Happy Birthday to South African Formula 1 Car Designer Gordon Murray, the Man Who Put SA on the Motorsport Map

Happy Birthday to South African Formula 1 Car Designer Gordon Murray, the Man Who Put SA on the Motorsport Map

  • Supercar and Formula 1 car designer Gordon Murray celebrated his 76th birthday and is best known for designing the McLaren F1, which was once the world's fastest road car
  • Murray also designed Formula 1 cars and recently produced a new supercar called the GMA T50
  • The V12-powered lightweight sportscar is focused on the driver and even has a manual gear shifter, rare in modern high-performance cars

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In 1978, SA-born Gordon Murray, who just turned 76, rose to fame in Formula 1 after pioneering the Brabham BT46 'Fan Car'. The design was revolutionary and gave the team an immediate advantage during races.

The racecar builder was born on 18 June 1946 in Durban and left for the United Kingdom in 1969, hoping to land a job at British carmaker, Lotus.

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Gordon Murray poses with his two most famous road cars: the McLaren F1 and the new GMA T.33. Image: Alain BENAINOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images / Gordon Murray Automotive
Source: UGC

Murray's design and addition of the large fan to the Brabham BT46B's rear propelled it to victory in its debut at the Swedish Grand Prix in 1958. Immediately, other teams protested to organisers and it was deemed illegal, Motorsport.com reports.

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The Durban-born designer's next big exploit was a road car called the McLaren F1, which he had been working on since 1969, according to McLaren. Production was low, with only 106 units built between 1992 and 1998.

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Murray's one+two seating configuration placed the driver in the middle of the car to help with weight balance and its BMW-sourced V12 engine produced 461kW and 650N.m. It became the fastest road car ever with a top speed of 386km/h.

Murray's latest supercar project is the T.33. Like the McLaren F1, the T.33 is powered by a naturally-aspirated V12 engine and all of them have already been sold, according to Gordon Murray Automotive.

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To mark the 55th anniversary of the performance and sports car brand, the production version of the Mercedes-AMG One is celebrating its world premiere, Briefly News reports.

The two-seater super sportscar brings the world's most modern and efficient Formula 1 hybrid drive technology from the race track to the road for the first time. The performance hybrid produces a total output of 782 kW from one combustion engine and four electric motors, with a top speed capped at 352 km/h.

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Source: Briefly News

Sean Parker avatar

Sean Parker Sean Parker is a motoring journalist with over 10 years' experience, who started out in the industry as the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists' Bursar student. Since then, the Cape Town-born editor has gone on to launch a national newspaper called Gears and Gadgets and worked for the country's premier online and print motoring publications before joining Briefly News to head up its Car & Tech section. He enjoys watching live sport and can't wait for F1 to make its debut in Mzansi.

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