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 V12www.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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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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The Z06 isn't on sale yet, but it's already raising money for charities.

Chevrolet

Just a couple years ago, the Chevrolet Corvette got a major overhaul that completely changed its design, personality, and performance. The car moved to a mid-engine layout for the first time, and its V8 produces thundering performance at a reasonable price. As it has always done with the Corvette, Chevy's laying out special editions for the car, and one of the first in the new generation will be the 2023 Corvette Z06. An early Z06 sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction this weekend to raise money for charity, and the final dollar amount crested the $1 million mark.

2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06The car raised $1 million at the Palm Beach Auction. Chevrolet

The car crossed the block at the Palm Beach Auction, which took place on April 9. It's the first production model of the car, which builds on the mid-engine eighth-generation Corvette. It's powered by a 670-horsepower 5.5-liter flat plane-crank V8, which sends its power to the rear wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The engine revs much higher than a standard V8 and features a distinct sound. Chevy says the Z06's engine offers the most horsepower of any naturally aspirated V8 on sale.

2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06Rick Hendrick was the winning bidder for the car. 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

The car's $1 million price tag raised money for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The organization supports training of educators at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI). This auction, together with the first retail version of the car auctioned earlier this year, brings the Corvette's total charity haul to $4.6 million in 2022.

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