Gordon Murray's Affordable 215-HP Sports Car Will Weigh Less Than 1900 Pounds

The McLaren F1 designer gave us a rundown on his new mid-engine sports car.

image
Gordon Murray Design

Yesterday, we told you that the McLaren F1's creator, Gordon Murray, is working on a successor to the iconic supercar. But his other mid-engine car project is equally exciting for different reasons. Announced back in 2017, Murray's new IGM car brand is developing an affordable lightweight sports car, currently code-named T.43 (teased in the image above). At the Geneva Motor Show, we caught up with Murray to get a rundown on the project.

The headline figures: weight under 1873 pounds (850 kgs), 215 hp from a Ford-sourced turbocharged three-cylinder, a manual gearbox, and a base price of under £40,000. Sounds pretty mouthwatering, huh?

"I'll tell you what it is. It's a Lotus Elise, but usable every day," Murray said. "You can get in and out. It's got a roof. It's got air-conditioning that works, sound system, sat nav, airbags...

"It's a market segment that's not just underpopulated, it's virtually empty at the moment."

Really, the only other thing sort of like the T.43 is the new Alpine A110, but that starts at around £47,0o0 in the UK and weighs in at 2314 pounds, according to Murray. He's actually using one as his daily driver right now. "If it was 100 mm narrower, it would be the perfect car," he said.

So how does Murray plan on making his car so light? It's all down to his iStream design technology. For the T.43, Murray will employ iStream Superlight, a construction method that combines an aluminum tube frame with recycled carbon honeycomb chassis panels.

image
Gordon Murray Design

Murray developed iStream as a low-cost lightweight chassis design concept, first for a city car, and later for sports cars. Yamaha licensed it for its Sports Ride concept of 2015, and TVR is licensing a version of it for its new Griffith. Murray set up IGM to build the T.43 mainly as a way to highlight iStream technology, and he's hoping the car will help attract more licensees.

[For] some of the car business we'll be making just limited runs of cars I want to do. The other half, we'll be developing a platform which is for license. So this is a sort of platform we are funding. So we'll finish it to a running car with our styling, our interior, our everything. But alongside that, we develop the two volumes, which have got all the engineering work. So, already the torsional stiffness and static bending, the crash events, the factory design to make 5000 to 10,000 a year, the business plan, imports, everything done.
So if somebody comes along and they go 'We love that. Actually, we don't want that motor. We want it 50mm wider, 100mm longer.' Not a problem.

Murray's T.43 will be quite small. It'll be around 13 feet long and about 5.5 feet wide. And though it only has 215 hp, Murray points out that it's so light, it has the same power-to-weight ratio of an outgoing 911 Carrera S. "A 2.0-liter motor on that would make it a super car, you know, at that weight," Murray said.

And because it's so light, the T.43 won't need big tires. Murray's actually disappointed because he wants a 175-width tire with an 18-inch wheel for the front, but no one makes that yet.

Murray's obsessed with light-weight cars. He estimates he owns 35 cars that weigh in under 1763 lbs (800 kg), including an Austin-Healey Sprite, two Lotus Elans and Elites, a De Tomaso Vallelunga, and a Fiat-Abarth 750 Zagato among many others. He recently picked up a Lotus Europa and he's quickly become a fan, and he commutes to work in an open-piped Lotus Eleven. As you do.

While his successor to the F1 will only come to the US on a Show & Display exemption, Murray wants the T.43 to be sold everywhere. It also won't be a three-seater like the F1, and the new supercar he's working on. He's confident it'll have no problem meeting US Federal safety and emissions standards.

Murray didn't say when we'll see it, but we're hoping soon. It sounds 100 percent up our alley.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Car Shows