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Gordon Murray Automotive T.33 : A Less Extreme V12 Supercar

When car designer extraordinaire Gordon Murray debuted the T.50 in 2020, it was a great tribute to his own success with the McLaren F1 road car and Formula 1 racecars. Now, the company bearing his name has revealed its second creation, the T.33.

It is immediately recognisable as a relative to the T.50 but with two obvious differences: the cabin only has two seats and both in the usual places, and no large fan at the back. The T.33 is built on the same promise: absolute driver engagement. It follows the same GMA (Gordon Murray Automotive) principles: lightweight build and timeless design.

Gordon has been very open about his love for sports cars of the 1960s and the overall form of the T.33 is inspired by them. It’s compact with no visually prominent aerodynamic elements, a rear mid-engined layout, and smooth shapes. The headlamps are an immediate example with their elongated shape that follows the curve of the front fender. Its elegance is enhanced by the limited number of openings and shut lines, and the large glass areas for increased visibility from inside the cabin.

Its silver band that forms the B-pillar and splits the roof from the engine bay area has been likened to a Targa design, but the T.33 is strictly a fixed-roof coupe. The exact proportions place it 35mm longer than then T.50 and near-identical to the Porsche Boxster.

There are no door handles either, with access granted by pushing a button below the window line.

Around the rear, it has some similarities between the T.50 and the F1. Simplistic vents in smooth shapes and classic ring-shaped taillights catch the eye right away. There’s no fan, but a small active rear wing that sits flat with the body when not deployed. It is also the only angle that gives you a peek at the large ducts under the body that are part of the T.33’s clever aerodynamics. Between those air channels, you’ll find a dual-exit central exhaust which also sticks with the classic round shape.

It looks beautiful and fast but in a very matter-of-fact way.

Like the T.50, it uses the Passive Boundary Layer Control (PBLC) system to use ground control to achieve the immense grip required for a lightweight supercar. GMA describes this system’s function as follows: the boundary layer control ensures the most effective interaction of airflow on top of, and below the car, harmonising drag, downforce, and stability at all speeds and negates the need for aggressive front end aero devices. There are large diffusers in the front wheel arches that account for generating two-thirds of the front-end downforce.

Another distinct physical feature of the T.33 is the air scoop directly connected to the engine and is separate from the chassis. So, it sort of floats above the surface of the roof. This scoop acts as the RAM induction airbox to directly boost the performance of the naturally-aspirated engine.

Speaking of the engine, the T.33 gets a reworked version of the same 3.9-litre Cosworth V12 as the T.50. It’s called the GMA.2, and it sings up to 11,100rpm. This one churns out 615PS and 451Nm with 75 per cent of the torque available from 2,500rpm. It gets a 6-speed manual as standard, but GMA has also introduced a new 6-speed Instantaneous Gearchange System (IGS) paddle shift actuation with seamless shifts. The bespoke paddle-shifter was developed by the same crew that built the manual: Xtrac. These powertrain components are the lightest in their class with the engine weighing in at 178kg, the manual transmission at 82kg and the paddle-shifter at 78kg.

The lightweight ethos carries through to the construction of the T.33 with a new carbon fibre monocoque slated to underpin a total of 300 GMA models over the next few years. It also features carbon body panels and lightweight forged aluminium wheels that only weigh 7kg each, with carbon-ceramic brakes for good measure. The end result is a supercar that weighs in at just 1090kg. Combining that level of instantaneous performance with lightweight construction makes for a better power-to-weight ratio than the McLaren F1.

Furthermore, the T.33 has its own suspension package with a double wishbone setup front and rear. Since Gordon builds his cars to be driven regularly and not chase lap times specifically, the new supercar gets a softer suspension setup as standard. It has a decent ground clearance too with a front-end clearance of 120mm. If owners request a stiffer setup, GMA’s Special Vehicle department can sort them out with that among any other unique traits requested.

Like any good supercar, the GMA T.33 gets single-hinged dihedral doors for access to the cabin. Even here, there is no excess and every part has a function. There are no touchscreens in this driver-centric interior nor any column stalks. Instead, it has thumb-buttons on the carbon fibre steering wheel for the turn indicators.

The central attraction from the driver’s seat is the flood-lit, 120mm diameter, analogue rev counter in the instrument cluster. It is flanked by two monochrome displays and rotary switchgear for controls such as the AC, the headlamps, and wipers. Every touchpoint is machined from high-quality aluminium for a tactile experience. The pedals are a work of art too, crafted from aluminium alloy and built to balance out strength and lightness. With the manual shifter, you also see some of the mechanical linkages on display.

The transmission cover gets a special touch with Gordon’s signature as well. The central console also houses a few other vehicle controls, with buttons and dials.

Not only did GMA engineers manage to fit a high-revving V12 into the small package of the T.33 they also managed to incorporate three luggage areas into the bodywork. There’s a boot in the front that’s wide not deep, and two luggage areas in the rear flanks for a total capacity of 280 litres, or six cases. The storage areas in the sides seem to be an incidental hallmark of supercars designed by Gordon Murray. The T.33 has a distinct version of it, hinged at the tail end of the panel and open like suicide doors. It is likely to be offered with tailor-made luggage to simplify that aspect of using the T.33 for road trips and travel.

As part of keeping running costs low and encouraging owners to use their GMA supercar freely, it uses easily available Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S rubber and not some bespoke model-specific tyres.

Gordon Murray Automotive will only be making 100 units of the T.33, and more than half have been pre-sold by the time of unveiling. It’s priced at around £1.37 million, just less than half the retail of the T.50. Production of customer cars will begin in early 2024 at its new headquarters in Surrey. This will be the closest cousin to the T.50 with future offerings being more distinctive, not just variations or convertibles. The T.33 will also be the last non-hybrid offering from GMA.

Share your thoughts on the new T.33 in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to the Auto Loons for more cool updates from the car world.

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