- gordon murray automotive has revealed the t.33 supercar.
- it's meant to be more accessible than the t.50 and will be cheaper, at around $1.85 million.
- the t.33 has a naturally aspirated 607-hp v-12 engine and available manual transmission.
when gordon murray automotive launched the spectacular t.50, the company’s famous founder told c/d it was the start of a series rather than a one-off. the t.50’s inspiration from murray’s most famous roadgoing design, the mclaren f1, was obvious—but so was its position at the very top of the market given a $2.5 million price tag.
the gma t.33 you are seeing here for the first time is less radical but also considerably cheaper: $1.85 million at current exchange rates. yet beneath its elegant exterior it is shaping up to be different from every other supercar. the t.33 loses the t.50’s central driving position and ground-effective fan-assisted aerodynamics but keeps the otherwise unique combination of a high-revving naturally aspirated v-12 engine and the option of a manual transmission.
the lack of wings or intakes come from murray’s commitment to elegant minimalism. “there is nothing on this car that doesn’t have a function,” he said when c/d got a preview of the car at gma’s new hq in surrey, england in early january. “point at anything on the car and it has a function.” we pointed at the gma logo behind the side glass, only to discover it is actually the hidden handle for the dihedral-opening door.
while the t.33 is slightly heavier than the t.50, it will still be lighter than any rival. carbon bodywork is mounted to a new central structure which uses honeycomb carbon-fiber panels bonded to an aluminum framework. murray says the development team’s exacting "mass track" meetings, where the weight of every component is carefully scrutinized, means the t.33 should weigh just 2400 pounds, only 220 more than the t.50.
suspension is by unequal-length control arms at each corner, these mounting directly to the gearbox at the rear. unlike pretty much every other supercar from the last 20 years, the t.33 does without adaptive dampers. the t.33 doesn’t even have a rear anti-roll bar.
the cosworth-built engine is closely related to the one in the t.50 (and the track-only t.50s niki lauda) but doesn’t have quite such a stratospheric redline. the dry-sump 65-degree 4.0-liter v-12 uses gear-driven camshafts, making its peak 607 horsepower at 10,500 rpm. the rev limiter is set at 11,100 rpm (the t.50’s is 1000 rpm higher). while peak torque of 332 pound-feet comes at a predictably lofty 9000 rpm, the company claims that around 250 pound-feet of torque is available at 2500 rpm to help with drivability. according to murray the engine weighs just 392 pounds. air is fed to the engine through four throttle bodies and a ram induction box, with the periscope intake behind the passenger compartment mounted to the engine rather than the body and therefore able to move separately when the car is revved. that’s right: this is a supercar with a shaker hood.
buyers will be able to choose between manual or automated gearboxes built by british specialist xtrac. they deliver power to the rear axle through a limited-slip differential. the six-speed manual is closely related to the one offered in the t.50, while the paddle-shift transmission uses xtrac’s instantaneous gearchange system which uses a ratchet mechanism between hubs that can select and engage two gears simultaneously, allowing completely seamless shifting. at 172 pounds, the automatic actually weighs 9 pounds less than the manual gearbox. both transmissions will be available with an optional overdrive sixth gear to improve high-speed cruising refinement.
murray confirms that early demand has been almost entirely for the stick-shift. “i may well have shot myself in the foot,” he says, “because we’ve pre-sold half the cars already and so far we’ve only had two people order a paddle shift. i’ve committed myself to millions of pounds in development spend and i could end up with 97 manuals and three autos.”
while the t.33 lacks the t.50’s 48-volt fan-assisted diffuser, it does still feature plenty of innovative aerodynamic thinking, including a milder implementation of ground-effects assistance. this uses suction from the low-pressure area behind the car to improve the efficiency of the underbody diffuser, a pivoting rear flap at the back of the car helping to control the amount of assistance given.
the styling model we saw did not have a finished cabin, but images of the interior show that the t.33 will feature the same ergonomic thinking as the t.50. beyond the change to a two-seat layout, we can see rotary controls and an analog tachometer in the center of the dashboard. there will be cubbies in the cabin and a total of 9 cubic feet of luggage room including the frunk and the pair of rear luggage lockers accessed by hinged panels behind the doors.
“i don’t want to use the word gt too much,” murray says, “but this is a gt supercar in the sense that we want people to use it over longer distances. it’s got real luggage space, great fuel consumption—it will go 450 miles on a tank—and i really hope that buyers will use it for proper journeys.”
overall dimensions are compact to help the t.33 fit on tighter roads. the 173.2 inch length and 72.9 inch width make it barely bigger than a porsche 718 cayman. the commitment to usability extends into every part of the ownership experience, including ease of maintenance. the service interval is 6000 miles, the underbody panels can be easily removed to gain access to the engine and transmission for fluid changes, and the t.33 will use standard michelin pilot sport 4s tires rather than manufacturer-specific bespoke patterns.
“what’s the point of owning a car like this if you can’t enjoy it, or get scared of using it?” asks murray.
claimed performance figures are missing from the official press release. talking to murray reveals a good reason for this. “for the t.33 and the t.50 i have not got one performance goal. i honestly don’t care. this has got a power-to-weight ratio just a bit shy of a ferrari laferrari, so it isn’t going to be slow. but if it does zero to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds or 3.1 seconds? i couldn’t care less.”
all this and a manual gearbox, too. what’s not to love?