Gordon Murray’s T.50 Hypercar is the McLaren F1 2.0

A drawing of the GMD T.50 provided for the press release from Gordon Murray Design
The Gordon Murray Design T.50 is the McLaren F1 2.0! Featuring a 4-Liter V12, a lightweight carbon chassis, and a fan system providing downforce, the T.50 is set to redefine with makes a supercar again. Image © 2019 Gordon Murray Design.

Is this the return of the analog supercar?

Anyone who knows anything about cars knows about the McLaren F1. The brainchild of legendary engineer Gordan Murray, the McLaren F1 completely redefined what made a supercar. In fact, it could even be considered the first hypercar, thanks to its revolutionary engineering and exclusivity. Now, Gordon Murray is at it again; he’s developing the McLaren F1 2.0.

The Gordon Murray Design T.50 marks the 50th car design Murray has done, and this one is a doozy! A carbon-monocoque chassis, three-abreast seating, and a fully manual transmission are featured in the design. Included is a Cosworth V12 engine producing 650 horsepower, and is capable of reaching 12,000 RPM without a flywheel!

An improvement upon the original?

This isn’t even the craziest thing about this car. Apparently, the T.50 is a fan car; downforce is achieved by utilizing a vacuum that creates a low-pressure area under the car, effectively “sucking it” to the ground. There is a slew of famous race cars that utilized this technology, including the Murray-designed Brabham BT46B, and the infamous Chaparral 2J.

Once again, Murray aims to produce the finest supercar ever built. Reportedly, the T.50 would weigh in at under 1000 kilograms and would be slightly smaller than a Porsche 911. Additionally, the car would feature the same principles that guided the design of the F1. Gordon Murray had this to say when describing the T.50:

“I designed the F1 as a sort of super GT car – absolutely road-focused with no plan to go racing, which is why the car set new standards for packaging and luggage space. The T.50 design has the same focus and betters the F1 in every area – ingress and egress; luggage capacity; serviceability; maintenance and suspension set-up. Also, driver-selectable engine maps ensure a driving mode to suit every situation.”

Gordon Murray, GMD T.50 Press Release

Well folks, there it is! The GMD T.50 really is the McLaren F1 2.0! Now if only I could afford it.

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Tracy Morgan and a $2-million dollar fender-bender

Another view of the incident between Tracy Morgan's Bugatti and a distracted driver. It looks like they tried to make an illegal right turn from the left lane into Morgan.
OUCH. It looks like the Honda CR-V tried to make an illegal right turn. Photo © 2019 The Drive

What does a $2-million dollar fender-bender look like?

Yesterday, comedian Tracy Morgan bought a beautiful, $2-million dollar Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport in New York City. And in typical New York City fashion, got into fender-bender immediately after driving it off the lot.

Considering the bad luck he’s had, you would imagine that the universe would at least give the guy a break. Unfortunately, chaos took the form of a distracted driver of a Honda CR-V. She apparently decided looking at her phone was more important than driving her SUV.

The even crazier thing is that the driver of the CR-V reportedly didn’t know who Tracy Morgan was. All she knew was that immediately after the accident, Tracy Morgan stepped out of his Bugatti to bang on the woman’s window while screaming “Get the [REDACTED] out of the car!”

While I’m sure that was scary, I don’t sympathize with her. The NYPD officer on the scene reported that she did not have the right of way when the incident occurred. Whether she was on her cell phone or not when the incident happened, I have zero tolerance for distracted drivers. Plus, it’s a $2-million dollar fender-bender! I’d be pissed too if I bought my dream car, only to have a distracted driver immediately hit my car!

I hope she has good insurance!

A lesson in DIY car modification

Aluminum ball knob
The aluminum ball knob the day I got it. I was going to use it for my car’s shifter! It would have looked really cool…

Sometimes it’s just easier to buy aftermarket

I wanted a new shifter knob. It wasn’t that I didn’t like my current knob. It’s very well designed. It’s just that I wanted to refresh my car’s interior a little bit. The problem was that I didn’t like the look of any aftermarket offerings, so I decided that I wanted to make one myself. I wanted to try some DIY car modification!

I found this really cool aluminum ball knob on Amazon for a decent price: $16. It was close to the thread size I needed, plus it wasn’t over-sized and loudly colored like some aftermarket gear knobs I’ve seen. I figured I could buy this knob, and then make the necessary modifications needed in order to have the knob fit my shifter rod. The end result would have been a cool, Di-It-Yourself gear knob!

At least, that’s what I thought I was going to end up with. Instead, I’m writing about how sometimes it really is just easier to buy a damned aftermarket part.

Wishful thinking

I had the knob, which was a beautifully polished aluminum. I was told that the natural weathering would make the knob look even better after some heavy use. It was perfect for some DIY car modification! The only issue was that the knob didn’t fit outright, despite the closeness of the measurements. I would have to drill out the excess aluminum and then tap it with the needed threading. So, I went down to the hardware store for a drill bit and an M10 x 1.25mm tap.

I asked an associate for some help, and he gave me the tap and a 25/64 drill bit. Since I was making a new threaded hole, he thought that I could use this bit since it was very close to 10mm (9.9mm). I bought the tools and then I was on my way! After cleaning up the workspace and then prepping the tools, I fastened the aluminum knob to a vice, and then got to work with the drill.

Aluminum ball knob in vice
The aluminum ball knob in the vice I used.

Then, I made a mistake. I was tired of the protective covering slipping when I fastened the knob, so I removed them. The first few seconds drilling out the old threads, the drill caught and wrenched the knob out of the vice. My beautiful polished aluminum ball knob now had a gash because I removed the protectors. I let my frustration known with a string of expletives. But on the bright side, I had been thinking about finishing the knob with a brushed finish instead of the polished look. I could still salvage the project!

Measure twice, and then measure again

After I had the old threads drilled out, I went to my Miata and then tried a test fit. The now drilled-out knob slid right over the threads. I became nervous. Did I just completely ruin my project? I went back to the tool and brought out the thread tap, and simply used a crescent wrench to drive it in. It actually worked well, up until I tried screwing the newly-threaded knob onto the gear shift shaft.

The drilled-out aluminum knob
After finished drilling out the aluminum knob, I went to try it on the car’s shifter rod. As it turned out, the drill was too big.

My fears were pretty much confirmed when the knob simply slid down the shaft without gripping. My DIY car modification was completely ruined. I ended up throwing DIY shifter knob hard enough to break Delta-V and went back inside the house for a beer.

Test-fitting the aluminum ball knob
I tested the ball knob on the shifter and found that the hole and the threading were too big. You can also see the deep gouge the vice had made on the ball.

What went wrong?

I made several mistakes on this project and it ended up costing me the entire thing. First, I didn’t make sure that the drill bit I used was exactly what I needed. As it turned out, the tap had a recommended drill bit size, but neither I nor the associate caught that. Personally, I think this was the associate’s fault because he didn’t make sure either. Secondly, I didn’t take the proper precautions when fastening the knob with the vice. I had removed the protective covers on the vice because they kept shifting during the drilling process. Removing them not only marred the finish of the knob but ended up causing some damage that I wasn’t completely sure I could polish out.

Lastly, the cost of the entire project ended up missing the point of having an aftermarket-style knob, to begin with. I ended up spending almost $40 for a DIY solution when I could have gotten an already finished, brushed aluminum knob for around $20. Had I decided to simply look for something already available, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post.

Lesson learned

So, let this be a lesson to you if you’re planning on taking on a DIY project for your car: Make sure you have an idea for what you’re doing, don’t rush, and most importantly, don’t make something more complicated than it needs to be.

Now, I have to figure out if I can refund these tools so I can get that $20 shifter knob!

The Volkswagen ID R is a monster!

The Volkswagen ID R tackles the Nurburgring Nordschleife.
The Volkswagen ID R tackles the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Photo © 2019 BILDAGENTUR KR√§LING

The ID R isn’t your Dad’s golf kart.

I just learned that the Volkswagen ID R electric concept/race car just broke another record. It’s not surprising since the car looks like a cross between a Group C race car and something Daniel Simon could have designed. Truthfully, the car was designed to take the electric car record at the world-world famous Pikes Peak Hill Climb. However, this latest record proves that electric cars are the ultimate evolution of motorsports: The ID R just broke the Nürburgring Nordschleife record for electric cars at 6:05!

To understand exactly how fast that is, first, you have to understand how big the Nordschleife is, and how fast a racecar can go around it. The original “Nordschleife” or “North Loop” was built in the 1920s around the town of Nürburg, in the Eifel mountains. Also nicknamed “The Green Hell”, the Nordschleife is almost 13 miles long, with 73 turns and massive elevation changes. Sports car manufacturers often use the Nordschleife to develop their cars, and it’s not uncommon for a car maker to boast about its cars’ lap times.

The Volkswagen ID R successfully makes a run. Photo © 2019 Volkswagen Motorsport

How fast is six minutes and 5 seconds?

A “fast” car can make the loop at around 8 minutes. The Alfa Romeo 4C did 8:04 back in 2013. A “very fast” car like the Ferrari 458 Italia can do it by roughly 7:30. An “extremely fast” car like the Lamborghini Aventador 770-4 SVJ can do it in under seven minutes. These are just production cars though, and the Volkswagen ID R is clearly not a production car.

The previous record holder for the fastest electric car was the Nio EP9, which made 1000 kilowatts or 1,361 horsepower equivalent. The EP9 was only a shade slower than the Lamborghini Aventador 770-4 SVJ at 6:45, which we already knew was “extremely fast.”

The Volkswagen ID R did it 40 seconds faster than a 1,300 horsepower electric car. That is insanely fast!

What’s more surprising is the fact that the ID R makes less power than the previous record holder. It “only” makes around 700 horsepower, but the car has an incredibly lightweight body weighing only 1,100 kilograms or 2,500 pounds. In addition, the ID R sports a very low-drag and high-downforce body, meaning that the car could take the Nordschleife’s 73 turns at a much higher speed.

Just imagine; in a few years, electric race cars like the ID R will be making insane lap times at our favorite tracks like the Circuit de la Sarthe, or even WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca!

It’s finally Friday!

It's finally Friday!
It’s finally Friday! I took My Shinsen Miata “Voodoo” for a high-speed drive to one of my secret locations for a photo!

It’s finally Friday! You know what that means: Time to play hooky from work and go for a drive!