Engineering

Gordon Murray Automotive is making the world's lightest, most driver-focused supercar

The Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 only weighs 980 kg.

Photo courtesy of Gordon Murray Automotive

A new car from Gordon Murray Automotive (GMA) promises to be the lightest, most driver-focused supercar in the world. The formula GMA is using eschews the current trend of increasing power and quickness.

Traditionally, automakers focus on getting the power-to-weight ratio in a vehicle just right for their audience. A lightweight car doesn't need a lot of horsepower to get where it's going in a jiffy. Heavy vehicles need a substantial amount of power just to get going.

T.50 - Phase 1: Development of the Cosworth GMA V12 www.youtube.com

GMA's T.50 model will have 100 horsepower to propel every 150 kg of car. The total weight of the vehicle is just 980 kg (2001.8 pounds). The company is installing a 650-horsepower V12 engine in the T.50.

GMA says that the typical supercar (1,236 kg) has 100 horsepower for every 210 kg of car - a 40 percent increase over the T.50. In order to match the power-to-weight ratio of the T.50, the traditional supercar would need an additional 300 horsepower in addition to more substantive equipment.

Engineers have cut the weight of the car's V12 to just 180 kg. That makes it more than 60 kg lighter than the BMW S70/2 V12 in the McLaren F1 – while generating more power.

The car's lightweighting isn't due to its stripped back race track-focused interior. In fact, GMA will offer the car with more comfortable, practical, and drivable styling and engineering than is typical in modern lightweight supercars. Professor Murray said: "Designing a lightweight sports car does not come from specifying exotic materials alone, it comes from a state of mind, from absolute focus and control, and from a deep understanding of lightweight, optimized design."

Proportionally, the T.50 is smaller than a Porsche 911. GMA says that it offers space for three and luggage inside. The centrally positioned racing-style driver's seat weighs less than 7 kg. The two passenger seats, both of which sit behind the driver, are less than 3 kg each.

It's made of a carbon fiber monocoque and body panels that weight less than 150 kg total.

To achieve GMA's lightweighting goals for the T.50, the company took a page out of the Jean Nidetch playbook and held weekly sessions to monitor the weight of the vehicle, down to the nuts, bolts, screws, and washers.

The company also used precise measuring technology to determine the exact size that these parts needed to be. According to GMA, "On many cars, these fixings are generic and far larger than they need to be. For the T.50, the diameter and length of each fixing (around 900 in total) was optimized by calculating the forces to which each would be exposed."

This meant even the smallest detail wasn't overlooked. The T.50's pedal box is 300 g lighter than the McLaren F1's and the glazing on nit is 28 percent thinner than usual. Still, the components still retain their structural integrity.

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A prototype of the 2022 GMC Hummer EV undergoes winter weather testing in Michigan.

Photo courtesy of GMC

All vehicles go through extreme weather testing. From the desert sands of the Arabian Peninsula and Mojave Desert to the freezing cold of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Scandinavia's upper reaches, vehicles from concept to near-production.

During that testing, research and development team members are finding out if their power- and drivetrain components are properly functioning as they have designed them to, checking on calibration, and also discovering the hardiness of their work.

When it comes to electric vehicles, there are additional tests that play into it. Does the battery deplete too quickly? Is the battery able to handle the cold weather? Are the electric motors getting enough power?

GMC HUMMER EV | The Next Chapter youtu.be

It was this, and more, put to the test by General Motors engineers when they got behind the wheel of the 2022 GMC Hummer in the northern reaches of Michigan. While driving in sub-zero temperatures they tested the all-electric truck on various slippery surfaces, including snow, ice, steep and split-mu grades. Key tests include integrating its powerful all-wheel drive torque distribution with the traction control system, as well as calibrating and testing the electronic stability control system.

The video shows the Hummer EV looping a test track, using four-wheel steering to handle ice, and bumping its way over some mild snow piles. There's also a show of the suspension system absorbing the imperfections in the roadway, allowing the cab of the truck to remain stable.

There are some differences with the prototype truck seen testing here and the renderings of the model that were shown off by GMC at the truck's reveal. Specifically, the front end. Eagle-eyed enthusiasts will note that the headlights and the area between them is not as refined as it was in the original images.

At this point, it is unclear as to why the change has been made and whether or not it's permanent. Likely, it's just fascia that has been deleted for testing and will be replaced when the vehicle heads to production.

The 2022 GMC Hummer EV is slated to go into production this autumn. Find out more about the product rollout plan for the model here.

In the video, GMC also teases the coming of the GMC Hummer EV SUV.

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Bugatti is selling just 40 Divos worldwide.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

Only 40 Bugatti Divos will be made. Four of them were recently delivered to U.S. customers. The latest customized version of the supercar to be delivered by the French automaker pushed the limits of what the Bugatti craftspeople are capable of. As company founder Ettore Bugatti once said: "If it is comparable, it is no longer Bugatti."

Meet the Bugatti Divo named "Lady Bug".

The Divo premiered in 2018 and shortly thereafter a prospective buyer and noted collector from the U.S. approached Bugatti with an idea in mind. They wanted a strict geometric pattern that featured diamond shapes in a unique color contrast on their Divo. The Bugatti design and development team set about figuring out how to make that happen.

Bugatti Divo "Lady Bug" design process

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

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Two special metallic paint colors were developed: Customer Special Red and Graphite. The diamond pattern was designed to run precisely from the front over the sides to the rear – matching the silhouette of the Divo.

Bugatti's team spend a year-and-a-half to develop and implement the technical and graphic solutions the Divo owner required. Adding the diamonds to the car was far more complex than they expected. They would have to be painted onto the body with precision and exact definition.

What made it so hard? According to Bugatti, "the digital patterns in the CAD program bear little resemblance to reality: owing to the three-dimensional, sculptural form of the Divo with its contours, curves and ribs, the 2D-printed diamonds became distorted on the surface of the exclusive hyper sports car. As a result, they had to be digitally modified."

Being off by as little as one millimeter would ruin the entire visual effect. The total would be 1,600 diamonds by the time the pattern was fully executed.

Weeks later, designers discovered a way to match the CAD data with reality. They ended up being able to pull the film over the deeply concave surfaces of the Divo without the diamonds becoming distorted or developing folds.

Bugatti Divo "Lady Bug" graphics application

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

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During the pattern's development, a test car was used to perfect the pattern. After the initial steps of the application process were applied to the customer's Divo, Bugatti's team need to remove each diamond. Graphite paint and a clearcoat were applied on top of the effect paint in Customer Special Red in order to invert the pattern. As part of this process, the paintwork was sanded, smoothed, checked, retouched and then re-sanded. All in, the total time spent on the paint on the customer's car alone was two weeks.

"Every Bugatti Divo is one of a kind. With the custom-made 'Lady Bug', Bugatti has demonstrated the full range of its customization expertise. What initially seemed impossible was executed to perfection by the designers and developers in collaboration with the customer," says Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti."We are proud to have matched the customer's personal taste and expectations with this unique Divo. The car really demonstrates what the marque is capable of in terms of creativity and craftsmanship."

Bugatti Divo "Lady Bug"

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

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There were no changes to the car's W16 powertrain for the project.

Each Divo is priced at $5.6 million USD but buyers pay more depending on which options they choose. All Divos are produced by the Bugatti Alelier in Molsheim. The first deliveries of the supercar happened in August 2020. All models will hav been delivered by this spring.

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