Modern supercars have to endure a lot just to calibrate their airbags for the global market. It’s both fun and terrifying to watch.
Gordon Murray’s T.50 ‘Fan Car’ is a marvel of lightweight engineering, a supercar packing a unique powertrain and over 90-percent locally-sourced components, as well as racing-derived aerodynamic features only Professor Murray could have come up with. It’s also a supercar designed for the 2020s.
That means that while back in the day, the McLaren F1 program could finish development using only five prototypes, Gordon Murray Automotive will need to produce 13 XP models to make the T.50 road legal all over the world. XP10 will go to a very happy Dario Franchitti, XP3 probably remains with Gordon Murray, who used to own the XP3 McLaren F1, while the first proper T.50 prototype, XP1 ,will end up in the GMA museum. But first, it needs to go through hell.
Most people are familiar with crash tests. But did you know that in order to calibrate a modern passenger car’s airbag system, it needs to complete a series of real life simulation tests, including such fan favourites such as
- The Belgian Pavé: at 37 mph over a sett road
- Gravel Heap: running into a big pile of gravel at 19 mph
- Pothole Strike: hitting a deep pothole at up to 37 mph
- Rail Crossings: jumping over the rails at up to 50 mph
- Ramp Jump: a $2.9M supercar hitting the ramp at 43 mph
- Sleeping Policemen: the ones we notice way too late at 37 mph
- Steel Beam Test: hitting the curb hard
- Washboard Road: shaken hard once again at 50 mph
- Wild Boar Collision: nature at your bumper at 43 mph
Ready for the slo-mo?
Looking at the abuse XP1 needs to endure, one has to wonder: how much for a set of GMA’s forged aluminum wheels, the T.50’s carbon fiber bumper, those R53 passive dampers and a few other bits and pieces that may or may not have been left at the ATP Papenburg proving ground? Electric or not, car development is an expensive venture.