T.50s Niki Lauda, it was equally clear, to make it the best driver’s car for the track. Putting it another way, we asked ourselves what would be the coolest thing to drive on the track and create a track driving experience like no other car in history?
“We had no interest in achieving the ultimate lap time or creating an over-tyred and over-downforced spaceship at the expense of driver involvement because ultimately you have to possess an F1 driver level of skill and fitness to get the best out of them.
“Instead, I laid out some parameters to create the ultimate driver’s car and experience on track: a central driving position, a V12 just behind your ear revving to over 12,000rpm, producing over 700 horsepower and with an even faster response time than the T.50, downforce limited to 1500kg and a weight of under 900kg. Plus the ability to turn up at any track, make a few basic checks and have fun, without the need for an entire support crew.
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“In my view, it doesn’t get better than that and is driving in its purest form. The T.50s Niki Lauda will give a visceral connection between driver, car and track, the like of which has not been experienced to date.
“I can just imagine going round your favourite circuit, sitting in the middle with that unsilenced V12 screaming just behind you – the driving experience will be something special. With a power-to-weight ratio better than that of a naturally aspirated LMP1 car, it is also going to be searingly quick and, with such a low weight, will change direction like an F1 car.
“With the direction of travel of the automotive industry, it’s hard to imagine that there will ever be another car quite like this. Especially not one with a central driving position, a high-revving naturally aspirated V12 engine and that is so lightweight. I believe it will go on to define its era.”
Gordon Murray and the team have put their heart and soul into the T.50s Niki Lauda and have even managed to retain the T.50’s balanced and classic proportions. There’s no doubt this is an eye-catching machine with its striking central fin and Niki Lauda logo.
At the rear, the distinctive 400mm fan from the T.50 is retained, accompanied by an even larger rear diffuser and a new delta wing. The rear grille features a T.50s badge and ‘Fan Car’ script.
The aerodynamic elements continue at the front of the car. Barge boards are sculpted to improve airflow to the side ducts, which house the oil cooling systems for the engine and transmission. A splitter and dive planes are also prominent and further reflect the car’s aero-influenced design. At the same time, the purity of the T.50 is not lost, creating a purposeful yet elegant look.
Anyone shelling out £3.1m has the option to individualise their T.50s Niki Lauda via the choice of colours and liveries available so that no two cars will be alike.
No doubt Niki Lauda will be pleased with the car that pays homage to an F1 legend…