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2020-08-12 12:45

Sean Parker

T50

T50. Image: GMA

• The T50 is the world's newest and lightest hypercar. 

• It's powered by the lightest V12 engine yet and revs to 12 100r/min the most of any road car.

• We look at some other lightweight hypercars.

South African-born Formula 1 championship-winning car designer Gordon Murray set tongues wagging in early August with the launch of the T50. 

Set to be built in January 2022, the T50 will be the world's lightest hypercar tipping the scales at 986 kilograms. That's less than a Mazda MX-5. 

Murray has hit his target of the T50 weighing less than 1000kg and regards the car's lightweight as the most significant achievement. 

READ | Gordon Murray's T50 supercar is a spiritual successor to the McLaren F1

He aimed for the McLaren F1 to weigh less than 1000kg, but he wasn't able to because of the type of materials available at the time. 

The T50's base is a carbon fibre monocoque shell. The emphasis is on low weight, as seen by the engine and gearbox but also a lightweight body. The carbon fibre body panels ensure lightness and the total mass, including monocoque, weighs less than 150kg. 

mclaren f1

McLaren F1. Image: Netcarshow

Despite weighing less than an MX-5, the T50 is powered by the world's highest-revving production V12 engine yet. The 3.9-litre naturally-aspirated V12 revs to 12 100r/min, and produces 487kW and 476Nm. 

The T50 is no bigger than a Porsche Boxster, and it has 228 litres of luggage capacity. Even when traveling with three people you don't have to worry about damaging the lip when driving over a speed bump. It sits 120mm off the ground in front, and 140mm at the rear.  

Before developing the T50, Murray's team researched the average weight of a modern hypercar, and it came around to 1400kg. 

Murray says the T50 is a hyper GT, and that got us thinking about other lightweight hypercars. The F1, after all these years, still boasts a weight of 1138kg, remarkable if you consider it was built in 1992. 

There's the 2008 Gumpert Apollo that tips the scales at 1175kg and the Pagani Huayra BC at 1218kg. And finally, the Lotus Evora at 1248kg. 

What makes the T50 different is that Murray and his team don't have to answer to a board of directors and committees when they start building the T50. 

The goal is to build the world's most driver-focused car, and once the driving impressions come out, we'll know the verdict. But as an engineering feat, the T50 will rank up in the echelons of motor cars for eternity. 

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